Don’t be fooled, expats in Sweden. If you are offered a smörgåstårta at an event, this is NOT a cake! Yes, “tårta” is the Swedish word for cake, but “smörgås” is the Swedish word for sandwich and that’s where everything goes wrong. Bottom line is shrimp does not belong on a cake.
….to call this “cake.” This is a Swedish “sandwich cake (smörgåstårta).” Sometimes served at gatherings.
When I first came here, I learned the Swedish word for cake (“tårta”) very quickly, as you do. Thus, when I was offered something that sounded like, “bork bork tårta,” I said, “Yes, please – a big slice!”
To which I was served something with eggs and cocktail shrimp. When you are expecting frosting and sugar, I can tell you this is a huge disappointment.
I suspect they do this on purpose to irritate foreigners. The Swedes know good and well this shouldn’t be called “cake.” Never again will I fall for this ruse!
Now, where’s this ostkaka I keep hearing about? That’s cheesecake, right?
My Swedish husband had a great accent when we first met. When we went back to Texas on vacation, everyone would ask where he was from. We (he) got free desserts from waitresses that thought the accent was cute and wanted to impress him. It was so much fun.
But after a couple of years, my husband’s English got too good! No more questions. No more free desserts. I keep telling him that he needs to play it up, but he’s too honest to do it. Even the kids speak English too well. Looks like I’m going to have to step up and fake a Swedish accent if we want any freebies while on vacation.
Many of us foreigners who move to Sweden like to tell stories of the horrible mistakes we’ve made in the grocery store. Two of my friends made a cake with yeast because they couldn’t tell the difference between that and baking powder.
Besides making mistakes in good and bad food products, my most memorable mistake was buying what I thought was shampoo. For one month I went around with greasy hair thinking there was something wrong with the water or air around here until I found out that my bottle that said, “balsam” translated to “conditioner.”
So when you see one of us foreigners walking around Sweden with bad hair carrying around food that you would never eat yourself, please remember how it would feel if you couldn’t read anything and hand that person the green striped milk and the decent yogurt (2 of the toughest things to figure out with a lot of trial and error).