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Swedish Culture

A Waffle Lotta Fun! Waffle Day at ASI

February 27, 2023 By Darby Johnson

What started as an accidental mishearing has become one of Sweden’s beloved secular holidays—Waffle Day!

In Sweden, March 25 was known as Our Lady’s Day, a day celebrating the Virgin Mary’s Annunciation. When people from Northern Sweden pronounced ‘Vårfrudagen’, it came across as ‘Vår Fru’ -the old Swedish word for waffle. So, the Swedes decided to celebrate  Vårfrudagen  by cooking waffles. Eventually, it became known as Våffeldagen, or “Waffle Day.” 

Swedish waffles are unique-they are heart-shaped, flat, and crispy. Common toppings include lingonberries or cloudberries and whipped cream. While not traditional, savory waffles are also becoming more popular in Sweden today. Unlike thicker American or Belgian style-waffles, Swedish waffles are thinner because they are cooked on special waffle irons. Waffles in Sweden aren’t just limited to breakfast menus, they are often served as snacks or desserts.  

You don’t have to travel to Sweden to enjoy this holiday. For one weekend only (March 25-26), waffles are available from the American Swedish Institute’s FIKA Café. There will be two waffle variations – one sweet and one savory. It makes for a great Sunday brunch! Pair the waffles with coffee or something stronger – FIKA makes “Bloody Swedes” – a take on a Bloody Mary but with Scandinavian aquavit.   

For a complete waffle day experience, ASI is hosting a Våffeldagen (Waffle Day) Cocktail Tour Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 5:30-7 pm. Celebrate Waffle Day with a tour of the Turnblad Mansion and stories of Swedish food traditions with themed cocktails and small bites included.  

Those unable to visit ASI and still want to participate in this delicious holiday can register for the virtual Demo: Scandinavian Waffle Day on Thursday, March 23. Celebrate in your home by watching how Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen makes a batch of Scandinavian-style waffles with festive toppings. Kristi will demo how to mix and cook the typical thin, heart-shaped Scandinavian waffles and share fun ideas for making them the centerpiece of a meal for this unique holiday.  

Want to try and make this treat at home? Kristi Bissel’s Waffle Day recipe can be found here