The perfect beer for Nordic Baking
After centuries apart, Evil Twin's Swedish Fika Biscotti Break brings Nordic brewing and baking together again
Did you know the Nordic words for bread and brew are closely related? As Magnus Nilsson explains in his new title, The Nordic Baking Book. “Baking bread and brewing beer were indoor activities and therefore part of a woman’s duties. The ability to skilfully bake bread and brew good-quality ale gave women high status.”
However, the link between brewing and baking began to loosen as modern imports entered this region. “The breakthrough during the second half of the nineteenth century of cheap beet sugar, imports of large amounts of American and Australian wheat, industrially produced baking powder and the modern wood stove, saw the rise of sweet breads and buns,” Nilsson writes. “The older tradition of offering beer or liquor when receiving guests was replaced with serving coffee with cookies and sweet buns.”
Fortunately, another Phaidon author has found a way to bring these two excellent culinary practices back together. Fellow Swede and Phaidon author Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso is the founder of Evil Twin Brewing, one of North America’s leading craft beer producers. Jeppe travels the world making and sampling great brews, which meant he was the ideal guy to oversee our new book, Where to Drink Beer.
However, Jeppe, also finds time to reach out to some of his Swedish buddies, to collaborate on some suitably Nordic concoctions. Earlier this month, Evil Twin Brewing worked with Swedish brewers Poppels, to create Swedish Fika Biscotti Break, a biscuity beer made using authentic Swedish baddare chocolate biscuits.
Fika is, of course, the Swedish word for coffee or tea break, but, as Nilsson explains in his new book, it’s cultural significance shouldn’t be underestimated. The snack time is, he writes, “a Swedish institution and something that goes on in every Swedish home and in every Swedish workplace. It is a cherished time to spend with friends, colleagues or just on your own. Its existence in the workplace has been heavily debated from time to time in collective agreement negotiations but it has always remained in place.”
Now beer lovers can share in that pleasure too. For more on the kind of places where you’re likely to find Jeppe’s inventive beers get Where to Drink Beer. For more on fika and appropriate baked goods, get The Nordic Baking Book.