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Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis

Enterprising Swedes are looking to capitalize on Norway's ongoing butter shortage by offering the sought-after spread on popular buy-and-sell websites, with one seller hoping to score a Gibson guitar in exchange for a pack of margarine.

Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis

Swedish buy-and-sell site Blocket.se on Thursday included a copious number of ads from Swedes offering butter to suffering Norwegians at prices as high as 700 kronor ($100) per kilo.

Many of the sellers offered to deliver the butter to Norwegians desperately in need of the dairy product to fulfill their holiday baking needs, while at least one planned to be selling on-site in Oslo.

“We’re in Norway now and on FRIDAY between 12.00 and 14.00 we’ll deliver BUTTER in Oslo for only 400 kronor/kilo,” read on ad on Blocket.

Another seller calling himself “The Butter Man” (Smörmannen) touted what he considered to be a “great deal” involving a single package of Lätta-brand margarine.

“Will trade a TOTALLY NEW package of Lätta for a good steel stringed guitar,” the man writes in the ad, adding that he would prefer a “Gibson or equivalent”.

If an interested buyer doesn’t happen to have a guitar, however, the “The Butter Man” said he would be willing to part with his box of Lätta for “a few thousand kronor”.

Swedes were also flocking to Norwegian buy-and-sell site Finn.no offering to help supply fat-craving Norwegians with Swedish butter.

“We can see that there are a lot of Swedes trying to earn a few kroner from this,” Finn.no spokeswoman Lene Kallum told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.

This week alone, the site had registered a staggering 124,590 searches for ‘smør’, the Norwegian word for butter, and boasted more than 350 ads from private individuals looking to sell butter made in Sweden, Denmark, or Norway.

One Finn.no seller was even offering three unopened portion packs (plus one half-eaten mini-tub) for 12,000 Norwegian kroner ($2,000).

A representative from Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet also traveled to Oslo and set up a stand downtown offering 60 packages of butter for free, prompting passers by to recall the way in which Sweden helped Norway back in World War II.

“Back then you offered crisp bread, clothes, and shoes,” pensioner Ornulf Ruud told Aftonbladet.

“And now you’re coming with butter. Sweden is fantastic.”

The gesture from Sweden almost moved Olso resident Per Morten Grøslie to tears.

“You’re our salvation. Without butter, I can’t eat my beloved rakfisk with lefse for Christmas,” he said, referring to the traditional fermented fish dish served on potato flatbread – which is most often served with butter.

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FOOD & DRINK

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Do you know your biskvi from your bakelse? Your chokladboll from your kanelbulle? Here's a guide guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Kanelbulle

The most famous of all Swedish cakes outside Sweden, the classic kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) is the symbol of Sweden abroad, no doubt helped by the fact that Swedish furniture giants IKEA stock frozen buns in their food stores for customers to bake off at home.

Forget American tear-apart cinnamon rolls baked in a pan and slathered with cream cheese frosting: a classic Swedish cinnamon bun is baked individually using a yeasted dough spread with cinnamon sugar and butter. The dough is then rolled up, sliced into strips which are then stretched out and knotted into buns, baked, glazed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Home-made varieties skip the stretching and knotting step, rolling the cinnamon-sprinkled dough into a spiral instead which, although less traditional, tastes just as good.

Kanelbullar in Sweden often include a small amount of Sweden’s favourite spice: cardamom. If you’re a fan of cardamom, try ordering the kanelbulle‘s even more Swedish cousin, the kardemummabulle or cardamom bun, which skips the cinnamon entirely and goes all-out on cardamom instead.

Sweden celebrates cinnamon bun day (kanelbullens dag) on October 4th.

Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/imagebank.sweden.se

Chokladboll

A great option if you want a smaller cake for your fika, the chokladboll or ‘chocolate ball’ is a perfect accompaniment to coffee – some recipes even call for mixing cold coffee into the batter.

They aren’t baked and are relatively easy to make, meaning they are a popular choice for parents (or grandparents) wanting to involve children in the cake-making process.

Chokladbollar are a simple mix of sugar, oats, melted butter and cocoa powder, with the optional addition of vanilla or coffee, or occasionally rum extract. They are rolled into balls which are then rolled in desiccated coconut (or occasionally pearl sugar), and placed in the fridge to become more solid.

Some bakeries or cafés also offer dadelbollar or rawbollar/råbollar (date or raw balls), a vegan alternative made from dried dates and nuts blended together with cocoa powder.

Chocolate ball day (chokladbollens dag) falls on May 11th.

Photo: Magnus Carlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Prinsesstårta

The lime-green prinsesstårta or ‘princess cake’ may look like a modern invention with it’s brightly-coloured marzipan covering, but it has been around since the beginning of the 1900s, and is named after three Swedish princesses, Margareta, Märta and Astrid, who were supposedly especially fond of the cake.

The cake consists of a sponge bottom spread with jam, crème pâtissière and a dome of whipped cream, covered in green marzipan and some sort of decoration, often a marzipan rose.

Prinsesstårtor can also be served in individual portions, small slices of a log which are then referred to as a prinsessbakelse.

Although the cakes are popular all year round, in the Swedish region of Småland, prinsesstårta is eaten on the first Thursday in March, due to this being the unofficial national day of the Småland region (as the phrase första torsdagen i mars is pronounced fössta tossdan i mass in the Småland dialect).

Since 2004, the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners has designated the last week of September as prinsesstårtans vecka (Princess cake day).

Photo: Sinikka Halme, Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.

Budapestbakelse

Belonging to the more traditional cakes, a Budapestbakelse or “Budapest slice” is a type of rulltårta or “roll cake” similar to a Swiss roll, consisting of a light and crispy cake made from whipped egg whites, sugar and hazelnut, filled with whipped cream and fruit, often chopped conserved peaches, nectarines or mandarines, and rolled into a log.

The log is then sliced into individual portions and drizzled with chocolate, then often topped with whipped cream and a slice of fruit. 

Despite its name, the Budapest slice has nothing to do with the city of Budapest – it was supposedly invented by baker Ingvar Strid in 1926 and received the name due to Strid’s love for the Hungarian capital.

Of course, the Budapestbakelse also has its own day – May 1st.

Kanelbullar (left), chokladbollar (centre) and biskvier (right). Photo: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se

Biskvi

Another smaller cake, a biskvi (pronounced like the French biscuit), consists of an almond biscuit base, covered in buttercream (usually chocolate flavoured), and dark chocolate.

Different variants of biskvier exist, such as a Sarah Bernhardt, named after the French actress of the same name, which has chocolate truffle instead of buttercream.

You might also spot biskvier with white chocolate, often with a hallon (raspberry) or citron (lemon) filling, or even saffransbiskvier around Christmastime.

Chokladbiskviens dag is celebrated on November 11th.

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