One of the many striking things to spot when moving to Sweden from southern Europe is that alla bakar – everybody bakes – their own bread, buns and cakes. Maybe a result of being taught in school or, just to fill the dark snowy winter into something yummy and warm.
Either way, the country has its hands in dough.
It’s not that surprising to spot how cool has bread become: Small bakeries mushroom
around the big cities, with the one and only claim of selling lovingly kneaded fresh bread, baked slowly and made with the finest yeast and organic flour. Crusty, appetitive, mouth watering – far better than the filled with E- ingredients, plastic-covered pieces one finds in supermarkets
– and worth the 20-60:- (around 5€) asked per piece.
Baking or buying, most Swedish are notoriously conscious about it – you cannot find any good bread in the supermarket. A backlash not seen with other commodities (i.e. meat, fish, milk) whose small-vendors were also killed by massive shopping spaces – too tough to raise a cow in the living room, I guess.
Such a high on traditional bread, appears to me as a modern version of the post-war ration coupons with a goal switch from having anything to eat to tending your beloved with lest: we are all overwhelmed by 3×1 and massive junk food portions of so, what could be better than a tiny crunchy bite?
Still wondering whether this came to stay. If, like coffee, tea and chocolate, bread will be the next to be elevated from commodity into glorious treat. The trio however, used to be imported from exotic paradises and strongly associated with the black market during scarcity periods, what contributed to spray it with the mist of desire and exclusivity still perceived today. Bread is, on the other hand, used everyday more than once. Always been around, locally versioned (txapata, knäckebröd, baguette, ciabatta, κουλούρι) while now, the luxury is to find something real. Restaurants will cater you with a broad assortment to choose from, while even everyday lunch cantines in industrial quarters differentiate and justify slightly higher prices with an in-house baked offer.
Customers’ will to pay just to ensure freshness and a controlled local procedure shows yet another bold move, from quantity to quality, it gets us prepared for a future of scarce commodities.
Will bakeries become design-influenced gathering spaces like coffee
stores did? Is the packaging any relevant for bread or it turns into anything happening in the ambient around it? Are we attending to the rebirth of local communities understood small neighborhoods where everything is close and one goes around small stores to fill the bag with everyday needs?
Is this the first step back from our everyday rush into a slower life?