“Why Swedish chocolate?” “Why Swedish?” “Why chokladbollar?”
These are quite common questions asked to me these days when I tell them I’m the author of a book about Swedish fika culture and chokladbollar (30+ recipes!): In search of the best Swedish chokladbollar.
To answer these questions is to delve deep into a little bit of personal history. I became obsessed with chocolate balls since I was a young girl…
Once upon a time, a girl went to her aunt’s place to eat rum balls and bake cakes with her cousin. The smells of sugar, butter, flour, chocolate, etc. would waft in the muggy heat of Jakarta. Those rum balls were morsels of gooey, chocolate-y, and a hint of warmth from the rum. She always requested them and would gobble rum balls up whenever she saw them at stores or in the house.
Many years later… she was seeking refuge from the rain after exiting the subway in Manhattan in her neighborhood. A small Swedish cafe called Fika opened up and she quickly ducked inside. Her eyes fell upon chocolate balls covered in coconut. Curious if they tasted anything like her aunt’s rum balls she ordered them and a soy latte. It was Love at first bite!
She was hooked.
A visit to that fika cafe became a weekly ritual and they made good coffee too!
Fast forward to many years later.
On a plane from Copenhagen to Singapore. Alaine sat next to a young Swedish woman who told her the recipe. That whole trip she memorized the ingredients and how to make these balls which she found were not baked and made of oats!
Laboring in the kitchen almost weekly in Singapore, Switzerland, Brussels, Oulu, Sweden, and wherever she ended up the following years after that plane trip. She kept making chokladbollar for her friends and family until she felt it was the right ratio of ingredients. What she found was that the environment really played a factor in these seemingly easy to make chocolate oat balls called chokladbollar. Too wet in Singapore, too dry in Switzerland, etc.. The ratios of ingredients needed to be altered according to the weather patterns of the location.
Creating the perfect classic that routinely were good (in her opinion) required a lot of trial and error - and her willing taste testers comprised of friends and family from around the world! Once the right measurements, good quality ingredients, and right ratios of flavor was achieved she started experimenting.
Experimentation and creativity was not new to her as she was constantly creating something whether its in a dance studio or in the kitchen. In a previous life, she spent more time rolling around on dance floors and stages.
Matcha, Kaya, Speculoos, Earl Grey, Caramel, Hazelnut, Pistachio, S’mores, Peanut Butter, Banana, Strawberry, Cherry, Rum, Whisky, Guinness, Glögg, Cinnamon, Pepparkakor, Lemon, Raspberry, Blueberry, Fudge, Bacon, and more…
The world was her oyster and inspiration.
This was natural for her as a global citizen. The most authentic way to tell her story and the cultural story of the Swedish chokladboll and cultural fika breaks.
Coffee paired with a chokladboll became an obsession. Taking a coffee/fika break to recharge is the best way to figure out how to get through the day. Whether its done alone or with friends, she just needed time to recollect her thoughts before powering through the day.
Thus the book “In search for the best Swedish chokladbollar” was born.