Stockholm

Ice cream update!

The weather has been favourable to my ice cream tests at Kungsholmens Glassfabrik, and I can confirm that I made good progress in May. Their offering of half-scoops also helps. Sadly, the price of my regular order (2 scoops, 4 flavours) has gone up by 5 SEK. The pricing was very reasonable to begin with, so the increase is tolerable. The scale is relative, it is in the context of ice cream that is very good to begin with - any one of these I could have again.

The evaluation criteria is quite strict, mostly because the baseline quality is already so high - this is definitely first class ice cream we are talking about! I could eat any of these again, some I would just much prefer over others. In general, I like ice creams that are not too sweet, and the flavour has to be balanced and strong. Mouthfeel is also important: ice cream has to be soft and melting in mouth. 

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5/5
Basilica-lemon sorbet
Cinnamon
Mint-lime sorbet
Black currant sorbet

4/5
Passion sorbet
Chocolate
Mango sorbet
Banana
Raspberry sorbet
Raspberry

3/5
Cardamom
Blueberry
Strawberry

2/5
Bergamot sorbet
Stracciatella
Guava sorbet

* no nutty flavours tested due to allergy - they have at least almond-raspberry, hazelnut and pistachio

Kungsholmens Glassfabrik

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I have always been a fan of ice cream, but my taste has changed and refined over the years. In Finland the small-brand ice creams have really taken off in the past couple of years with Jymy, 3 kaveria, and Suomen jäätelö. This has lead me to explore other small producers as well as I travel. In Stockholm I have mostly stumbled upon the ice cream places as I move about town - that happened also with Kungsholmens Glassfabrik (Kungsholmen's ice cream factory). 

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Where
Pipersgatan 4, on Kungsholmen as the name suggests. Closest tunnelbana is Rådhuset, opening hours are somewhat limited.

What
Ice creams, to have in or to take away in cones, cups or tubs.

Order
2 scoops, approximately 4e. 

Comments:

- The selection was good and more skewed towards actual flavours than just making an ice cream out of a candy or cookie.
- When I had hard time choosing just two flavours, the lady suggested she can do four half scoops! This was fabulous.
- All flavours I tried (bergamot, passion, cardamom, chocolate) were good, balanced taste with not too much sugar. 
- The space is simple but nice, it is ok to sit and enjoy the ice cream but less nice to spend longer time.

Would I go again?

Yes! I have to taste more of the selection, there were some that I would definitely want to try still. Additionally, I think the pricing is very reasonable.

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Snickarbacken7

This is my regular place when the weather is less than ideal, since indoors there is steady, bit dim athmosphere with nice music and candle light. There are no windows indoors, so one can be in blissful ignorance if there is a grey day or April snowfall (I really hope I do not get to witness it this year!)

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Where
Snickarbacken 7, a bit North from Stureplan along Birger Jarlsgatan. No evening opening, but bonus for Sunday opening.


What
Coffee, tea, filled rolls, cake and sweet buns, as well as light lunch. Brunch (plates) on weekends. Additionally, there is a changing art gallery on the walls.


Order
Tea + cake approx. 7.50e

 

 

Comments:

- This is fairly pricey place for a standard cafe, a cup of tea costs almost four euros. At least tea is ok, and both cakes and athmosphere are excellent. The cakes are fairly traditional Nordic coffee cakes, buns, biscuits and basic chocolate cake.
- No special comments about service, but be prepared to queue to place your order.
- Snickarbacken7 is very good for working (there is wifi, and some power plugs) and for coffees or lunching.

Would I go again?

For sure! I have been here on several occasions, partly because I live close by. The place also has unique and timeless feel, which brings nice variation.

Sauna day

Today is Sauna Day in Helsinki, so I made my way to sauna in Stockholm too. Saunas are not that common here, but I think one can find them in hotels, spas, and at some gyms. Probably some private homes have saunas too, but I have never heard of a sauna in an apartment like we have back home. 

Swedish saunas have questionable reputation in Finland, and unfortunately I am unable to overturn this perception based on my limited experience. The pool experience is a little bit different too, but not as much as in UK. I swim at Kronobergsbadet, on Kungsholmen neighbourhood. The pool is inside the police HQ, and the entry is the door after the prison. Roof has barbed wire on it. I was rather concerned on my first visit! On the other hand, I would expect this to be quite a safe place to leave one's belongings during a work out.

The number of knots reveals that it is time to get a new pair of goggles before these completely disintegrate.

The number of knots reveals that it is time to get a new pair of goggles before these completely disintegrate.

The next, more universal thing is skogräns, the shoe border. It is right after the entry, already before ticket sales. The shoes need to be removed already in the lobby, just like at many gyms in Finland and Sweden. In UK I think they have not even heard of this concept... For the changing room locker you need your own lock. I understand this to be common practice in most public pools around Stockholm. The changing room is so tidy as all the shoes have been left outside, there is no sand, mud or dirty water on the floors. The pool itself is ok, water is not too warm, people are quite nice. The most annoying thing is that they don't have flags towards the ends. This is something I am used to, and it is highly beneficial when you want to swim backstroke and know when to stop or to prepare for flip turn. Now I have to guess, or try to see sideways what the colour of the lane separators is (they are blue and white ordinarily, turning solid red towards the end).

Showers have nothing worth commenting on, quite similar to Finland. However, sauna is its own chapter. The seats rise like giant stairs, with somewhat heavy look. Usually they would be bit more like shelves. They are also wide, which is good for if you want to lie down. The top seats reveal a design flaw: the wooden paneling stops before shoulders, leaving them exposed to the tiles when leaning (top tip: do not lean). With 82-85 C, tile is not the right choice of materials. The heat is quite ok, the tiles could be tolerated, but there is one big problem: no water throwing (löyly). It is the essence of sauna. Last time I met a Finnish-born lady in sauna and she told that these dry saunas are not uncommon, and this sauna is in fact from the better end. Not all pools have a sauna to begin with, and some just are not hot enough. We concluded that Finnish saunas are better.

Even though the sauna had somewhat weak performance, it was still warm and offered a nice moment of relaxation after work out. All in all the pool was a good experience, especially after the years in UK. Areas are clean, and there is appropriate temperature in all of them.

Return to Stockholm

The spring term (my final one!) is on with full speed, and the toughest part is maybe over by now. The first weeks were one big blur as I had three courses in parallel. Luckily one finished early March, so I will have bit more peace now. There is no need to worry though that I would not have enough to do - applying for a job keeps me very busy! I am graduating this summer, and my target is to have a job offer by then. We will see what happens, right now it doesn't look all too promising. The situations can take quick turns though, I just need to send the applications and have some patience while waiting for the responses. 

Arriving into Stockholm late January, very early morning.

Arriving into Stockholm late January, very early morning.

Stockholm cafes

Cafe culture in Stockholm is doing well, and this is a promised land for a friend of sweet breads and coffee! Overall the standard is high, so the opportunity to end up in a nice place is high too. However, it makes the misses ever more bitter. Therefore I am looking to do some groundwork for Stockholm visitors, and the mission for these two years is to check out a number of Stockholm cafes! I probably won't make it everywhere (there are time and budgetary constraints), but the outcome should be several good cafes to recommend.

I am not going to have a very scientific or quantitative approach, but I will try to focus on certain features to ensure somewhat comparable results. Additionally, I can only evaluate the tea selection, as I do not drink any coffee. Sometimes I might have a coffee drinker with me, or I might make an educated guess based on the style of the place as well as some recommendations or reviews. I will pay attention to general ambience, price-quality ratio (I am a student after all), selection, whether the place is good for working or studying and any other detail I might consider worthwhile mentioning. I will also try to take photos of every place, of either the space or my plate.

Snickarbacken 7 from outside

Snickarbacken 7 from outside

My intention is to include the following categories into every review, but I will keep the liberty to change them any time if I think it helps my cause as the project proceeds.

Where: The address, neighbourhood, and maybe the underground (T-bana) station. However, I am usually going by foot, so having T-bana info is an added bonus.
What: What kind of a place it is? Just coffee and buns, or is there lunch or other food as well?
Order: What did I have and how much did it cost? The currency might be changing here, but I think I will try to do this in euros. 

Comments: In this section I will focus on service, very good stuff, any cons or issues, whether the place is good for working (wifi and power outlets) or more for social interaction or brunch. I will also evaluate the price-quality ratio in this part. 

Finally, I will get to the most important question when it comes to business: would I go again?

I have previously written cafe reviews from London, you can find them here. I have also listed some of the best hot chocolates here. In addition to these, I am sure I can find enough material for a cinnamon bun list too! 

Intro week part II

So much happened during the first week that it is hard to write about everything, but here are few more fun moments to share :) 

From top left:
1. I was invited to a Swedish birthday party and it was really nice!
2. View from Handels to the City Library
3. The oldest inn/hotel in Stockholm, from 1700s if I remember correct. We stayed there some time ago and it was really nice.
4. Run in Hagaparken

Bottom left:
5. Friday night party in an outdoor club that was under a bridge
6. First group meeting and some bubbly that was leftover from exchange students' welcome event
7. People out grabbing air on a sitting break
8. I always bake cinnamon buns in a new flat.