On the 25th of March every year, Swedes dust off their waffle irons to indulge in newly baked waffles with jam and lightly whipped cream. The tradition actually stems from a misunderstanding. The original Christian celebration on that day, Lady Day, in Swedish Vårfrudagen, became in the vernacular Våffeldagen.
It all started in the 17th century
Already in the 17th century Swedes started making waffles baked in square irons used directly in open fire. The nowadays so characteristic rounded iron making heart shaped waffles came around in the 19th century.
Get them crispy
The whole idea with waffles, in Sweden and anywhere else, is to get them crispy; this is really what differentiates them from pancakes. To do so one needs a hot iron and good batter. The batter can be varied in infinite ways, but is usually based on flour, water, butter, and cream or milk.
The jam is preferably made of either half and half of blueberries and raspberries or cloudberries.
Different styles of waffles
In Sweden, today being a truly multicultural society, people enjoy an array of different styles of waffles, including Norwegian waffles spiced with cardamom, waffles the American way with ice cream or syrup, or Belgian waffles with icing sugar.
Source: VisitSweden US; photos: Ron Paul and Siba