The Swedish Trilogy, 3: Crispbread

Crunchy and tasty artisan crispbread

Crunchy and tasty artisan crispbread

There’s more to bread than fluffy white stuff. My Swedish heritage means that I have very particular ideas about what makes good bread. White toasting bread isn’t it. Toasting bread in general, isn’t it. I accept a baguette, can deal with foccacia and adore pumpernickel. I hunt high and low for sturdy rye bread, a sweet and sticky syrup loaf and proper crispbread.  Not Ryvita. Real crispbread.

Made by blond pizza chefs in clogs. Honest!

Made by blond pizza chefs in clogs. Honest!

You don’t get much more real than Vika. Not only do they still make crisp bread in wood-fired ovens, they are fired manually, by men and women in white, who move the bread around using what looks like pizza spatulas. They use no other ingredients than wholemeal rye flour, water, yeast and salt. The bread is then dried for 24 hours before it is packed and shipped. Unfortunately, only to re-sellers in Sweden. This is the way crispbread was made in village cook houses in the past and it’s great that there are places where it is still made in the traditional way.

If you can’t find Vika, and you can’t, there’s Finn Crisp, or the rounds they sell at Peter’s Yard. Peter’s Yard’s crispbread is as authentic as Vika and gorgeously crisp and dense. Go buy! If you can’t get to Peter’s Yard, there are good options in the supermarket. Or there’s always IKEA. Their food shop is a wonderful resource for expats. As well as crispbread it sells Kalles Kaviar, a kind of taramosalata that we like to use as a spread on bread, eat with hardboiled eggs and make a sauce for white fish with. But I was talking about crispbread.

When they started selling Finn Crisp in my local supermarket, I was delighted. This is real crispbread. They do two types: rounds and rye thins. The former I nibble happily with or without a spread, the latter is simply wonderful with gorgonzola. (I learned that one lovely summer’s morning in Stockholm when my sister-in-law and I had it for breakfast.) The thins are slightly sour and taste strongly of rye so suit a strong cheese.

A simple summer pleasure.

A simple summer pleasure.

Crispbread is crunchy and tasty and everyone should eat it. All the time. But not in bed: the crumbs are most irritating.

Open Crispbread Sandwich
Preparation time
Total time
The perfect summer snack - an easy to make open crispbread sandwich.
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Swedish
Serves: 1
  • Real crispbread of any type
  • Butter
  • Left-over boiled potatoes
  • Slices of hard-boiled egg, or pickled herring, or Kalles Kaviar, all three or none
  • Chives
  1. Smear the bread with butter (this is the glue that holds the other ingredients on to the bread).
  2. Put slices of cold potato on to the bread.
  3. Put egg, herring or Kalles Kaviar - if used - on top of the potato.
  4. Cut chives over the sandwich.

Eat without delay.

Peter’s Yard @petersyard

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.


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  2. I’ll be stocking up on Peter’s Yard crispbreads on my visit soon. But I’m surprised that you don’t favour theirs ahead of the more commercial ones you mention. Do you really think the supermarket/Ikea ones are better? I’ve tried them but much prefer Peter’s Yard.

    • I like both a lot, but in different ways. Peter’s Yard crispbread is a delicacy, a luxury, perfect for cheese boards, dips and elegant canapés. It also makes a great breadcrumb! The rougher stuff reminds me of the crisp bread I grew up with, especially the rye rounds that IKEA sells (Leksans knäcke). It’s more rustic and my go-to-choice for open sandwiches and mid-morning snacks. It’s a nostalgia thing, I think. When I give crispbread as a gift, it’s Peter’s Yard crispbread, every time. (Some crispbread, like Ryvita, I can’t stand. That tastes like the cardboard some people accuse all crispbread of tasting like.)

      Oh no. I’m hungry now.

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