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.
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.
Crispbread is crunchy and tasty and everyone should eat it. All the time. But not in bed: the crumbs are most irritating.
- Real crispbread of any type
- Left-over boiled potatoes
- Slices of hard-boiled egg, or pickled herring, or Kalles Kaviar, all three or none
- Smear the bread with butter (this is the glue that holds the other ingredients on to the bread).
- Put slices of cold potato on to the bread.
- Put egg, herring or Kalles Kaviar - if used - on top of the potato.
- Cut chives over the sandwich.
Eat without delay.
Peter’s Yard @petersyard