Swedish meatballs from Meatballs for the PeopleIf there’s one thing Ikea is known for (aside from vaguely flimsy but very affordable furniture), it’s the Swedish meatballs.  They’re cheap, satisfying, and pretty tasty.

I’m in Sweden now, so obviously meatballs were very high on my to-do list.

I went to a restaurant called Meatballs for the People, which is acclaimed for their classic take on this dish.

And yeah, if you’ve been to Ikea, everything here is going to seem very familiar: the gravy-topped meatballs, the mashed potato, and of course, the lingonberry sauce (the only thing here that you won’t find at Ikea is the addition of thinly-sliced pickles).

The thing that really surprised me is how close Ikea gets it.  All of the flavours were very, very familiar.

The meatballs themselves, however, were clearly superior here — no contest.  It’s really not even a fair comparison; the meatballs at Ikea are from a freezer and taste like it.  The ones here are moist, meaty, and just a little bit crispy on the outside.  They’re great.

Princess cake from Vete-Katten in Stockholm, Sweden

The princess cake — which consists of sponge cake layered with raspberry jam and cream, which is topped with marzipan — is clearly the best dessert at Ikea.  Here in Stockholm, the most popular version is served at a bakery called Vete-Katten.

Again, I was struck by how close Ikea gets it.  There was no contest, though — the version here was so much better.  It was just so light and creamy and perfect.  And like a lot of desserts here versus the ones back home, the sweetness was much more subtle.  The cream wasn’t sweetened at all, which tempers the sweetness from the jam and the cake and the marzipan.  It was so good.

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