Norran's huge semla taste test for Fat Tuesday

In honor of Fat Tuesday, Norran has carried out a big semla test! Four of Norran's readers visited the editorial office and tested 14 different semla from five different stores. Read the panel's reviews of their five favourite semlor below.

The semla tested were variations on the traditional pastry.

The semla tested were variations on the traditional pastry.

Foto: Hampus Berglund Svensson

Skellefteå2023-02-21 11:45

Norran bought a selection of semla varieties in addition to the classic semla that is sold in town. The panel tested everything from cinnamon rolls to licorice rolls. The panel consisted of four Norran readers who were given the chance to participate via a shoutout on social media. Here we provide the results for the five top-scoring semlor in the test.

The panel tasted a mouthful of each cake
Norran's panelists were, from left to right: Jan Holmström, Robert Boström, Maria Andersson and Helen Winnberg.

Here are the panelists:

Jan Holmström is 51 years old and works as customer and security manager at Skellefteå AIK.

–  I have a weakness for pastries. My favorite semla is the usual semla, he says.

Robert Boström is 47 years old and is a process operator at Northvolt.

- During the year, I eat quite a lot of semla. I ate three just yesterday, he says.

The cloudberry semla was one of the panel's favourites.

Maria Andersson is 62 years old and works as a building permit coordinator at the municipality.

- I like semla, but if I may say so myself, my homemade semla are the best, she says.

Helen Winnberg is 58 years old and is a mental health nurse at Brogården.

- I usually wait until Fat Tuesday before I bite into a semla, she says.

The panel had to rate each semla between one and five as well as write a short review. Norran then calculated the panel's average rating and summarized their opinions of the top five below. 

1. Pistachio semla

Pistachio semla.

Average rating: 4

Price: SEK 38

Bought at: Café pa bit

Review: The panel's favourite semla. The taste of pistachio is appreciated by many, but one judge thinks it does not have enough flavour. Several also think that the bun is good and "juicy". One thinks it is pretty similar to the regular classic almond-flavoured semla.

2. Cloudberry semla

Blueberry semla.

Average rating: 3.75

Price: SEK 18

Bought at: Ica Supermarket Skellefteå Torg

Review: One of the panel's absolute favourites. Many appreciate the cloudberry taste. Two of the panelists also appreciate the smaller size, although we wonder who would want a smaller semla? 

3. Strawberry semla

Strawberry semla.

Average rating: 3.25

Price: SEK 42

Bought at: Café pa bit

Review: Two participants think the combination of flavours in the strawberry semla goes well together. One describes it as "a classic combination of flavours". Another thinks it's too sweet. However, the semla gets good reviews from two of the participants.

4. Oreo semla

Oreo semla.

Average rating: 2.75

SEK 13.75

Bought at: Stora Coop Sörböle

Review: The majority of the panel likes the taste of the cream and appreciates the vanilla custard inside the bun. Two of the participants appreciate the combination of flavors. One participant thinks there is too much cream. Too much cream? Is such a thing possible?

5. Vanilla semla

The mighty vanilla semla.

Average rating: 2.5

Price: SEK 38

Bought at: Café pa bit

Review: The cake splits the panel. Some think it is good and fluffy, while another participant thinks it is dry. One of the participants writes "a semla for those who don't like almond paste". In support of this opinion, the English editor of Norran declares it his favorite semla precisely because "it doesn't taste of almond."

14 different semla were tested from several different shops, cafes and patisseries in town.
14 different semla were tested from several different shops, cafes and patisseries in town.