The blog posts up to now have been incredibly misleading, and I would like to clear up some confusion: we are kayaking, but this is not a kayaking trip. Our route was carefully chosen with one goal in mind: maximizing exposure to European coffee and pastries. As the team’s unapologetic glutton – and one of the driving forces behind this soon-to-be primary objective – I have been tasked with bringing you up to speed.
Sweden and Finland appear to have only three pastries: pancakes, jelly doughnuts, and chocolate cake. In retrospect, Scandinavia may have been a pour choice for GRAB’s maiden pastry voyage, but it’s too late to change things now. The chocolate cake is like a dense brownie and the doughnut is a doughnut – if you were expecting more you aren’t alone. Slim pickings out here.
The pancakes – pankakke – are interesting, however. I’m still not sure how to pronounce the name because every time I try I’m met with a smile and a gently mocking repetition of my exact pronunciation, so for now they’re just “swedish pancakes”. They look and taste like large spongey rice pudding paddies, they’re covered in whipped cream and jelly, and often come loaded with several pounds of cardamom. I feel this decision to be questionable because cardamom tastes like a cross between a chai latte and a retirement home, but the risk keeps things interesting; every first bite will either be delicious or inedible. It’s like Russian roulette with higher stakes.
Despite the lack of selection, it’s interesting to see the variations between pastries from island to island. That was a lie. They all taste pretty much the same, but they’re delicious with coffee and when I pretend to notice minor differences it makes me feel fancy and culturally aware.
The purpose is the pastries. The kayaks are just our vehicles. Two weeks left to eat our way to Helsinki – wish us luck!