Pastry chef, Elina
We had the pleasure to interview the lovely pastry/bakery student Elina Kantelinen Brandt, who’s based in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. She has currently made a big change in her life career wise, and is a true inspiration to us. She’s changing her hobby into her job, pursuing a career as a pastry chef.
When and how did you discover your passion and talent for baking?
I have been baking since I was a little girl and I love the feeling when I can serve my pastry and bread to my guests. Homemade pastry and bread are always highly appreciated. It was my lovely mother who introduced me to baking and every Saturday we baked all day long! It’s such a great memory!
I’ve always been aware of the fact that I have a talent for baking but it was not until for approximately a year ago when I realised that I have an indescribable passion for baking. During time off from work the only thing I could think of was baking and I spent a lot of time baking. Just thinking of baking or talking about baking made me extremely happy. I’d been working 10 years within finance and I felt I was done with what I was doing since it did not give me any personal development. I liked doing what I was doing but I felt the time away from my family was not worth it. So I resigned and applied for the pastry and bakery school. Nowadays I more than love what I’m doing and I believe passion is the keyword for success.
What do you find in a typical Swedish café?
A typical Swedish café serves mostly cinnamon and cardamom rolls and a small bite called “dammsugare”, vacuum cleaner in English. It’s basically leftovers from what the baker has been baking during the day, mixed to a blend savoured with some liqueur, rolled in marzipan and dipped in chocolate. Even chocolate balls and princess cake are common pastry in typical Swedish cafés. The princess cake is a cake with vanilla cream, raspberry jam (or as I prefer it with fresh raspberries), whipped cream and covered with marzipan. Also the pastry called “biskvi” is a common pastry in most of the cafés.
What's your favourite?
My favourite must be the “biskvi”. It’s Italian butterbream with chocolate on almond-paste base and covered in dark chocolate. Yummy! It’s both my favourite pastry to eat and to bake. It needs some time, patience and precision when baking “biskvi” but they are so good!
What's your favourite "healthy" cake?
Anything with fresh berries and fruit! I believe everything is healthy as long as you don’t eat too much of anything and do your exercise! In my opinion life is too short to spend time on counting calories!
Can you recommend some great local cafés?
There are many really nice cafés in Stockholm but my personal favourites are Brillo (the best baker in the world year 2014 runs the bakery!) for their fantastic sandwiches, buns and ice cream, Chokladfabriken (several locations) for all chocolate lovers and Wiener café for a classy “fika” on fashionable Biblioteksgatan.
What's for breakfast?
My breakfast consists of fresh sourdough bread with a slab of butter, a slice of cheese and cucumber, Russian yogurt with homemade muesli and a lovely latte macchiato.
What's a typical Swedish birthday cake?
It must be the princess cake. I guess Swedes like it because is so simple, both taste and looks.
If visiting Sweden for the first time, where do you have to go and what do you have to see?
First of all, learn the word “fika”! Swedes love to “fika”. Fika means to have a cup of coffee, preferably with someone you like, and eating something sweet. Start your day as the locals do, with a lovely walk in the Royal Djurgården. Remember to fika at any time!
Continue your walk to the Old Town. In my opinion it’s a beautiful part of Stockholm but the stores along the main streets of Old Town are dull tourist traps. The Royal Palace is located in the Old town and definitely worth a visit. If you’re visiting Stockholm summer time, make sure not to miss the chancing of the guards. The Royal Guards march or ride through the city accompanied by beautiful music!
I have personally gone on a boat sightseeing tour and I can highly recommend it. You get to see Stockholm from the water and you see a big part of Stockholm without having to get stuck in traffic jam or sweat on a hot bus.
There are several fantastic museums in Stockholm and my personal favourite museums are Fotografiska (museum for photography) and Moderna Museet (the modern art museum). Not only the fantastic exhibitions they are located beautifully by the water and Fotografiska has also a fantastic restaurant that’s worth a visit.
During the summer time a picnic in Humlegården is a must. Just take a blanket with you, buy something good from a café, sit down and enjoy!
When flying back home, visit Pontus in the Air (opening 27th April) at terminal 5 in Arlanda airport and maybe you see me working there with the desserts and pastry!
Välkommen till Stockholm!
To see more of Elina’s amazing bakes, follow her on Instagram @bakemybreathaway and to get her recipes go to her website www.bakemybreathaway.se