A visit to Stockholm isn’t complete without having fika, or a coffee and sweets moment! This time we visited Vete-Katten, a Stockholm institution for coffee and princess cake. I tried princess cake for the first time in February and had to have it again this visit. Vete-Katen’s “royal cake is baked according to our own secret method, which gives it its unique taste and creaminess. The sponge bases are layered with freshly-prepared custard and raspberries, enveloped by a thick quilt of whipped cream, all encased in green marzipan powdered with icing sugar.” It was soooo delicious! The coffee is also excellent!
The history of Vete-Katten is also quite interesting. From their website:
Vete–Katten was founded in 1928 by a particularly forthright lady, Ester Nordhammar. In those days – women had only had the vote for a couple of years – very few companies were run by women, and even fewer patisseries. Ester, who was 42, had considerable professional experience, including working as a clerk, but had barely even set foot in a bakery. She had the idea to start a simple patisserie, “decorated like a vicarage”, as someone said, offering pastries, bread and buns of the highest quality. It is said that the name was spawned when Ester was asked what her bakery would be called and answered: “Ja, det vete katten”, which in Swedish can mean both “the cat knows” and “the wheat cat”. Somebody must have liked the spontaneity of this and the play on words, so the name stuck. Another idea she had was to exclusively employ young women in the business (and she held by this, as not a single man was employed at Vete–Katten until 1961, the year Ester died). She teamed up with a partner, Anna Skog, who initially looked after production. After a few years Anna left and Ester continued to run Vete–Katten by herself. And she did this, with a firm hand, until 1961 when she bequeathed the patisserie to four of her employees. Two of them remained until 1979 when Vete–Katten was sold to Agneta and Östen Brolin. They in turn sold the venerable institution in 2012 to master pastry chef Johan Sandelin, who has worked in the company since 1997 and ensures the spirit of Vete–Katten lives on.