Halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago is Kenosha, Wisconsin, at the shores of Lake Michigan, population of nearly 100,000 and home to the newest Swedish addition in the Badger State. We turn and drive down one of Kenosha’s main arteries toward the marina, when a somewhat familiar sight stops us.

A green Dalahäst
In case you miss the sign, the 4-feet-tall green "Dalahäst" (Dala horse) in the window is a sure give-away for Linnea Bakery, a gem in this quaint part of the state. Painted green after the bakery’s namesake, the linnea flower, the interior is a mix of the green and the warm pink colors of this, the provincial flower of Småland. We walk in to a clean, welcoming and functional interior, the heavenly smell of fresh flowers and cardamom, cinnamon and coffee … we’re in Valhalla.
Even if we hadn’t heard great things about this bakery, and we had, we would have wanted to check it out. We were lucky to meet the owners, Mark and Kim, a friendly Swedish-American-Norwegian-Polish couple with excellent Swedish accents whose understanding of the 29 letters of the Swedish alphabet impressed us the moment we walked in and noticed labels with Swedish words spelled correctly.

Swedish with a twist
After a couple days of editorial meetings, planning for the future and meeting local leaders in the community we were eager to connect with some of the local suppliers of Swedishness — and, let’s face it, there’s no Swedishness without food!
The owners weren’t the only friendly folks there when we arrived at lunchtime. Customers, several of them obviously frequent diners at Linnea, happily recommended different foods, including the interesting, if not controversial, kanelbulle breakfast sandwich. The egg, cherrywood smoked bacon and havarti cheese combo sounded good … it took a while for us to realize these savory ingredients were being served on a traditional Swedish cinnamon bun. This American sounding twist on taste made us join the ranks with — according to social media — hundreds, perhaps thousands of cautious lovers of Swedish food.
We hesitated. We hemmed and we hawed, then delayed the decision even further by tasting the flavorful cardamom coffee. But we finally gave in, crossed our fingers and ordered the specialty. Being good Swedish-Americans, we took a photo of the sandwich, posted it on Facebook and asked the social media universe what to think of it.

Kanelbulle combo morphs into a hot potato
We weren’t surprised that a few Swedes — we assumed they were Swedes — refused to even think about straying from their allegiance to the already perfect kanelbulle. In fact, one seemed to suggest that the Swedish kanelbulle might be too good to even be considered food — ambrosia, perhaps? — that “mixing sweet bread with food is not a good idea.” Some thought it sounded disgusting. And this comment may have some sympathizers: “Certain things should just be sacrosanct ... kanelbulle with coffee or tea.”

Neither were we surprised by the comments that accused this idea of being too American. We agree, actually, and that’s just what it is, isn’t it? One fan of the creation gave it the name Egg McSvensk. The majority of the more than 1,200 comments was feedback madly in favor of this “brilliant” combination of Swedish and American flavors. In fact, it became clear that many people had already tried the must-have sandwich: “What discussion? They are delicious, it's a fact!” said one commenter on Facebook. And the rest flowed in fast:
“It's fantastic! Linnea does it right!”
“When you’re not worried about your fat intake, this is what you eat.”
“I was skeptical at first but it’s delicious.”
“They are DIVINE! The sweet and savory is perfection!”
“OMG this is sinfully good! It's breakfast that I don't have to wait for dessert for!”
“Mark and Kim are offering bliss for the taste buds and the eyes.”
"Probably my favorite breakfast sandwich anywhere!"

And so we joined the throngs of joiners. And we haven’t regretted it for a minute. Thumbs up to Linnea for a creative Swedish-American combination! Maybe we’ll have to add taste-testing to our repertoire. Feel free to make recommendations and please, do remember to send samples!

Your editors

For more info, see www.linneabakery.com