Florida bakery brings Swedish Christmas to all

Polar Bakery
Article photos: Polar Bakery

Food & Drink, Work & Business

Florida bakery brings Swedish Christmas to all

If you are looking to savor your Swedish heritage bite by bite this holiday season, look no further than Polar Bakery.

The Swedish bakery/gourmet food shop in Lantana, Fla., just south of West Palm Beach, is busy taking orders for everything from saffron buns to imported Swedish chocolates and shipping them across the country for Jul celebrations like Lucia.

Since the pastry shop is first and foremost Swedish, you’ll find an array of traditional sweet treats like cardamom and cinnamon buns, semla and ginger bread. And during the holidays, rum balls and princess cake. As a nod to its Nordic neighbor, there are Finnish baked goods, too, like rice pie and dark sour rye bread.

The bakery, owned by husband-and-wife duo Gavin Magor and Christina Lovquist, stocks imported gourmet goods from Sweden as well. Think Swedish Christmas hams, herring, fish balls, Abba fish and caviar, smoked salmon spreads, glögg, knäckebröd and cheeses like Swedish farmers’ cheese, Herrgårdsost, Prästost and Norwegian Gjetost.

Opened in the early 1980s by Ingrid and Esbjorn Olsen, Polar Bakery was around for almost 25 years before the couple retired and closed its doors.

In 2013, Magor and Lovquist decided to bring the bakery back to life. Lovquist, whose parents are from Sweden and who has a culinary background, felt a calling to reopen the bakery. Paying homage to the original bakery, Magor and Lovquist kept the name, as Scandinavians from across the country have come to know and love Polar Bakery.

“A lot of families recognize the name,” Lovquist said. “It was nice to see people saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Polar Bakery is back.’ One woman came back and started crying, because she couldn’t believe that it was open again. It’s very humbling.”

Lovquist, who got her culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University and previously owned her own catering company in Greenwich, Conn., drew the bakery’s inspiration from her Swedish heritage and the dishes that her family cooked. Growing up, Lovquist has fond memories of her mother’s kåldomar (Swedish stuffed cabbage), sjömansbiff (beef and potato stew) and Jansson’s Temptation (potato and anchovy casserole).

Her mother, who owned a catering business, also would bake array of traditional Scandinavian pastries and desserts, like drömtårta (chocolate rolls) and sockerkaka, a Swedish sponge cake with jam, whipped cream and fresh fruit.

And naturally, the bakery carries favorites from Lovquist’s childhood, like the polarizing Swedish delicacy lutefisk.

“I was brought up on it and loved it,” Lovquist said.

To place an order, call (561) 214-4545 or email polarbakery@gmail.com.

© 2023 Swedish Match. All right reserved.

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