My sweet grandmother Rut and her love of baking inspired me to start Unna Bakery.
I have fond memories of baking cookies with Rut and riding on the back of her bike to share them with friends who lived by the lake in Östersund, in northwestern Sweden where I grew up. Today I use these same recipes to bake with my two daughters, Emmy and Vera. Baking makes me feel at home, wherever I am. I started my career as a photographer’s assistant and studied graphic design, which led me to work in Hamburg and then in Stockholm with POC, an internationally recognized sports gear company. I liked my time with POC, but after a couple of years was ready to try something new, and my husband and I moved to New York City.
Reminiscing about Rut, my mother and the role that baking played in our lives gave me the idea to start Unna Bakery and sell traditional Swedish cookies. I’d always done my own baking, and had never even been to a bakery! Hot Bread Kitchen, a culinary incubator and shared commercial kitchen space in Harlem, made it possible for me to start my own. I couldn’t have done it without their assistance. Founded in 2015, Unna Bakery is female-owned. Grandma Rut’s treasured recipes are at the heart of all our creations and I personally design the packaging.
Unna has seven gourmet cookie flavors, which is significant for us Swedes. In the mid-18th century, women gathered at kaffereps, to enjoy cookies, coffee and company. The homemade cookies were the centerpiece of a beautifully set table, with crocheted tablecloth, fresh flowers, and nice porcelain. For a hostess to serve less than seven cookies was considered stingy, and anything more was viewed as boastful. Seven was just right.
Some say the kafferep helped launch the Swedish women’s rights movement of the early 1900’s. It was also the precursor to the fika, a coffee break that thrives in Swedish homes, offices and cafés. According to custom, you should have coffee or tea, and a cookie, at least once a day. For many, like those in my family, it’s twice daily - at 11am and 3pm. In Swedish, Unna translates to indulge, and I invite you to do just that when you delight in the flavors and traditions of my homeland.
Thank you for visiting...Ulrika Pettersson