Local Lefse Lovers Unite

If, like me, you’re still mourning the end of the fair’s foods-on-a-stick, I have great news for you. There’s a new portable delicacy in town: Varma lefse, the creation of South Minneapolis’ Nathan Matter and Alyson Sweet. Varma recently starting offering its lefse wraps at the Midtown Farmers Market.

For those of you without a Scandinavian grandmother, lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread, comparable to a tortilla, made with potato, butter, and flour. It is customarily eaten hot off the griddle, rolled up with butter and sugar, but Varma has its own spin on the traditional fillings. Aside from the traditional cinnamon-sugar, local honey, and lingonberry jam options, Varma offers unique combinations like marzipan, ground cherry jam, and shaved dark chocolate, and a vegan lefse made with sweet potatoes and coconut oil filled with ginger preserves.Lefse masters, Nathan Matter and Alyson SweetLefse masters, Nathan Matter and Alyson Sweet

Varma’s lefse creations were inspired by Nathan’s memories of eating lefse at his family holiday gatherings. During the holidays, Nathan and his sisters would come home after late-night celebrations and fill lefse with leftovers for a midnight snack. He notes that the mild-tasting lefse plays well with many flavors, making it a perfect backdrop for savory and sweet combinations.

Since Varma has set up at Midtown Farmers Market, it has access to the freshest local ingredients.  Nathan and Alyson use Hope Creamery butter, local potatoes and sweet potatoes, and honey and specialty ingredients like ground cherries purchased from other market vendors.  

But most importantly, how do the lefse wraps taste? In a word: awesome. The lefse itself is buttery and soft, perfect rolled up with the simplest of fillings. But Varma’s superb flavor combinations are the real draw – the this week’s ground cherry special is the perfect balance of tart, almost tropical ground cherry jam, sweet, sticky almond paste, and barely bitter chocolate. I’ve also had the pleasure of sampling some other flavor combinations – homemade lemon curd and blueberry, sautéed pears, ginger, and gorgonzola – that might make it onto the menu next year. Nathan and Alyson’s love for their lefse craft is evident in their attention to small details - each bite is the perfect combination of flavors and textures.  

Stop by the Midtown Farmers Market on Saturdays through the end of October or the Uptown Market next Sunday, September 25th, to taste Varma lefse wraps for yourself! You can also take home lefse to make yourself, and Varma is hoping to expand into making deliveries during the holiday season. You can contact Varma at:



Ann Butkowski is happy to be back in her native Minnesota after spending the last two years in Boston. She’s learning to bike the streets of Minneapolis and grow tomatoes in her backyard. Ann has a master’s degree in nutrition science, but doesn’t let that stop her from eating ice cream right out of the carton. Ann is Simple, Good, and Tasty's resident Farm Bill expert. Her most recent post for us was Understanding the Farm Bill: What's Organic Got To Do With It?