Two months ago, I was sat in Arlanda airport on my way home for Christmas with one thing on my mind- food 🙂
Of course I looked forward to seeing family and friends! But mostly, I just wanted to overindulge in some British food. Roast Dinner with Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, crumpets with butter, bacon sandwiches and a clichéd ‘proper’ cup of tea.
However, three weeks later I was doing the exact opposite. Dreaming about the food I could have once I was back to Sweden…. It’s weird how fast you become accustomed to things you never had before.
So, apologies in advance to all those on a healthy New Year. Here are some of the best Swedish food traditions you will (probably) want to get on board with:
1. Pick and Mix
In the UK, Pick and Mix is resigned to a cinema treat and is not really a socially acceptable snack to anyone above the age of 10. Swedes, however, think you can eat candy or ‘godis’ literally anywhere and all the time. It’s amazing. You can find the rows of tubs in almost every corner shop or supermarket and fill to your hearts content. However in true ‘lagom‘ style, Swedes try to only eat sweets on ‘Lördagsgodis’ or Saturday sweet day.
2. Swedish Sausages
A short walk around any supermarket will help you understand the Swedish love of sausages or ‘korv.’ In fact, Swedes eat around 159 thousand tonnes of sausages each year! The Swedish version is different to a traditional British banger (typically cooked and containing potato starch). But I still love them; they are cheap, delicious and fit in many of the dishes I can already cook (Think falukorv shepard’s pie, korv stroganoff, bangers and mash).
3. Ice Cream in Winter
In Sweden, ice cream or ‘glass’ is not just a treat for the beach. I admit I was pretty surprised when I first heard the distinctive bells of an ice cream van despite the thick snow! But it’s true- the Swedes love ice cream in all weathers and are consistently in the top 10 ice cream consuming countries of the world. There is a big range of interesting flavours; Kanelglass (Cinnamon), Jordgubb och fläderglass (Strawberry and elderflower) and Saltlakritsglass (Salty liquorice). I’m still not brave enough to try the last one.
4. Special pastry day celebrations
In Sweden, there are actual days dedicated to eating cake. We are currently looking forward to the aptly named ‘Fat Tuesday’ or ‘fettisdag.’ Similar to Shrove Tuesday in other Christian counties, the Swedes celebrate by eating semlor buns (fastlagsbulle) which are flavored with cardamom then filled with whipped cream and almond paste. They also have Våffeldagen (waffle day), Kanelbullens dag (cinnamon bun day) and Lussekatter (Lucia saffron buns) are eaten on Lucia Day. Basically, Swedes have found a way to indulge their sweet tooth by making eating pastry a national celebration.
5. Everything seafood.
You probably already know the Swedes love their seafood. My favourite is Gravlax which is salmon cured with dill. Swedes are also experts at cooking, pickling and smoking different type of herring. You should try the small pickled herrings (sill) flavoured with mustard, onion, garlic or dill. In the summer, I got the chance to go to a tradtional crayfish party. Everyone gets together to celebrate all things crayfish. Seriously, everything from the plates to our hats and bibs were emblazoned with comical looking red crustaceans. You drink schnapps and sing tradional Swedish songs although in my case I mainly hummed.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and your tastebuds are suitably tempted! As always, feel free to get in touch with any questions you have.
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PS Some obligatory food photo’s I took whilst I was home.