Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas food

As promised I will write a short blog on the special Christmas (Jul) food here in Sweden. Traditions connected to the celebration of specific feasts are very strong here. Similarly are the food connected to these festivals, as they are only available during these periods and can't be found on the shelves the rest of the year. Foods connected with Christmas are Julmust (Christmas Cola), Julöl (Christmas beer), Glögg (warm spiced wine), Julskinka with Senap (Christmas ham with mustard), Lussekatter (Saffron buns), Pepperkakor (Gingerbread), Risgrynsgröt with Lingon (Ricepudding with Lingonberry jam). These special Christmas food are usaully accompanied by other traditional Swedish food to make up the rest of the Julbord (Christmas table). A variety of fish (salmon, herring, whitefish and eel) are served as a first course. Fish are preserved on a variety of ways e.g. smoking, fermenting, pickled, etc. (warning: fermented fish can make you feel very queasy very quickly). The fish course is usually accompanied by snaps (aka akvavit, which is vodka with some kind of flavouring - commonly dill). A selection of cold sliced meats with cheese, pickled cucumbers and crisp breads are next. Warm dishes follow and include the Julskinka, Swedish meatballs (köttbullar), roasted pork ribs (revbenspjäll), and a warm potato casserole called Janssons frestelse (Jansson's Temptation, which is anchovies, potato sticks and onions layered with cream).

All of these are obviously too much for two people to consume, thus our Julbort only included a selection. We have, however, tasted the other dishes while dining with our friends and at restaurants. Below is a picture of our Julbord.

In the middle of the picture is the julskinka which we had with senap... very tasty. Our Julbord also included some red cabbage, prinskorv, baked and fried potato, crispbread with a selection of cheese, salami and pickles. We ended the meal with rice pudding and lingon (in front) and pepparkakor (to the right). Our drinks in the back included Glögg and Julmust.

Some additional interesting bits:
Julmust is the most popular softdrink in Sweden around Christmas and much to the dismay of the CocaCola Company cause the sales of Coke to drop by 50% during this time of the year.
You can get Glögg in various alcoholic "strengths" and various brands. You can buy the alcohol free and 2.5% alcohol (latt Glögg) varieties at the supermarket. The good stuff however is the 'starkvin Glögg' (15%), which really warms you up when coming into the house from a -10 degrees outside adventure. This variety can however only be bought from the state-controlled liquor outlet - Systembolaget. Its worth the effort however.

Wishing everybody 'God Jul och Gott Nytt År'


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