Real Swedish cuisine has plenty to offer – why not try it out?
Yes, that’s right, real Swedish food is still there, but it’s beginning to be difficult to find. But fortunately husmanskost, the cooking as it was done in the old days, is making a comeback, with many of the ancient recipes being re-invented to bring them up to date. And as many of them were inclined to be rather fatty, the amount of fat is being reduced and more vegetables and fruit added.
Sweden being part of Scandinavia, Swedish food has certain characteristics in common with its neighbors Finland, Norway and Denmark, especially in some simple dishes.
But something typical from north Sweden is a strongly-flavoured and strongly-smelling food called surstromming This is made from fermented Baltic herring and is very tasty when consumed the Swedish way, that is with plenty of onions, sour cream, potatoes and tunnbrod, a crisp white bread. The newcomer to the dish might not enjoy it at first, as it often takes time for someone to appreciate something so unusual.
Janssons Temptation, is also very well-known and well-liked. It’s a baked dish, which includes herring again, but this time marinated and spicy, plus anchovies, cream and potatoes.
Of course fish is a main staple of the Swedish diet as the nation has a very long coastline and the countryside is dotted with lakes big and small. The crayfish season starts in August and these little crustaceans are a great favourite and go well with the national drink, aquavit. They are boiled alive in salted water to which dill is also added – dill being a flavouring herb popular in the far north of Europe. Other types of fish readily available are cod, mackerel, trout, salmon, and whitefish.
Reindeer meat should be sampled, together with palt. Palt is a kind of flour and raw-potato meat-filled dumpling, very nice when consumed with butter and lingonberry preserves. Other seasonal fruit is kerbir, which have the appearance of raspberries, and cloudberries. Skagen too is tasty, being made from prawns on toast with dill and mayonnaise.
But smorgasbord is the dish, or should it be spread, that most people know about. Variations of this can now be found throughout the world, but, in fact, the genuine thing is rather difficult to find these days, except perhaps in rustic parts of Sweden. This spread is made up of many different types of food, which include herring, of course, salmon, ham, salad, eggs, potatoes and many other flavoursome dishes. You could tuck in by putting a little of each item on your plate, buffet style, but it is recommended that you eat your way through the various dishes one by one!
Published in: Cooking