Back home = back to blogging!
The past months I’ve been more away than home so top of the list, now that I’m finally settled for a good couple of months, is share with you all the food stories that I’ve recently gathered.
I spent the last two weeks of 2013 in Sweden, more specifically in Gothenburg, which has become one of my happy places. I guess I have a bit of an emotional connection to this city: one of my best friends, Maral, lives there so we’ve taken care of creating all sorts of funny memories around. This time, not only did I have the chance of spending holidays with my friend and her family, I could also experience what a traditional Swedish Christmas (read: FOOD) is like.
I become way too curious whenever there’s food involved. Swedish Julbord? Let me tell you what I learned about it.
Julbord (Swedish for Christmas table) is a buffet-like dinner and is served on the night of the 24th. Maral’s mom (Mrs. Fariba, to whom I’m eternally grateful) prepared the table for us and the rest of the family. As I wrote on my Instagram update from that moment: “Table looks amazing, food looks great, photos have been taken…can’t wait to dig in!”
Here’s an overview of the dishes I could try out (which won’t ever miss at any traditional julbord):
– Potato gratin (potatisgratäng)
– Beetroot salad in mayonnaise (rödbetssallad)
– Prinskorv (translated “Prince sausage”): small fried sausages known for their crown-like cut.
– Potato salad (potatissallad)
– Mustard herring (senapssill)
– Stewed red and green cabbage
– Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)
– Christmas ham (julskinka) served with mustard
– Janssons Frestelse (translated “Jansson’s temptation”): A casserole made of potatoes, onions, pickled sprat fish, bread crumbs and cream.
– Raw Spiced Salmon (gravlax)
– Beer bread (vörtbröd) served with cheese: a dark bread spiced with cinnamon, ginger, raisins, clove and cardamom. This bread is only sold during this time of the year.
I was very surprised at the seafood variety on the table; had never seen fish being served during Christmas before, quite interesting. Some of my favorites were the potato salad and gratin and the stewed cabbage.
An extra curious tip: during Christmas, Swedes traditionally drink Julmust. This is a non-alcoholic alternative to beer, very similar to coke, just felt a bit sweeter and with a spicy flavor.
On the sweet side, the table included some Ris a la malta (rice pudding) which is not too sweet by itself, but is served with some cinnamon and jam to make up for it. It is tradition to hide a whole almond between the pudding so that the person who finds it gets a special prize or will be in good luck the coming year. There’s also Julostkaka, a cheesecake served with strawberry jam. For warming up, there’s always mulled wine (Glögg) served with almonds, raisins and ginger snaps.
I had an amazing time trying out all these new foods and learning about holiday traditions in Sweden. Definitely a culinary experience I can recommend!
(Thanks to Maral, her mom and sister for welcoming me at their home and letting me be part of this tradition. Love you so much!)