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December 26, 2009

Swedish Christmas Food

Ok, this entry is boring for Swedes, because almost everyone (at least the people I know) eats the same type of 'julbord' (=literally Christmas Table). Which I think is very neat, considered that we have so many different regional traditions in Germany, so there is no 'real German x-mas food'...

Of course, there are variations of recipes and compositions around the Swedish julbord. I have pretty much adapted my mother-in-law's style. Because her's was the first I got to taste - and love - quite some years ago. It is served buffet-style, which sees to that we get some workout and do not only sit still during the whole procedure - kind of needed with this calorie-rich-rich food!

We usually start with fish, which is different styles of herring and salmon. We have mustard-, gourmet- (=creamy), Brantevik (named after a village in the south of Sweden, rather sweet, sugary plus onions) herring. (Schwedenhäppchen we call those in Germany...)
And three variations of salmon: gravad (dill,sugar,salt,pepper-marinated), smoked and warm-smoked (middle on photo).

Two different sauces come with this: Gravad-sauce (hofmästersås), made of mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, dill, oil and goes really nice with the same-named fish. The other one is a creamy sauce with swedish kaviar (löjrom), served with the smoked salmon.
Boiled potatoes and bread go with this, so does Jansson's temptation. Oven-baked potatoes (cut in sticks) with anjovies and onion cooked in a milk-cream (again) mixture. So yummy.

After that you are allowed to move on:
The center piece is the ham. Julskinka. Goes back to the old days, when the pigs were at their best around this time of the year, after being fed during summer and fall. But, with the upcoming winter not having enough food to keep them that way, the best was to slaughter them now - at their best. (So I learned from my husband.) (Today: imagine when some 9 mill Swedish inhabitants -minus vegetarians and swine-free religious individuals- run for ham: you better be early...
This one is organic, so I hope it had a happy life before we had it. The flavour was, (well: is, we still have half of it left) very intensive and really good. The crust is done with a paste of egg, mustard and breadcrums. A few cloves give some extra spice. The fat we do not eat.

Further, you will find the typical köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) and different kinds of sausages. Fried, smoked, cooked ones. Brussel sprouts, red cabbage, potatoes, cheeses and breads round up the whole thing.
Drinks are decided - no discussions! Aquavit is served, the 'snappsvisa' (Swedish schnapps songs) obligatory. And beer. I prefer very light beer, because the Aquavit already provides remarkable % abv...

And as every year: it was good!

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