Scandinavian food traditions



                      THE HISTORY OF THE SMÖRGÅSBORD

As Swedish traditions go, the smorgasbord is fairly new, only about 200 years old. But this culinary extravaganza is perhaps the most widely recognized feature of Swedish culture around the world.

The Smårgåsbord has its roots in the aquavit buffet (brännvinsbord) of the 18th century, the prelude to festival meal. Set on a table in a corner or a separate room, this buffet featured various kinds of aquavit, herring, breads, salt pretzels and sharp cheese. These were consumed by guests while standing, before the formal meal.

As more dishes were added, this became a herring buffet "SILLBORD". It grew to be the giant smörgåsbord of the 19-century, which could include a hundred or more different dishes.The Smörgåsbord´s focal point, then as today was the large aquavit container with faucets dispensing a variety of drinks. Flanking this imposing container were countless hot and cold platters and dishes- herring, cheeses, egg dishes, fish, cold cuts, meats, salads, vegetables, breads and fruits. We in the southern parts of Sweden think that the real Smörgåsbord was developed here by us. It became famous among other things, through an old movie, "Kalle på spången" with the known Swedish actor Edvard Persson. We had the greatest tables and it was first later that it really hit the restaurants in the north in modern times. Mostly the Smörgåsbord was at the trading- transport routs, at the inns and "Gästgivaregårdar" as we say in southern Sweden Today the Smörgåsbord is mostly done during the November -December as a Christmas table. With the important ingredients, The Ham, Lutefisk, meatballs, Herring, rice pudding and many other cold dishes.

Smaklig Spis

            Scandinavian   Food Pleasure


                            ONE YEAR OF TRADITIONAL DISHES.                                 

                            In the olden days the Scandinavian meals were

                            dictated by the season and which foods were

                            available at the time.

                            Today when we are free to enjoy many kinds

                            of foods - traditional specialties are still the

                            favorite choice.

                            The reason may be that Scandinavian food

                            are tasty and timeless!



Eggs were considered very longed-for spring primeur since hens did not lay eggs during the long, cold Scandinavian winter.

Egg dishes are still very popular, especially during Easter. You can enjoy eggs soft boiled ore hard boiled with some smoked cod roe adding a delicate touch of salty flavor, or serve them as an omelet or with pickled herring - the varieties of egg preparation are endless.

During Easter it is also a time to ”pick eggs” that is a game were the different persons compete against each others with knocking the ends of your eggs together and the one that brakes his egg looses and has to give it to the winner.

On Easter Sunday the main traditional dish is often a lamb roast with fried raw potatoes and herb butter with parsley and onion.

Poached salmon with green peas and a mayonnaise sauce have form many years been another springtime favorite.


A traditional and much appreciated dish on A Midsummer Eve is Matjes sill (sweet, salted - pickled herring) served with delicate new potatoes, dill, sour cream and chives. To complete this delicious meal, you drink Snaps and join in the singing of all the well-known Snaps songs!

For Dessert you will enjoy fresh strawberries with whipped cream!

Through the summer and autumn seasons, you can enjoy various kinds of fresh soft fruit such as Lingonberries, blueberries and the precious Cloudberries found only in the northern regions of Scandinavia.


Most of the berries make wonderful jams that will enlighten the dark winter days, For example, Lingonberrie jam is usually enjoyed with milk as a dessert but is also a delicious condiment with meat dishes and puddings.

And if you try vanilla ice cream with preserved Cloudberries only once, you will always remember it as a heavenly moment!


If you long for a warming and tasty meal in wintertime, you should try a stew prepared with brown beans and fried pork. Traditional the stew is seasoned with vinegar and treacle, which gives it a special appetizing sweet-and sour flavor.

For centuries yellow pea soup has been the traditional supper each Thursday throughout the winter. Although this is a very hearty dish, savory thin pancakes always follow it with jam. This is one of the most treasured Scandinavian traditions.


In ancient times, living in Scandinavia was very harsh, especially during the long winter. Then Christmas was a welcome midwinter break, celebrated with fresh food in great abundance. This is how the world famous Scandinavian Smörgåsbord was created!

On the Christmas table, you will find many of the traditional Smörgåsbord dishes - pickled herring and herring in different kinds of sauces, ham and small meatballs, sausages and pickled beet root, headcheese (brawn) and liver pâté etc.


Christmas is the only time of the year when dried fish is still eaten with delight!

If you like to prepare your own Lutfisk, you must begin two weeks before Christmas by soaking the dried cod in lye. Then on Christmas Eve, the fish is ready to be served for supper - boiled with a béchamel sauce, mustard and boiled potatoes. This Lutfisk meal is a pleasant change from the heavier Christmas dishes.

On Christmas night, don’t forget to share your dessert with Hustomten (the gnome) who is guardian of your house and land! Just put a bowl of the traditional rice porridge with cinnamon outside your door and he will protect your well being during the year to come.


The Swedish Cray fish party is a must in our way of enjoying our self. In the summer beginning August we have a party where we eat Cay fish boiled in dill and salt. To that we have bread and drink Bear and Swedish Snaps. On the table are also usually some Swedish herring and other small dishes to make a full meal. As desert we can have our Jordgubbar/Straw berries.

The feast is a ritual where you decorate the room or usually the garden with colourful lamps, one off the lamps is a moon. You eat the Cray fish wearing funny hats and a large napkin. Singing to the snaps is a must and there are several snaps songs dedicated to this occasion.



1. Och först tar vi lilla helan 

Mel: Och jungfru hon går i dansen.

Och först tar vi lilla helan
och det i galopp.
Och sen tar vi lilla halvan
och säger ej stopp.
Nog är det besvärligt,
men ta och skriv opp,
så länge det finns brännvin
så finnes det hopp!

2. Hembränningsmetodik

mel. Skära, skära havre

Skära, skära havre,
plocka upp potatis,
hacka, mala,
pressa, skala,
hälla upp i glasen

3. Silla hon går

mel. Och jungfrun hon går i ringen

//: Och silla hon går i havet
bland torsk och makrill. ://
//: Och hon har det bra där,
tar en sup när hon vill. ://

4. Melodi : Hej tomtegubbar

//:Tänk om jag hade lilla nubben uppå ett snöre i halsen ://
jag kunde dra den upp och ner så att den kändes som många fler.
Tänk om jag hade lilla nubben uppå ett snöre i halsen.


Mel: Ach Du lieber Augustin.

Nu tå tåmmer Tålmannen
Tålmannen, Tålmannen.
Nu tå tåmmer Tålmannen
Tålmannen, Tål!
Tål! Tål!



6. Och viljen I veta 

Viljen I veta och viljen I förstå
hur svensken får mod uti barmen
Jo, far min han fattade glaset liksom så
och sedan så krökte han armen
Han bugade sig hit
han bugade sig dit
så gladelig, så gladelig
och hällde sen supen på tarmen

7. Septen

 mel.: Nu ska vi skörda linet










                                        Thin bread

                               Arctic cracker crisp bread

tunnbröd: Thin bread has a very old tradition in northern Sweden. As always it is the inventiveness of the people in hard environments, that brings us different and exciting new food. Because of the climate that was to cold for growing wheat the farmers in the north grew rye. The rye has no gluten that is needed to get the dough to rise and is therefor hard to bake with. Doing very thin dough and baking it hard solved this. At the same time, you got bread that had a long shelf life during the wintertime. Today we bake the thin bread and crackers with mostly wheat to make a perfect tunnbröd. The thin bread has nearly no fat 0,1g and has no cholesterol, the Carbohydrates is only 15,8g.

There are two kinds of Thin bread the fresh tunnbröd and the hard crisp tunnbröd.

During the 1900-century came the special mills that enable the farmer to grind the flour in three different qualities. You got the finest for your porridge, then the bread flour and last the one for fodder.

The baking process was to make steady dough of corn and water. In the beginning, it was only the bread flour they used baking but later they also used wheat. During the famine in 1900, it was very common to mix bark in the bread.

Tunnbröd baked in stone ovens

Today we use a mix of flour to get the best quality. We use Wheat flour, barley flour, rye flour, and oat flour. We let the dough rest a lot and handle it carefully to get the best quality possible.

How we do our Thin bread: Our dough is resting twice during the production. It is important that the dough rests and gets its flavor and that we get the right amount of carbonic acid. This gives the dough its right consistency for baking and taste. We are stretching the dough 6 times during the process and letting it rest between. The total time for the dough is about 20 minutes. We are the only one using uneven rollers to stretch the dough the advantage is that it gives our bread a better taste and texture.

Then the wet dough hits our hell-hot stone plated ovens and the bread lifts and gets it special character.

The fantastic thing with Thin bread is that you have two types the sort and the hard cracker one. Both can be used in many different ways, it is really up to you imagination. Look up the recipes for breadbaskets and rolls.




                            Ginger snap, Ginger thin, Ginger cookie


The Ginger cookie or Ginger thin/snap Pepparkakan is a cookie that has been developed in Sweden for centuries for it to become the cookie it has been for the last hundred years. With its delicate flavor of ginger, pepper and other Herb’s baked so thin and crispy it has become one of Sweden`sfavourite cookies. Its major different shapes are round, flour and hart shaped.

As far back as the 15th century the first ginger cookies arrived to Sweden through some German munks. The first documented evidence of the cookie is from 1534 during the reign of the famous king Gustaf Wasa. Through the centuries the ginger cookies has mostly disappeared in the other countries and developed into the Swedish specialty that it is today.

The name in Swedish “pepper cookie” is a name given to the cookie because people in older times could not specify the spices and as the dominant flavor was peppery hence came its name Pepparkakor. The first Pepparkakor that were made were not brown as they are today, they were white and often decorated with caramel color. In the 1830`s the color and shape of the cookie changed to the brown colour and the heart shaped Pepparkakan appeared, that we know and love today. The heart shape is from an old tradition that depicts the combining of goodness and kindness. It is also believed in Swedish folklore that you became kind and loving by eating aPepparkaka, so just in case, take one.

This traditional cookie first becameindustriallyproduced and distributed in the mid 1950`s. Today our bakery is one of the oldest Ginger cookie bakeries in Sweden and we have our own secret recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Due to our unique recipe, our ginger cookies have a special taste that is difficult to emulate and this philosophy has not changed since the first day we started baking.


An old tale from way back when says.

If you can hold a ginger cookie in your hand and brake it in 3 pieces with your finger in one go.

You will be aloud a wish. But you must keep it a secret.