Here at Liquid, we’re passionate about celebrating our team’s diverse culture and heritage – especially when it comes to all the delicious foods from various team members’ home countries!
This month, we chatted to our Senior Account Manager, Emma Johansson, about her favourite foodie traditions from her home country of Sweden. Emma moved to the UK in 2012, but she still incorporates some of her favourite Swedish foods into her meal plans at home and she’s shared the best ones with us.
In the month of August, Swedish people take part in a traditional summertime eating and drinking celebration called a crayfish party (Kräftskiva). This dates back to the early 1900’s when Sweden introduced restrictions on river crayfishing, limiting the season to a couple of months from August. As a result, crayfish became an exclusive and sought-after delicacy.
The crayfish party is generally celebrated at home, with friends and family all joining together to enjoy the celebrations. The crayfish is boiled and served with different types of breads and nibbles, as well as a shot (snaps – the word for a small shot of spirit taken during a meal) of akvavit – along with the tradition of singing silly songs (snapsvisor) before taking your shot.
To top off the celebrations, Swedish people decorate the table with colourful paper lanterns and garlands, as well as dressing up in crayfish decorated bibs and paper hats.
Fishballs and meatballs
One of Emma’s favourite Swedish foods to eat at home is fishballs. These are made of minced white fish, very similar to meatballs, which are boiled in white sauce and served with potatoes and vegetables. Alternatively, they can also be served in a dill, curry or lobster sauce. Emma’s husband has previously likened this meal to baby food (HOW RUDE!), but she strongly disagrees!
As we all know thanks to IKEA, meatballs are also a staple Swedish food. Throughout her childhood, Emma ate these with potatoes, brown sauce, jam and either boiled or mashed potato. Unlike the ones you get served at IKEA, Emma says that chips should not be eaten with meatballs!
Falukorv is a Swedish sausage made of smoked pork and is something that Emma ate a lot of growing up in Sweden.
Falukorv is bought cooked and ready-to-eat but can also be fried or baked. It’s often served with a creamy pasta, such as creamed macaroni, but Emma also recommends using it in a sausage stroganoff, using creamy tomato sauce and serving with rice, mushrooms and peppers.
Pea soup and pancakes
One Swedish foodie tradition that Emma isn’t a fan of, but can remember from school, is pea soup and pancakes, which is traditionally eaten on a Thursday.
Served first, the pea soup is made of yellow, dried, split peas with onion, pork and mustard. Once this has been eaten, the Swedish pancakes – which are slightly thicker than crepes – are then served with jam.
Sandwich cake (Smörgåstårta)
Often eaten at most family get-togethers such as birthdays, christenings and funerals, sandwich cake is a savoury cake which is described as Sweden’s guilty secret.
It’s made with white bread, butter and a variety of fillings such as cheese, mayonnaise, prawns, ham, lettuce and cucumber – making it a very rich flavour! And they’re very impressive to look at too, with lots of colours and fancy food decorations.
Cosy Fridays (Fredagsmys)
A popular family tradition throughout Sweden is Cosy Fridays, where people get together with their immediate family on a Friday evening and have a cosy night in, eating good food on the sofa and watching television.
A popular food enjoyed on Cosy Friday is Tex Mex style food such as tacos – after all, Swedes are the biggest consumers of Mexican food in Europe! When living in Sweden, Emma and her family enjoyed Cosy Fridays every week and she describes it as the equivalent of British family time over a Sunday roast, but with less frills and much more relaxed.
Which of these Swedish foodie traditions do you want to try? If you do decide to bring a taste of Sweden into your kitchen, we’d love for you to share your pictures with us on social media!