Wednesday, August 22, 2012



Whatever you choose on the Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, you are almost surely to be taken into an empire of culinary excellence.
Have you tried the divine Swedish oysters, herring and wild game in cranberry sauce? A tasting of Swedish delicacies!

Geographic position

The fundamentals of Swedish culinary cultural are traditional specialities, including salmon, herring and other fish, wild game, berries and mushrooms.
Konungariket Sverige or the Kingdom of Sweden is a country in northern Europe, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Sweden occupies the southeastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, bordering with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast.
Sweden covers an area of 450 000 km², of which 8% is cultivated land, 53% is forested, 11% are mountains and 9% are lakes and rivers. The capital city is Stockholm, and other large cities are Göteborg, Malmö, Helsingborg and Uppsala. Some say that Sweden is a small nation in a large country, as it has a population of just over 9, 000, 000.

Historical influence

During the 18th century, Sweden was a military power, though it has not participated in a single war for almost two centuries. During the politically unstable 20th century, it always took a neutral position on world events, and succeeded in maintaining this position during the two world wars. The results are successful economic policies, a very high standard of living and a developed social welfare system.
Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1995. The radical transformations the country has undergone in this century have made it a more modern, sophisticated and international community.
All this, together with its tradition, hospitality, climate, and abundance of seasonal foods, has left its mark on Swedish cuisine.

Characteristics of the cuisine

The Swedes are well known as gourmands who are always looking to tempt their taste buds. Anyone planning to visit Sweden will be in for a pleasant surprise - the consistent high quality of Swedish food and restaurants, in combination with an unforgettable ambiance, hospitality and professional service.
Swedish agriculture is in the process of transforming into long-term and more human and ecological methods of cultivation and management. This, together with the positive ecological predispositions, gives meat, vegetables, grains and other products of excellent quality.
Whatever you choose on the Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, you are almost surely to be taken into an empire of culinary excellence.
The fundamentals of Swedish culinary cuisine are traditional specialities made from high quality ingredients, including salmon, herring and other fish, wild game, berries and mushrooms. Fish and meat have always played a crucial role in the Swedish diet. During the long winters, the lack of fresh vegetables is reflected in the traditional menus. The greatest national delicacies are the Swedish shellfish, and we recommend you try the oysters which have a fantastic taste, thanks to their maturation in cold water.
Pickled cabbage and berry jams, especially cranberry, are a source of vitamin C through the long winter. Cranberry jam is also added to heavy meat dishes, both due to their excellent flavour and their digestive properties. A somewhat more exclusive jam, though still very common in Swedish cuisine, is the blackberry jam, which is one of the dishes traditionally served at the Nobel Prize awards dinner.
The long tradition of hunting and fishing in Sweden depends on the distance to the coast or the forest. Hunters usually hunt for elk and moose.


Three meals are typically served in the Swedish home: breakfast, lunch and dinner. A hot meal is served in all schools at lunchtime.
Among the working folk, lunch is usually a lighter meal for example, a salad and a baguette, leaving the main position to dinner, when a hot meal is served. If you eat everything you put on your plate, the Swedes will consider you to be a person of good manners. One reason for this is they are very humble and not wasteful.


You are sure to find some of these dishes on the Swedish table:
  • Smörgåsbord - an open table offering many dishes
  • Köttbullar - meat balls
  • Inlagd sill - herring in brine
  • Gravad lax - dried and salted salmon
  • Kräftor - freshwater crustaceans
  • Kåldolmar - cabbage rolls
  • Pannkakor - thin pancakes, like crêpes
  • Ärtsoppa - pea soup
  • Kroppkakor - potato dumplings filled with pork
  • Blodpudding - black pudding
  • Falukorv - Falun sausages
  • Janssons frestelse - a dish of potatoes, garlic, anchovies and cream
  • Knäckebröd - traditional Swedish bread
  • Smörgåstårta - sandwich cake
  • Apple, blueberry and cranberry pies
  • Crêpes
  • Muffins
  • Müesli.
Or beverages:
  • milk - Sweden is the country with the world's highest milk consumption
  • Filmjölk - sour milk or yogurt
  • Kava - Sweden is one of the greatest coffee consumers, right after Finland
  • Natural juices
  • Glögg - mulled wine
  • Champis and Pommac - non-alcoholic champagnes
  • Absolut Vodka

Traditional cuisine

Traditional Swedish cuisine is filled with culinary delicacies: from seafood, poultry, lamb, beef, veal, wild game, to excellent dairy products, mushrooms and berries: cranberries, blueberries and blackberries. The food in Sweden is the result of its agriculture, but also its natural diversity: forests, mountains, lakes and rivers. Traditional methods of food preparation are smoking, fermentation, salting, drying, marinating and poaching.
Once, the rich traditional Swedish cuisine was dependent on the seasons. Summer was always associated with tasty pleasures and sensuality, while the remaining seasons, due to the harsh climate, depended on preserved foods. Until just a few decades ago, fresh food was only available during the sunny and warm part of the year.
Spring and early summer were awaited with great delight, together with the perch, roosters, baked rolled herring fillets, fresh green asparagus and the first strawberries. The first potatoes cooked in spices were revered, as they arrived steaming at the table with a coating of butter. During the summer, meals were served on terraces, picnics were organised, and gatherings to celebrate food were frequent.

Off season traditional cuisine

During the summer and short maturation period, fruits and crops were harvested for consumption throughout the rest of the year, and the Swedes based their survival on the summer harvest. Cabbage and potatoes were kept in cellars for the winter, rye bread was prepared and dried so as to last longer, while fresh bread was a treat for only the highest classes of society.
The fruit available in the winter was more precious than the summer apples or pears, regardless of the taste, and the majority of fruit was used to make jam and stored for the winter. For the same reason, the consummation of fresh vegetables was considered to be wasteful.
Drinking fresh milk, and eating butter or eggs was considered to be an unimaginable pleasure. Milk was fermented or enriched with bacterial cultures and consumed as yogurt or other dairy products.
A full pantry was the pride of every homemaker, and a guarantee for a plentiful winter.

Modern cuisine

Sweden's new cuisine has evolved from its traditional roots and, in addition to the high quality ingredients and excellent taste, it has become famous for its creativity and innovativeness, design and play of colours on the table. Cranberries, root vegetables, herring, wild game and whole milk cheeses are used in completely new ways, and the senses are inspired by the endless forests, lakes and sea coast, and the everyday life.
Whatever you choose on the Swedish menu, if it contains traditional ingredients, it is sure to take you into an empire of culinary excellence. All that is left is to wish you Smaklig måltid or "enjoy the meal"!

Fast facts

  • The capital Stockholm is the world's cleanest city.
  • The Swede best known to children is Pipi Longstockings.
  • Greta Garbo was one of Sweden's greatest ever femme fatales.
  • Alfred Nobel is a Swede we have all heard of.
  • The Celsius temperature scale is of Swedish "origin".
  • ABBA and disco mania came to us from Sweden.
  • Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film director of world acclaim.
  • Absolute Vodka is a must on the list.
  • Volvo and SAAB are absolutely cool cars.
  • IKEA, need we say more?

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