Swedish food has a long tradition marked by its simplicity. As Sweden has become an international country the Swedish kitchen influences many other cultures and cuisines - even the French!
Thanks to the popular Swedish retailer IKEA with stores operating in many countries, most people today are familiar with the Swedish meatballs typically served with a brown sauce, potatoes, and lingonberries. Most have also tried our Swedish style pancakes. But there are other dishes that deserve attention on the world scene. It should also be mentioned that there is a great difference in the food depending on the region you are visiting. For example, in northern Sweden you will find moose and deer often on the menu, but in the rest of Sweden these meats would be a luxury item.
Of course in the capital city of Stockholm you can find food from all over the world. But to discover and taste the real deal when it comes to Swedish cooking, I recommend that you leave the bigger cities and travel to smaller villages to find an old country house. These can be found all over Sweden, and many of them offer a "dish of the day." Then you will really get to sample authentic Swedish cuisine.
Here is a typical breakfast food. Also there can be no true smörgåsbord or holiday table without the pickled herring.
You can pickle the fish at home yourself or you can find jars of the stuff in many flavors at every grocery store in Sweden. The most famous brand is called "ABBA" - and no it's not related to the music group that conquered the world during the 1970's and 80's.
My personal favorite is the one with mustard sauce, it's so delicious!
This is one of my favorite Swedish dishes. It's usually served as a starter like an appetizer. It's basically a small open-faced shrimp sandwich on buttered toasted bread. Mix together cooked shrimp, crab, mayonnaise and dill to form a shrimp salad and scoop a small portion on top of each toast piece. If you want the gourmet touch add a small amount of Kalix Löjrom (fish roe) to the top.
Most people have heard of the famous Scandinavian dish of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. Gravlax is usually served as an appetizer, it is thinly sliced and accompanied by hovmästarsås (a tangy mustard-dill sauce).
Who doesn't love a freshly baked cinnamon bun? Share a fika (coffee break) with a fellow Swede, and you can expect to be served a kanelbulle.
Lussebullar - Lucia Buns
Another classic Swedish bun. This one is baked during Christmas time and when we celebrate Lucia the 13th of December. They are also nicknamed lussekatt.
Here is a traditional soup made of yellow peas, onion and spices. It's usually served with pork on the side. It may not be the most common dish, but it's a true classic. We even have a saying from an old commercial song that Thursdays are dedicated for eating Ärtsoppa.
Chanterelle mushrooms are quite popular. In the fall season and after a good rain there are plenty of them growing wild in the Swedish forests for you to forage. They make a nice golden-colored sauce for wild meat. We also eat them simply sauteed with salt and pepper.
Sandwiches are a huge deal in Sweden, and most people eat sandwiches for breakfast. So here is a cake where you simply put sandwich toppings on the cake.
If I were to translate falukorv into English, it would be something like a lightly-smoked bologna sausage. It's a simple dish served with mashed potatoes, often with some ketchup and mustard on top. Alternatively it can be served with cooked macaroni pasta.
Here is another simple yet traditional dish in Sweden. These are small veal "burgers" served with peas, lingonberries, whipped cream and potato puree.
Take grated potato with a mixture of flour and milk and fry it like a pancake. Mmmmm! Raggmunk is usually served along with - you guessed it - pork and lingonberries.
Celebrating your birthday while in Sweden? Then you should definitely order a princess cake. Even if if not your birthday, try a slice anyway. They are available at almost every café. It's a delicious cake with a layer of marzipan on top.
So there you go - some very typical foods from Sweden.
Tell me, what other Swedish dishes do you enjoy?
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