Sweden is a northern country with a harsh climate, which determined the development of local culinary traditions. In such conditions, the inhabitants were not up to frills, the food had to be nourishing and nutritious, so that people could normally exist in this northern kingdom. Swedish cuisine is distinguished by the simplicity of preparation and naturalness of dishes.
Specifics of the cuisine of the Swedes
Sweden stretched from north to south for more than 1500 km. This determined the differences in the culinary preferences of residents of different parts of the state.
Northern Swedes prefer dishes from venison and forest game, which are included in their menu thanks to the cuisine of the Sami – the indigenous inhabitants of the country. In the south, the main products are vegetables, fruits and poultry.
Distinctive features and national characteristics
Traditional Swedish cuisine is characterized by the absence of exquisite dishes with complex preparation. For a long time, the population of the kingdom was predominantly rural, which was content with little and preferred simple and natural food.
In these dishes there is a minimum of spices, only salt, pepper and sugar. Food is prepared from the meat of forest game, pork, poultry and sea and river fish. In order for the food to be high-calorie, butter, bacon and cream are often added to it.
Such dishes can not be called dietary, but they are necessary for people living in the northern latitudes. Therefore, there are practically no vegetarians among the Swedes.
Sweden has a fairly high standard of living. Much attention is paid to the health of citizens, so food is prepared only from high-quality and environmentally friendly products.
The Swedish menu is diverse. This country loves meat and fish, which are eaten along with vegetables, fruits and berries. Most of these gifts of nature are mined and produced on the territory of the Scandinavian state.
In the diet of the Swedes there are many dishes with a high content of fat and sugar. But in a country with a harsh northern climate, this is a prerequisite for maintaining normal life.
Such food does not have a harmful effect on the health of citizens. According to statistics, the life expectancy of Swedes is on average in the range of 78-80 years, and only 11% of the population is overweight. This nation is recognized as one of the most slender among Europeans.
Development of Swedish cuisine
Culinary traditions in Sweden have been formed over time. The harsh climate, labor-intensive development of the country’s territory left their mark on the development of national cuisine.
It was based on ingredients with a long shelf life. Of the seasonings, only salt and sugar were used. Dishes were prepared from fatty varieties of fish and meat.
They were mostly stewed and fried. Served with vegetables, for example, with carrots, cabbage, rutabagas, turnips, which in the XVIII century was replaced by potatoes.
The development of national gastronomy was affected by the proximity of Denmark and Norway. The development of Sweden’s relations with these states expanded the culinary traditions of the kingdom. Thanks to France and Germany, the Swedes began to pay more attention to the aesthetic design of their dishes.
The main methods of preparation
The Swedes prepare their national dishes from products that have already undergone some processing.
The main culinary technologies are traditionally:
All dishes are prepared with pork fat and butter. As a seasoning for them, the Swedes use lingonberries. Sauces and jams are made from it. They are served with meat, fish, and as a dessert.
This Scandinavian country gave the world food culture not only interesting dishes, but also a way to organize a feast. After all, the concept of “buffet” is familiar to every tourist. This ancient tradition has developed thanks to the main methods of food storage in Sweden.
Its inhabitants in large quantities stored smoked, salted meat and fish, pickled berries and mushrooms. From them it was possible to quickly prepare many delicious dishes, which were exhibited on long tables in large bowls.
Meat, fish, bread and pies were served whole. Each guest, approaching the table, cut off a piece of his own and filled his plate with the dishes he liked so that he could eat everything without a residue.
These numerous dishes were accompanied by alcoholic beverages. It was customary to raise the first glass after a toast made by the owner of the house.
National Swedish dishes
The simple but diverse cuisine of the Scandinavian kingdom constantly attracts travelers who choose culinary tours to explore Sweden. Many people are attracted by the lack of an abundance of spices and the preparation of dishes according to ancient recipes that have survived from the time of the Vikings.
Among the rich fish kingdom of Sweden, herring can be recognized as a queen. It is prepared in different ways: smoked, pickled, salted, fried… No less love among the Swedes are crayfish.
For their sake, they even arrange parties – cozy gatherings in good company, which are held in August. Crayfish caught in local rivers are boiled with dill in large pots. They eat them with beer or schnapps.
Very popular are shrimp cocktails, which are served as snacks. And on weekends, Swedes love family dinners with baked pike and mackerel.
Sweden is a country of hunters and pastoralists. The abundance of living creatures in the local forests helped the inhabitants to survive in harsh conditions. Meat dishes here have always been hearty and high-calorie. The Swedes give special preference to delicacies of venison and elk meat. From the meat of these animals, main dishes and snacks are prepared.
Sweden has a large selection of different sausages. They are served smoked, fried, boiled with vegetable side dishes and traditional lingonberry sauce.
Among the first dishes of the national cuisine of Sweden, beer soup stands out. The intoxicating drink is used as a broth, to which milk, flour, sugar and eggs are added. Initially, this dish was prepared for sailors so that they could quickly warm up in cold weather.
Children have a special love for soup with small meatballs. Pea soup with pancakes and diet cream soup from oysters with oatmeal and liquor are also popular.
With them begins any feast in Sweden. In ancient times, generous hosts treated guests to numerous slices of smoked and salted meat and fish snacks. With the development of food culture, sandwiches and canapés appeared in Swedish cuisine. They are served on toasts of local bread.
In Sweden, the passion for baking sometimes shocks tourists. Here, sugar is included in almost all recipes. While traveling through the harsh northern country, you can forget about all diets.
It is impossible to resist dishes with pastries. They are filled with cinnamon buns, rhubarb pies, gingerbread and other delicious sweets.
Especially popular waffles with confiture. This dessert has its own holiday, which the Swedes celebrate on March 25.
The list of national delicacies of the kingdom also includes spettekaka – literally translated as “cake on a spit” (the name appeared because of the method of its preparation).
The recipe for the delicacy includes a lot of eggs, sugar and potato flour. During the cooking process, the cake dries up and becomes crispy. It tastes like cotton candy.
The most common drink in Sweden is coffee. The Kingdom is the champion in its use. Local varieties of coffee are not strong enough, the Swedes always drink a drink with almonds and marzipan.
Such coffee breaks are not complete without some local sweetness. During friendly gatherings, the Swedes like to drink a cup of coffee punch with cognac.
An indispensable attribute of the buffet is alcoholic beverages. On cold winter evenings, the locals warm up with gleggo – mulled wine with vodka and aromatic spices.
Sweden also produces the world-famous Absolut vodka. This alcohol brand is more than 140 years old. The drink is prepared only from natural ingredients, and the production itself is located in the Ahuse region, which is considered the purest in Sweden.
No Christmas table in the kingdom is complete without schnapps. The drink is based on vodka, which is infused with spices and herbs.
Another famous drink of Sweden is called yulmustom. For many, it resembles soda, but its original recipe is kept secret. It was only possible to determine that it contains malt, star anise, cloves and cardamom.
Traditional swedish dishes
Like any cuisine in the world, Swedish too has a list of dishes that can only be tasted in this northern country.
So in Sweden is called sauerkraut herring. This national dish has such a specific smell and taste that it is included in the list of the most unpleasant dishes of world cuisine.
Surströmming appeared in the XVI century, when due to hostilities the reserves of salt, an expensive spice at that time, were depleted. Therefore, when salting herring, I had to save on it.
The canning technology was disrupted and the fish began to ferment. But in a hungry time there was no need to choose, and they decided not to throw away such a herring and tried it.
To the surprise of the Swedes, many people liked the fermented fish with a sour taste. Since then, this dish has become popular in the north of Sweden. The advent of surstromming rescued the Scandinavian poor, who lacked fresh food and salt.
In addition to the specific taste, this fish has a pungent smell. The Swedes “mask” it with onions, greens, fragrant bread. Sauerkraut with boiled potatoes and tomatoes is served. Sandwiches are also prepared from surstromming.
This dish reminds many people of dumplings, but in their homeland the Swedes call potato dumplings with filling. The latter is made from fried onions, ham and bacon.
Dumpling dough is made from mashed potatoes, egg yolks and flour. From the resulting mass, small balls with appetizing filling are formed, which are boiled in salted boiling water.
Serve kropkakor with chopped greens, butter or lingonberry jam.
This homemade dish does not have a strict recipe and appeared thanks to economical Swedish housewives. They collected the remains of the food for a week and cooked a stew from them.
This dish included various vegetables, meat, bacon, meatballs. The proportions of the ingredients depended on the remaining products and could change each time.
Now pittipanna is made from fresh vegetables and meat. The dish is decorated with fried eggs and pickles.
This dish is also in Russian cuisine, but the Swedish version is distinguished by the originality of the recipe.
Pea soup in this country has long been served on Thursdays. A hearty and high-calorie dish is prepared from peas, carrots, onions and pork. A special piquancy is given to it by spices: marjoram, cloves, cumin and mustard. According to local tradition, the vegetables in the soup are boiled whole and served separately in a bowl along with the meat.
This Swedish dish is served as a cold snack. It is prepared from salmon fish. For gravelaks, river and sea trout, salmon, whitefish are used.
Fish fillets are marinated in a mixture of salt, sugar, dill and pepper. Sometimes a little gin or cognac is added. Within 3-4 days, the fish undergoes fermentation and acquires a special taste.
Ready-made gravelachs, cut into thin slices, served on rye bread with dill-mustard sauce and boiled potatoes.
“The Temptation of Janson”
According to legend, the dish appeared thanks to the opera singer and lover and delicious food Pele Janson.
It is a casserole that is prepared from the following ingredients:
- pickled anchovies;
All products are laid in layers in a mold and baked in the oven. “The Temptation of Janson” can be vegetarian. Also, instead of anchovies, casserole is sometimes made with ground beef.
It is Sweden’s most common street dish. This is the name of spicy pork sausages. They are prepared from minced meat with the addition of potatoes.
The sausages are slightly smoked and fried. Swedes prefer to eat appetizing sausages with a ruddy crust with a side dish of boiled potatoes, which is served with cream sauce and pickles.
In the street cafes of Sweden, sandwiches are made from the easterbanda, which are popular with tourists.
Since the potato reached the shores of Sweden, this vegetable has become one of the most popular and is part of many national dishes.
Scandinavians love to make pancakes from potatoes. They can be thin, made from flour and raw potatoes, with a filling, in the form of thick pancakes.
Any pancakes are first slightly fried in a frying pan, and then brought to readiness in the oven. Serve the dish necessarily with slices of crispy bacon and lingonberry sauce.
The whole world learned about them from a cheerful friend of the children Carlson, who often liked to eat these meat balls. They are made from juicy minced meat with onions, to which cream is added.
From this mixture make small, the size of a walnut, balls. First, they are boiled, then fried and finally baked in the oven. Perhaps this is their delicious taste… Meatballs are served with boiled potatoes, drizzled with cream and lingonberry sauce.
Not everyone has the opportunity to visit the homeland of the Vikings, Carlson, the ABBA group. But you can please yourself with Swedish cuisine and cook some national dishes.
It is better not to try to make pickled smelly herring yourself, instead pay attention to more traditional recipes.
Meat hedgehogs in Swedish
To prepare them, you will need 1 kg of minced pork and beef. In it you need to add 1 tbsp. washed, but raw rice, a large onion and 1 egg. Salt, pepper and other spices are put to taste.
Mix all the ingredients, make balls from the finished minced meat with wet hands and lay out in one layer in a deep baking dish.
Now we need to prepare the sauce. In butter, salvage the chopped onion and carrots for 5-7 minutes. To them add 5 tbsp. l tomato paste, the same amount of flour and stew for 15 minutes, gradually pouring 5 tbsp. l chicken broth. Remove the sauce from the heat, pour the meat balls.
Cover the pan with hedgehogs with foil and put it in a hot oven for 40 minutes. For garnish, you can serve mashed potatoes with finely chopped dill.
This is a variation of the popular Swedish casserole “The Temptation of Janson”.
For this dish you will need:
- 1 kg of potatoes;
- 50 g butter;
- 2 large bulbs;
- 300 ml of milk and heavy cream;
- 200 g sprats;
- 2 tbsp. l breadcrumbs;
- salt, pepper – to taste.
Cut the peeled potatoes into thin bars, spread on a baking sheet, grease with oil and send to a hot oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in butter, fry the chopped onions until soft.
Add the potatoes from the oven, stir and remove from the heat. Distribute half of this mixture evenly in the baking dish. Put sprats on potatoes and onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour a mixture of milk and cream (half the volume).
Put the rest of the vegetables on top, salt, pepper, pour out the milk-cream mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake the dish for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are ready.