Sweden is a hive of activity at this time of year, with preparations being put in place for Christmas celebrations and Christmas concerts galore. However, by mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve, everything is ready and the whole country puts its feet up in front of the TV to enjoy the annual tradition of watching Disney movies!
As with most cultures, food plays a very important part in the festivities. The traditional Swedish Christmas dinner consists of a Julbord, a table full of delicious treats.
Typically eaten in three courses, the dinner normally starts with fish, then continues with cold meats and cheeses, before coming to the warm dishes. In West Sweden, typical Julbord dishes include salted mackerel, game, ‘Jansson’s Temptation’ (potato, onion and anchovy bake), saffron buns, meatballs and lots of cheese including a cheese-based dessert called ‘äggost’.
Most Julbords will also contain a delicious, creamy, cinnamon-spiced rice porridge. Superstition has it that whoever finds the whole almond in their porridge will marry within a year.
A bowl of the Christmas porridge is left out at night for the Swedish version of Father Christmas, known as the ‘tomte’, in the hope that he might bring the family presents. This mythical Christmas elf lives beneath the floorboards and takes care of the home whilst everyone is sleeping. According to folklore, if the tomte doesn’t get his porridge, he’ll leave the house and engage in mischief!
To try out some tasty Swedish Christmas recipes, visit www.vastsverige.com/en/Christmas-in-West-Sweden/Articles/English-articles/Chrismas-food/
We wish you a very happy Christmas and hope the tomte behaves himself!