Just a sneaky peak at some of the food I’ve been tucking into in Sweden this week! (And a little bit of Swedish culture too!)
First up, Julskinka – or known in English as Christmas ham. This is a cured ham, cooked in the oven, then removed and coated in a glaze of mustard, egg and breadcrumbs – and mustard seeds and cloves for the more adventurous – then returned to the oven to set the glaze.
The Christmas ham might then be eaten with a Christmas mustard. Believe it or not, this unassuming pot of Liss Ellas Christmas mustard is one of the most delicious mustards I have had the fortune to sample. It’s a honey-mustard but gets the balance between spiciness and sweetness absolutely spot on. Apparently their mustards are champions at the Worldwide Mustard Competition and I don’t doubt it. Unfortunately, I think their mustards are only available in Sweden and Norway but it’s worth checking out their website.
Christmas bread. This is a mildly sweet bread with raisins, flavoured with wort and spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s light and tasty, although it disappoints in that it makes me crave a good English teacake, yet it is definitely not an English teacake.
This is just a really tasty apple juice from the Swedish version of Co-op. Very appley, full flavour and sweet. As good apple juice is hard to beat at a breakfast drink, I decided this had to feature. A little gnome is added to the picture for effect.
Kanelbulle, or cinnamon buns, are one of the classic foodstuffs of Sweden for those who have managed to get explore beyond the meatballs. These can be a little dry so prefer ones that are glazed or with icing, but this is not very Swedish. Still, who can turn down cinnamon? I think I’m obsessed with it and so are the Swedes. October 4 is “kanelbullens dag” (Cinnamon bun day). I also sampled pistachio buns, which are very popular in Sweden.
Yes, butter knives are wooden in Sweden. These are made from the wood of juniper trees due to its durability and pleasant fragrance.
The Swedes have a lot of forest – 67% of the land area is forested – so it’s understandable that lots of things are made out of wood. Like most of their houses. Also, if you ever visit the Dalarna region, you’ll notice a curious amount of wooden horses. These are known in English as Dalecarlian started as toys woodsmen crafter for their children, but later became implicated in trade, before cementing as a symbol of the region, and later for Sweden as a whole.
Dalarna is very traditional region, and even young people will put on traditional costume for special occasions, such as midsummer, weddings and baptisms. Culture is popularised through arts and crafts. Visitors might spot small models of mörksugga (which translates as “dark sow”) – a version of a Swedish folklore character.
Not so traditional but extremely bizarre, I stumbles upon a “Sex education machine” in the Dalarna museum in Falun. It’s the one in the background displaying a beautiful euphemism – a bee is pollinating the flower. I’m not sure what the one with the toilet seat and chomping teeth is about.