It is now the last day of the year and that means GIVEAWAY!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and on Facebook during the “Christmas in Sweden” month for a chance to get one of four giveaway books with Swedish recipes on December 31. I will pick 2 followers on Instagram and 2 on Facebook on January 1 (in the evening, due to time differences around the world) and send you one of the books. If you are wondering what “Christmas in Sweden” is all about check out my previous posts here.🎁🎉🎊
So here is what you have to do:
Simple as that! Then on the evening of January 1 (Swedish time), I will contact you via PM if your comment gets picked and publish it here and on Instagram and Facebook. Make sure to check your inbox!
It is now finally Christmas Eve here in Sweden and we are celebrating all day long! Christmas has arrived in Sweden!
At exactly 3 PM, half of Sweden sits down in front of the television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special, “From All of Us to All of You.” Or as it is known in Sverige, “Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul” (Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas).
This program has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Christmas Eve since 1960. The show consists of Jiminy Cricket presenting about a dozen Disney cartoons from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, only a couple of which have anything to do with Christmas. There are “Silly Symphonies” shorts and clips from films like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Jungle Book. The special is pretty much the same every year, except for the live introduction by a host (who plays the role of Walt Disney from the original Walt Disney Presents series) and the annual addition of one new snippet from the latest Disney-produced movie.
When we finished watching Donald Duck the food is served.
Julbord, the “Christmas table”, it’s basically a smörgåsbord with typical Swedish food on it. The table is filled with different bread, cheeses, butter, potatoes, Christmas ham (the ham is first boiled and then glazed with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs and mustard), eggs, meat balls, pigs feet, salmon, herring, small hotdogs, roasted pork, warm potato casserole, matchstick potatoes layered with cream, onion and sprats called Janssons frestelse (“Jansson’s Temptation”), home-made liver paté, wort-flavoured rye bread (vörtbröd) and it just continues.
Lutfisk, lyed fish made with dried ling or cod, served with boiled potato, thick white sauce and green peas can be served with the warm dishes or as a separate course. Lutfisk is often served as dinner the second day after the traditional Christmas Yule-table dinner.
Julbord desserts include rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon powder. Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice pudding and whoever finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck. Lots of chocolates and other sweets is consumed in large quantities.
Beer and julmust ( a very sweet carbonated soda that could be described like something of a mix between Root Beer and Coca-Cola.) and the occasional snaps are common beverages to this Christmas meal. Mulled wine “glögg” is a very common drink and tastes very sweet, raisins and different nuts and saffron buns are served throughout December.
Once the food has been eaten it is time for gifts! Santa comes knocking on the door and ask if there are any good children in the house and if they ate all their vegetables. If they did (and of course they did!) he gives them presents. When the presents have been given we usually start to relax. The kids are playing with their new toys and the adults enjoy their coffee and sweets. For the rest of the evening it will be filled with joy, laughter, more food and relaxation.
How do you spend your Christmas
December 23 – The night before Christmas
It is the day before Christmas Eve here in Sweden and almost everything is done. Traditionally, families get together to decorate the tree on this day. The last food is being cooked and presents are being wrapped When the tree is finished and all is set for the big day tomorrow the family gathers in the living room in the evening and relax in front of the TV and watches “Uppesittarkväll” which is a Christmas wake that traditionally consists of a longer studio program with guests and various entertainment, possibly with a break for other programs. Usually featured in the program are live bands, Christmas related tips, viewing contests and a panel of invited guests who write Christmas presents rhymes at the viewers’ request. Often this is the first time the Christmas ham is being eaten, on a slice on bread with some mustard on it.
Now we just wait for tomorrow and relax. How do you spend the day before Christmas?
It’s often served cold and is the centerpiece of a Swedish Christmas table. We normally boil the ham and then finish it in the oven with a mustard and breadcrumb crust/glaze but these days most Swedes probably buy a ham that has already been boiled and then they simply glaze it at home.
Once the glaze is cooked the ham is moved to somewhere cold, usually outside, to cool as quickly as possible. The idea is that this will trap the juices in to ensure that the ham remains moist and tasty.
The ham is usually sliced thinly and served with a selection of mustard and bread.
How to make your own mustard glaze for a 6-8 pound ham:
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 tbs whole grain mustard
* ½ cup breadcrumbs
* 2 tbs honey
Whisk together an egg yolk with sugar, honey and mustard. Brush it on the Christmas ham all around. Sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs over the ham and pat it to the sides to attach it to the glaze.
Put in the middle of the oven (preheat it first) at 250°C/ 450°F for 5-10 minutes or until it has a nice lightly brownish color. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
That’s it! Eat cold, in thin slices. Will keep well in the fridge for quite a while, wrapped in foil.
We are getting closer and closer to Christmas Eve, only 3 more days!
Salmon on the Christmas table is a must for many. Classic dill-cured salmon, salmon paté and gravlax (that prepares by being chilled in a mixture of salt and sugar for a few days. Dill or herb spices can also be added for the sake of taste and appearance).
Lutfisk is a notorious Swedish Christmas dish and another remnant of the fasting tradition. It was common fare during the Christmas fast when meat was replaced by fish at a time when fresh fish was hard to come by.
The dried ling was alternately soaked in water and lye to make it edible again (although some people would say that doesn’t help). Slathering it with a white sauce, melted butter, and even ground mustard in the southern part of Sweden helps to make the gelatinous, reconstituted fish more palatable.
And of course we have the pickled herring.
To put the herring into a layer of salt, vinegar and spices is a way to conserve the fish, or curing. Most cured herring uses a two-step curing process. Initially, herring is cured with salt to extract water. The second stage involves removing the salt and adding flavorings, typically a vinegar, salt, sugar solution to which ingredients such as peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions are added. In recent years, other flavors have also been added, due to foreign influences. However, the tradition is still strong in Sweden and onion, sherry, mustard and dill are some of the traditional flavorings.
Ribs is also a classic Christmas food. No Swedish Christmas table is without it.
Here is how winter and Christmas it can look in northern Sweden.