We Love Cooking! + sweden

:: Swedish Christmas Recap!

As I mentioned over on twitter the Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December and Santa Claus personally delivers all the presents in person which was a very strange experience altogether! When I was living in Sweden a few years ago I worked briefly as a chef at a Christmas buffet which is more commonly known over here as a Julbord, so I have my fair share of knowledge when it comes to traditional Swedish Christmas food. However having never actually experienced a Swedish Christmas I was totally unprepared for the non food traditions!

When we arrived at Sofie's grandparents house on the big day, we got straight to work on a red cabbage carrot salad we had promised to make, to add to the table. There was 14 people for dinner so the kitchen was already a hive of activity by the time we arrived. Halfway through preparing the salad, we were whisked into the sitting room to sit and watch "Kalle Anka" which is a collection of Disney cartoons, shown at the same time every year! I was informed that across the country every other family would be doing exactly the same thing! So we all sat and watched Donald Duck wish us a happy Christmas and waited anxiously for dinner to be served and for a visit from Santa!

After the cartoons ended, we all headed towards the kitchen where the whole table had been set out with a huge spread of delicious Christmas food. The Christmas ham which had been boiled and baked with a mustard topping, boiled eggs with caviar, good old Swedish meatballs, Brussel sprouts, beetroot salad, boiled potatoes, and a selection of Swedish cheeses with Knackebrod all made an appearance on the huge table of food! One of the dishes which is a little strange for foreign visitors is Jansson, which is like a shredded version of potato gratin with anchovies, it's really delicious! Unlike Christmas dinner at home, we all served ourselves buffet style, and then sat down to eat.

When everyone had helped themselves to seconds and were finally finished them, we all sat back on the sofa and waited for the big fella to arrive! Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!) was excited, as Sofie's youngest cousins who were stuck to window, managed to peel themselves off the glass in time to shout to the rest of us, that Santa was here! He clumped into the room and sat down, Sofie's grandad served him a big glass of schnapps and he got straight down to business giving out the presents! Sofie told me that this was the first year he had ever spoken English so he must have known I was there! :) His English was so good that he even managed to sing a verse of "We wish you a merry Christmas" every time he gave out a present. The only problem was that when he gave out a present you had to go up to him and sit on his knee, where he bounced you up and down while singing the song! Even the grandparents weren't left out!

After Santa left, we all sat around the sitting room and everyone opened their presents one by one, another Swedish Christmas tradition! While this is a lovely thought, in theory, and everyone gets to see each others gifts, it took us two hours to get through everyone's presents! I suppose it's much more pleasant than the Irish tradition of everyone ripping into their presents as quick as possible!

When the presents were all opened and thoroughly appreciated we were served the final meal of the day, Ris A La Malta, which is like a rice pudding with cream and vanilla sugar served with orange segments. I have a particular fondness for this dessert as it was always my job to make it at the Julbord! Overall my first Christmas away from home was great fun and it was brilliant to experience something new but I have to say it was really strange to celebrate the big day before the big day!

christmas, dessert, dinner, Food, rice, and more:

:: Swedish Christmas Recap! + sweden