Monday, December 13, 2010

Ja, Sure, YaBetcha! Swedish Julbord!

The perfect Julbord: One without Lutefisk.

Like Cat Stevens, my family traditions are an interesting mix of Greek and Swedish, without any of that pesky political controversy. Despite my Grecian genes, every year we host a Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord, or Julbord - pronounced 'YULE-board'- and meaning Christmas-Table in Swedish. Fifty or Sixty of our closest friends cram themselves into our tiny house to enjoy hot mulled wine (Glogg) and the best Scandinavian fare this side of Minnesota. It's loud, hot and happy; I look forward to it all year.

The Julbord is a tradition and an art in Sweden, with many of the finest restaurants vying for business during the holidays. Stockholm especially is seeing a wave of some amazingly creative Julbords as a new generation of worldly, well-traveled Swedes demand more flavor and color than their grandparents' all-white cuisine (or cuisine blanc, as I like to say). Myself, I think that Swedish cuisine is incredibly underappreciated in the States and there are some astonishingly delicious things to be had from the every-day fare that you get in Scandinavia.

Traditionally, this buffet includes the kinds of food you'd expect to find in a Nordic country: preserved fish, smoked meats and cheeses, dairy products. Think 'no refrigeration' and get ready for pickled fish! Having lived for some time in Scandinavia, I try to keep it as authentic as possible but also include some of my favorite tasty bits from Swedish cuisine in general, not just Christmas favorites.

The bulk of my shopping was done at the Last-Scandinavian-Shop-in-Ballard, Scan Specialties and of all places, Ikea. Ikea is GREAT for Swedish stand-bys and this year was the first year I've ever seen Swedish families in our suburban-hell Ikea; they were all shopping in the Deli! Admittedly, they had a better deli selection this year than I've ever seen - possibly because all of the Scandinavian shops around here have closed over the past year or so, driving our local Swedish population to Ikea like so many Scandia Cattle in search of Lutefisk.

Three of us cook and decorate for 2 days getting this party ready each year and it's worth every minute. The tiny white signs you see in the photo are labels for each dish. I'll try to get as many of recipes as possible posted, so please feel free to leave a comment if you're looking for something specific that's not here.

Julbord Menu 2010

First Course: Fish

Pickled Herring 10 Ways:
Traditional, Sour Cream, Mustard, Aquavit, Garlic Cream
Blackcurrant, Caviar Cream, Tomato, Dill, Lemon

Gravlax with Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce

Herring Roe Caviar

Shrimp Cheese Spread

Crab Pate

Smoked Eel Spread

Black Capelin Caviar

Lumpfish Caviar

Second Course: Cold Cuts and Salads

Tiny Liver Sandwiches with Pickles

Red Cabbage with Apples

Swedish Ham

Roast Beef

Cucumber Vinaigrette Salad

Meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce

Sour Cream Potato Salad

Assorted Cheeses

Crispbread, Rye Bread and Pumpernickel with Butter

Third Course: Hot Dishes

Jansson's Temptation

Pork and Potato Sausage with Nutmeg

Fourth Course: Desserts and Sweets

Sweet Cardamom Bread

Rice Pudding

Assorted Cookies



Assorted Candies


Hot Mulled Wine

Aquavit Shots

Swedish Christmas Cola

Nonalcoholic Hot Spiced Cider

Beer, Wine, Soda, Water, etc...

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow, that looks awesome. I wish we'd been able to make it this year. Nom nom nom...