An event to look forward to during winter is julbord, literally meaning jul = Yule, or Christmas, and bord = table. It consists of a variety of foods, from cold servings, to hot servings, and usually dessert to finish off too (and don’t forget the coffee!). Not only does one get to partake in julbord on Christmas day (if you are having a traditional Swedish Christmas meal at least), but most people will have a julbord with their work mates and/or friends too. I had julbord with friends and another julbord with colleagues this year.
My friends and I went to a place called Fjäderholmarna. This is an island just outside of Stockholm (map here), perhaps taking just 20 minutes by boat (getting there). So it really is just at the start of the archipelago. You just start to feel like you are going somewhere on the boat, and then you arrive. You can go there in summer too and eat outdoors, it makes a lovely afternoon out.
Fjäderholmarna is a little island, and it was covered in snow and somewhere between -10 and -20 degrees C when we arrived (brrr!). When you get off the boat there are little shops, but most were shut because it was winter. We walked a few minutes to get to the restaurant, passing beautiful views the whole way.
We got seated in the upstairs part of the restaurant, where we had fabulous views out over the water. It was such a cold, still day, it was really amazing.
Our first course consisted of different breads, cheese and butter, along with cold dishes of herring pickled in different sauces (most people love these, I am not one of them, but I am the distinct minority in this), salmon and white fish. I largely skipped over this, and went straight to the “second” course, consisting of cured meats, including reindeer, deer and moose, and if I recall correctly, even wild pig and bear. You also find amongst these courses potatoes, boiled eggs, gherkins, knäckebröd (hard breads) and a variety of other little treats. I have to admit some of the meats reminded me a bit of tinned cat food… but if this is what the cat gets to eat, I’m in!
And on to the course of warm foods. Now I didn’t take any pictures of this one, but there were meatballs (of course!), small fried sausages, some sort of mushrooms, and Jansson’s Delight. This last one is a dish made of potatoes finely cut into matchsticks, and layered with anchovies, onions and cream. Based on those ingredients, I would have predicted that I wouldn’t like this dish, however I was happily surprised. While I wasn’t so excited by the taste of anchovies if I got a good bit in a mouthfull, generally they were well spread out and you couldn’t tell you were eating them. For a list of traditional Swedish recipes, including Jansson’s Delight, click here (scroll down for the Jansson’s Delight). I know I am forgetting a lot of the dishes we were served in this course, but it was more than 6 months ago.
And of course one has to leave room for dessert! In this case, dessert consisted of a drinking glass filled with a hard chocolate on the bottom and a softer, pale chocolate mousse stuff on the top. Again, I wasn’t fast enough taking photos of this, and I only have pictures of empty glasses.
And in the biggest Swedish tradition of them all, we followed all of this with coffee! A meal is not complete here with coffee. Perhaps it is useful to ward off sleepiness attacks after such a large meal and encroaching darkness at 2:30 in the afternoon. Satisfied, full, content. Merry Christmas.