NORTH Festival: Sweden: beyond meatballs and furniture

{sponsored post} NORTH festival: Sweden : Beyond meatballs and furniture

A few weeks ago I was given to opportunity to write an article promoting an upcoming Nordic Food festival. I was to be supplied with a box with a few selections from a country assigned to me.

Lucky me.

I got Sweden.

Like most Americans, the closest I have ever been to Sweden is visiting an IKEA. And, after my first IKEA visit… I was hooked and fell in love with everything about the country, it’s people, traditions, and most of all, the food. Like most Americans,  I also used to foolishly associate meatballs & gummy fish with Sweden. I suppose it’s the same way other countries… we’re known for Coca Cola and “the other” football, right?

However, I quickly realized that my passion for Sweden went beyond meatballs and furniture.

They have food traditions that happen weekly. Weekly! No more wondering what to make on Thursday nights!

(ärtsoppa och pannkakor) – pea soup and pancake night

….Because it’s pea soup and pancake night.  (ärtsoppa och pannkakor) This is a tradition that started way back during World War II

Another food tradition that they practice is “Saturday Candy”

Lördagsgodis (Saturday Candy)~  candy consumption to one day a week.

(Moms & Dads~ think how easy it would be to say no to candy if the whole country ate it just once a week?!) This particular tradition dates back to the late 1950’s when the medical community realized that there was a correlation between candy and tooth decay.(Now, if only we could realize that about all the stuff that’s bad for us out there?!) Of course, it’s just a suggestion by the country’s medical board, however most of the population practices it.

Speaking of sweets, my absolute favorite Swedish treat is the Princess Cake, or Torte (prinsesstårta) I have been known to bring a box of these confectionery delights home after visits to IKEA. They don’t look as pretty once they defrost, but… they still taste just as good.

DSC_0419

{Sweden.Se   explains the origins of the Princess Torte best:}

Prinsesstårta — a royal indulgence

Coloring the window displays of bakeries throughout Sweden is the all-time favorite neon-green princess cake (prinsesstårta), topped with a bright pink sugar rose. Comprising layers of yellow sponge lined with jam and vanilla custard, and then finished off with a heavy topping of whipped cream, the cake is carefully sealed within a thin layer of sugary sweet green marzipan.  A relatively recent addition to Sweden’s culinary history, prinsesstårta debuted in the 1920s courtesy of Jenny Åkerström, teacher to King Gustav V’s brother Prince Carl Bernadotte’s daughters — Princesses Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid — who loved it so much, they inspired its name. While the third week of September is officially prinsesstårta week, this popular cake is now eaten during special festivals and is used to mark many milestones in people’s lives. Today, it comes in a variety of colors — from the classic neon green to yellow for Easter, red at Christmas, orange for Halloween, pink and blue for baptism parties, and white for weddings.   Source: Sweden.Se (http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Food-drink/Reading/10-things-to-know-about-Swedens-food-culture/)

Needless to say, I’m inspired to create my own homemade version of this confection, sans the neon dye.

Another food delicacy that originates from Nordic cuisine, is Gravad lax- which I actually began making years before I discovered my love for all things Swedish.

Gravad lax, is a salt and dill cured salmon that is thinly sliced and served on top of crispbreads, (Knäckebröd)

I have a recipe for my homemade here: Homemade Cured Salmon

Finally, you may be curios what was in my box I received… pickled herring? Lingonberry Jam? A Princess Cake?

None of the above. I got a party in my box.

I received a small bottle of Mackmyra Whiskey and a pint of Rekorderlig berry cider. I was debating to use some in a Swedish inspired dish, or to just have a party.

I decided to have a Swedish food themed party and make homemade Princess cake for dessert. The menu will consist of:

Appetizers:

Shrimp in creamy dill sauce on Knäckebröd

Homemade Gravad lax with mustard sauce on Knäckebröd

Swedish Meatballs with buttered noodles and  Lingonberry sauce

dessert:

prinsesstårta

Of course, these aren’t the only food customs in Sweden, there is pickled herring in assorted flavors, delicious open faced sandwiches.. and cinnamon buns. Yes, cinnamon buns are so popular in Sweden that they have their own day! (October 4th.) Which is a Friday this year. And, Fridays are perfect days to make cinnamon buns, because that way you’ll have leftovers for lazy Saturday mornings.

I hope I inspired you to reach out and try new things beyond the meatballs that the great country of Sweden has to offer.

If you happen to live near New York, be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming NORTH Festival, Oct 2-7, 2013

 

Learn more about Nordic cuisine at the NORTH Festival 2013 in New York City. This post is a collaboration between the blogger and NORTH Festival 2013.

 
NORTH Festival

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