A very Swedish foodie affair – part one the fish

There has been a bit of a hype about Scandinavian foods the past couple of years. Mostly done with a twist adding influences from various cuisines. We hosted a large party last weekend in Sweden and for this I wanted very Swedish foods. No twist, no influence from other cuisines (no matter how much I love them). We rented a beautiful venue, The Royal Bachelors’ Club in Gothenburg. It is a beautiful house that used to be the home of the late owner of the Swedish shipping line, Broströms Rederi. Today it is a thriving and active gentlemen’s club. We rented the top floor and the first thing we did was to sit down to discuss the menu, very important! They were absolutely brilliant, they completely understood and delivered simply wonderful food!


When that was all sorted I turned to another important factor when it comes to parties, shopping. A great excuse to ease the pain of “what am I going to wear?” This time I actually learnt a new word, facinator! I called it a little hat and one of my friends promptly corrected me and taught me a new word! It was beautiful and I could not resist it in the shop. It was a bit of a splurge but I almost felt that it was made for me and it made me feel a little glamorous!


All the guests were invited and the party about to start. We all had a drink in our hand and the food began to arrive. I have to do this in two blogs as it will still be a bit of a long blog so I am starting with the fish. A friend of mine asked beforehand about the menu and even if we had discussed the menu in detail, the only thing I remembered was the pickled herring! Needless to say there was a lot more but this blog is about the fish part of the meal.

If you ever go to Sweden, either at Christmas or at any time and have a Smörgåsbord, the likelyhood is that you will come across most of the foods that we had for our party!

No Swedish buffet is complete without pickle herring. There are different kinds but here are some very classic recipes;

Onion Pickle herring P-OnionHerringv

Mustard pickle herring P-MustardHerring

Matjes pickling, this is quite special, the herring is more salty and it is eaten with finely chopped red onion and a Swedish equivalent to sour cream, gräddfil. it is more common to eat this at midsummer but it is so delicious.


The Swedes I think are as fond of potatoes as the Irish are and pickle herring is eaten with boiled potatoes.


For those who wish, pickle herring goes very well with a schnapps. We had the Royal Batchelors’ clubs own. When there is no access to special schnapps, Akvavit is a common brand. My favorite is Hallands Fläder, a schnapps flavored with elderflower. Schnapps has to be served chilled, from the freezer if possible and you should sing a song before you drink.

Here is a traditional Swedish Schnapps song – Helan går (click here for an English version but am not sure it makes more sense in English)

Helan går
Sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej
Helan går
Sjung hopp faderallan lej
Och den som inte helan tar*
Han heller inte halvan får
Helan går
Sjung hopp faderallan lej

The longer the evening goes, the shorter the schnapps songs usually gets!


There was cold smoked salmon


Cured salmon P-GravLax

A lovely caviar sauce P-FishRoeSauce

To go with the fish pate P-FishPate

We also had some lovely, sharp and tangy Västerbottens ost cut in triangles, delicious to nibble on.


It was a great start to our party and after all this fish we took aim at the meat in the blog to follow!

2 Responses to “A very Swedish foodie affair – part one the fish”
  1. It took a little bit of time to get used to the pickled herrings but now I’m a big fun. Simple, healthy flavour even better with a good shot of aquavit!

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