Excessive, indulgent, delicious – Swedish Christmas dinner at Fjäderholmarnas Krog

I once read about an Englishman who traveled to Sweden in December. He was there over Christmas, I can’t remember why, but he was invited to a family’s home to share their Christmas dinner. His long lasting memory was the overwhelming generosity and abundance of foods. This is quite natural as Swedes go all out. We celebrate on December 24th and we of course do not cook as much as is described here. No proper meal out, especially with clients or on a company night out, is anything but a Christmas dinner. It is actually called a Christmas table. Perhaps more suitable due to the large number of dishes but then it should be called Christmas tables as any restaurant with dignity would only fill one table with foods, some do up to five or six.

Restaurants compete to have the best, the reviews from the restaurant critics is vital for the reputation, and of course, as is word of mouth. A great Christmas table dinner lives in your memory for a long time.  When having the Christmas dinner at home, usually you will find only the family’s favorites and this is usually plenty.

There is a method to getting through this ask any Swede and they will most likely have a “strategy” to start with, in order to be able to deal with this mass of foods. Saying that, despite my best efforts I almost ate myself in to a food coma when going for the Christmas table dinner with our company this year.

When I arrived to Stockholm it was one of those days that are just completely grey with cold winds but not a snowflake in sight and I think the following day was the shortest day of the year. It didn’t quite feel like Christmas but who cares, we all pitched in and created our own festive atmosphere.

19Dec_GreyStockholm

We started with pre, pre drinks in a hotel bar at Hotel Diplomat. I was on the g&t’s but I also tasted a hyper local beer, Södra Pale Ale, quite nice but a hint too sweet for my taste.

19Dec_PaleAle

As we were in Stockholm we then took the boat to Fjäderholmarna in the Stockholm archipelago. Going by boat seems to be quite a common thing to do and it is a nice way to travel. During the short ride out we had Swedish mulled wine, always served with almonds and raisins.

19Dec_Boat

Once there it was a very short walk. It was dark and it started to rain so we were happy to get inside where it was nice and warm, there was even a fire and the sight of it made us feel warmer in an instant. Seeing the foods also helped our party spirit, there was lots and lots of it and it all looked delicious. The restaurant we went to is Fjäderholmarnas Krog.

19Dec_Logo

A snapshot of the cold foods. I really wish I had brought my big camera but then this might not have been quite the right time!

19Dec_Overview

I often get the question from my non Swedish friends what we eat for Christmas and it is always a bit of a challenge as a traditional dinner includes so much! I didn’t take pictures of all of it but as you will see, there is quite a lot covered here.

The crown and glory is the ham. There are lots of different hams and an organic, free range is always the best. The cheap ones can sometimes be injected with water to increase the weight and when you cook it, it will have a large shrinkage and never be as tasty. At Fjäderholmarna the ham was a Rolls Royce of hams and we all agreed that it was great, I particularly loved it with a honey mustard that I must try and make.

19Dec_XmasHam

I am getting ahead of myself here as it is most usual to start with the cold seafood dishes, herring, prawns, salmon and whatever else might be on offer.

19Dec_Seafoods

They had an amazing 16 kinds of pickled herring and I thought the wasabi herring was particularly outstanding.

19Dec_WasabiHerring

Eggs with prawns

19Dec_PrawnsOnEgg

Tartar of salmon 19Dec_SalmonTartare

Teriyaki marinated herring 19Dec_TeryakiHerring

Eggs with roe 19Dec_RoeOnEgg

Arctic char with cumin seeds 19Dec_ArticCharWithCuminSeeds

Two kinds of cured salmon.

Salmon pate or terrine19Dec_SalmonPate

Fish pate 19Dec_FishPate

After the fish there is the cold meats.

19Dec_Meats

There was a lot of meats to choose from and a lot of game, I saw moose, venison, reindeer, horse and veal in addition to the ham.

Bear sausage (the dark one). I have never eaten bear before and it has a special taste. The other sausage is venison.

19Dec_Bear&VenisonSausage

Jellied veal is something I only ever eat when I am in Sweden but it is delicious and this was one of the best ones I have ever tasted. next to it was an equally delicious and much more delicate terrine of dark and white turkey meat with truffle.

19Dec_Brawn&Turkey

Two kinds of coarse pates made from game 19Dec_CoarseGamePate

There were little cheese pies with filling made from a Swedish cheese called Västerbotten. This cheese is a hard cow’s milks cheese with a mature flavor. If you like cheese and go to Sweden I strongly recommend that you try it.

19Dec_VasterbottensOstPie

After the cold foods comes the hot foods. Even here there was a large number of dishes and the best started to come in to see how much more you could eat.

There were a variation of salads and vegetables served with the foods

19Dec_Greens

They had two kinds of omelettes, something called kroppkaka a miniature filled potato, a veal stew and meatballs but there was more!

Slow cooked black pudding 19Dec_SlowBraisedBlackPudding

Janson’s Temptation, a dish made from anchovy, potatoes cut julienne and cream. This might be the only dish I would never try and make as a healthier version as it is just sumptuous and so delicious.

19Dec_JansonsTemptation

De boned ribs cooked with honey and orange 19Dec_BonelessRibsInHoney&Orange

Last but not least some spectacular sausages. They were made with veal and done on site from a recipe from 1940 the chef had found and worked on. They were amazing. By tradition this is how they are cut and it is to resemble pigs trotters.

19Dec_CalfPrinceSausage

I skipped the different kind of cabbage, the venison served with pan fried chantarelle mushrooms and a buttery mash, I was seriously running out of space!

Saying this and after a bit of a break I did head for the desserts, no less delicious.

A rosehip soup with I believe almond biscuit crumbs

19Dec_RosehipSoup

Chocolate brownie

19Dec_ChocolateBrownie

Another dessert option

19Dec_Dessert

Lemon meringue pies

19Dec_LemonMereguePie

Chocolate truffles

19Dec_ChocolateTruffles

Chocolate fudge

19Dec_Fudge

I didn’t take any pictures of all the fruits and sweets as by this time I was seriously starting to feel stuffed, reaching that NO MORE PLEASE limit but everything  tasted so good and looked so inspiring my inner Miss Piggy kept whispering “just a little tiny bit more”!

The wasabi marinated herring and the veal sausage were my absolute favorites, a new take on something that I already like but made me like it even more, that is true inspiration. It was a great Christmas table dinner, we drank schnapps and sang songs in true Swedish style, some stranger than others but all entertaining. After a g&t as a digestive we headed for the boat back to Stockholm city where I gave up around 2 am after a great night out. I will never cook anything like this and my Christmas table dinner will seem quite frugal in comparison but it will have all the things I love and I might even give that wasabi marinade a try for my herring. If I could choose I would have someone cook like this for me and it had everything we love to eat for Christmas in Sweden and more!

Comments
2 Responses to “Excessive, indulgent, delicious – Swedish Christmas dinner at Fjäderholmarnas Krog”
  1. Paul Phillips says:

    A divine and mouth-watering post as ever, Petra. As a Scandophile your latest blog has got me thinking of and planning my next gastronaut trip to Stockholm. I envy Mr J more and more every day. More please! Px

    • petra08 says:

      Hello Paul
      what a lovely comment! Next time you go I recommend Fjäderholmarna, traditional Swedish foods with a modern twist! And if it is not too windy, the boat ride is very nice. Let’s organize a dinner in the new year! xx

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