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Experience Stockholm, Top Lists

Top 5 Festive Christmas Foods You Have to Try in Stockholm

By: Tetiana Poliakova

Holidays are truly magical for many reasons, and one of them is festive food! Because wherever you come from, during holidays there is always some delicious treats you are longing for. I created a list of five Swedish foods that are popular around the holiday times. Have you tried them all?

Lussekatt: Saffron Bun

A rich, saffron-spiced, yeast-leavened, perfectly sweet bun that is traditionally baked during Advent. It is especially popular on Saint Lucia’s Day, December 13. These easily recognizable yellow pastry in the shape of the letter S decorated with two raisins is definitely a treat for any cold winter day. Lucia is the patron saint of the blind, and some believe that the raisins in the buns represent the eyes. But there are also suggestions that the lussekatt was originally modeled to remind a sleeping cat (hence, the name ‘katt’ – cat), and some believed that the saffron in the buns were supposed to scare the devil off. Well, it is one hell of a bun!

Pepparkaka: Gingersnap cookie

Have you seen the round boxes of gingersnaps in every grocery store? It is a Swedish must around holiday time. Crisp, flavorful, and simple! Despite the confusing name of the “pepper cookies”, these treats do not actually contain any pepper, but instead their flavor and aroma comes from ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The smell of these spices alone will put you into some major Christmas mood. And believe it or not, the recipes back from the 13th century did actually contain pepper! I wonder how they tasted back then.

Pepparkaka: Gingersnap cookie

Have you seen the round boxes of gingersnaps in every grocery store? It is a Swedish must around holiday time. Crisp, flavorful, and simple! Despite the confusing name of the “pepper cookies”, these treats do not actually contain any pepper, but instead their flavor and aroma comes from ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The smell of these spices alone will put you into some major Christmas mood. And believe it or not, the recipes back from the 13th century did actually contain pepper! I wonder how they tasted back then.

Julmust: Christmas soft drink

Julmust is probably the worst enemy of Coca-Cola in Sweden around the holidays since it swipes all the soda glory. Julmust is a non-alcoholic soft drink that tastes like a combination of coke and root beer. The drink is actually quite new as it was invented in the beginning of 20th century. And no worries, if you miss julmust too much, you will also have a chance to enjoy påskmust during Easter season.

Glögg: Swedish mulled wine

Alcoholic or not, this drink is pretty universal across Europe. Almost everyone has their version of warm and sweet mulled wine, whether it was a tradition to start with or a nice treat borrowed from a different culture. Full of spices and flavor, glögg is usually garnished with some almonds and always served warm. When you go to Christmas market, make sure to stop by a glögg stand to get a cup of this delicious drink.

Julbord: Christmas buffet

I know this is a little bit of cheating from my side since I put the whole feast in one category, but otherwise, the list would be too long. Julbord (‘Jul’ – Christmas, ‘bor’ – table) is a huge tradition in Sweden, and it is often enjoyed with friends and colleagues before the actual Christmas in addition to the Christmas Day itself. The tradition of Swedish julbord goes all the way back to the Vikings and their feast during the Midvinterblot, also known as Yule in some other cultures. Julbord is both quality and quantity: beloved Swedish recipes in abundance. Food comes in waves during the Christmas banquet starting with appetizers moving to warm dishes and finishing up with some coffee and dessert. Here is the list of dishes you are most likely to encounter (in order of their appearance on the julbord):

MENU TRADITIONAL SWEDISH CHRISTMAS

Starters

Pickled herring (sill)
Cured salmon (lax)
Bread and Crispbread (knäckebröd)
Christmas ham (julskinka)
Shrimp and mayo dip (skagenröra)
Beetroot salad

Main course

Meatballs (köttbullar)
Small sausages (prinskorv)
Potatoes and cream casserole (Janssons Frestelse)
Bread dipped in pork broth (dopp i grytan)
Pork ribs

Dessert

Rice pudding (risgrynsgröt)
Gingersnap cookies (pepparkakor)