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Swedish cuisine (Swedish: det svenska köket) is the traditional food of Sweden. Due to Sweden's large north-to-south expanse, there are regional differences between the cuisine of North and South Sweden.
Historically, in the far north, meats such as
Swedish cuisine could be described as centered around cultured
The importance of fish has governed Swedish population and trade patterns far back in history. For preservation, fish were salted and cured. Salt became a major trade item at the dawn of the
Sweden's long winters explain the lack of fresh vegetables in many traditional recipes. In older times, plants that would sustain the population through the winters were cornerstones; various turnips such as the kålrot (rutabaga) (aptly named "swede" in British English) were gradually supplanted or complemented by the potato in the 18th century. A lack of distinct spices made everyday food rather bland by today's standards, although a number of local herbs and plants have been used since ancient times. This tradition is still present in today's Swedish dishes, which are still rather sparingly spiced.
Both before and after this period, some new
Swedish husmanskost denotes traditional Swedish dishes with local ingredients, the classical everyday Swedish cuisine. The word husmanskost stems from husman, meaning 'house owner', and the term was originally used for most kinds of simple countryside food outside of towns. Genuine Swedish husmanskost used predominantly local ingredients such as
Dishes akin to Swedish husmanskost and food traditions are found also in other Scandinavian countries; details may vary.
Sweden is part of thebeer and stronger alcoholic beverages.
Husmanskost has undergone a renaissance during the last decades as well known (or famous) Swedish
Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals, in spite of the fact that modern Swedish cuisine adopts many international dishes.
Internationally, the most renowned Swedish culinary tradition is the
Potatoes are eaten year-round as the main source of carbohydrates, and are a staple in many traditional dishes. Not until the last 50 years have pasta or rice become common on the dinner table. There are several different kinds of potatoes; the most appreciated is the "new potato", a potato which ripens in early summer and is enjoyed at the traditional midsummer feast. New potatoes at
The most highly regarded
In August, at the traditional feast known as kräftskiva,
Meals consists of breakfast in the early morning (frukost), a light lunch before noon (lunch), and a heavy dinner (middag) around six or seven in the evening. It is also common to have a snack, often a sandwich or fruit, in between meals (mellanmål). Most Swedes also have a coffee break in the afternoon, often together with a pastry (
Swedes sometimes have sweet toppings on their breads, such as jam (like the French and Americans), or chocolate (like the Danes), although many older Swedes choose not to use these sweet toppings. However, orange marmalade on white bread is common, usually with morning coffee or tea.
Many traditional kinds of Swedish bread, such as sirapslimpa (less fashionable today, but still very popular) are somewhat sweetened in themselves, baked with small amounts of syrup. Like in many other European countries, there are also many non-sweetened breads, often made with sourdough (surdeg). Swedish breads may be made from wholegrain, fine grain, or anything in between, and there are white, brown, and very dark (like in Finland) varieties which are all common. Barkis or bergis is a localised version of challah usually made without eggs and at first only available in Stockholm and Göteborg where Jews first settled but now available elsewhere.
|Ärtsoppa||Pea soup||Yellow pea soup.|
|Blåbärspalt||Dumplings with blueberries|
|Blodpalt||Dumplings made out of blood|
|Blodpudding||Black pudding||The Swedish name literally means 'blood pudding'. Sweetened and spiced, it is eaten with lingonberry jam, and sometimes bacon.|
|Blodkorv||Blood sausage||Other than pig blood, the ingredients include flour, pork, raisins and spices.|
|Bruna bönor och fläsk||A classical Swedish dish consisting of pork with stewed brown beans.|
|Falukorv||Sausage, big and thick, originating from Falun. The lifts and pumps at the Kopparberg copper mine in Falun were, during the 16th and 17th centuries before the introduction of steam engines, powered by oxen. When these oxen died from strain or old age, the skin was turned into leather ropes used in the mine, and some of the meat was turned into Falukorv sausages.|
Fishballs, made from minced white fish meat.
|Fläskpannkaka||A thick pancake with diced pork, baked in a form in the oven.|
|Flygande Jacob||Flying Jacob||Casserole based on chicken with cream, chili sauce, bananas, peanuts and bacon. Invented in the 1970s.|
|Gravlax||Salmon cured with salt and sugar with herbs.|
|Inkokt lax||Boiled |
salmon, together with onion and carrots, in a mixture of water, vinegar, salt, sugar and some other spices. Usually eaten cold, commonly together with mayonnaise spiced with dill and lemon.
|Inlagd sill||Pickled |
|Isterband||Sausage, from Småland, made of coarsely ground pork, barley and potatoes. It is prepared by first fermenting it and then lightly smoking it. This method of cooking creates a distinct, both acidic and slightly smoky flavour. It is traditionally eaten with dill-stewed potatoes and pickled beetroot.|
|Cured ham, boiled and breaded with mustard, bread crumbs and egg; translates as Christmas ham. The Swedish equivalent to Christmas turkey.|
|Kalops||Meat stewed with onion, vegetables and spices.|
|Meatballs made from meat and herbs tightly rolled together, frequently served with mashed potatoes and pickles.|
|Korv Stroganoff||Sliced sausage pieces (usually falukorv) served in a creamy tomato sauce, a cheaper Swedish variation of beef Stroganoff.|
|Köttsoppa med klimp||Soup, made from beef and root vegetables, served with klimp, a Swedish dumpling.|
|Dumplings made of pre-boiled potatoes, filled with pork.|
|Leverpalt||Dumplings with liver.|
|Lutfisk||Lye fish made of stockfish.|
|Palt||Dumplings made of unboiled potatoes, filled with pork.|
|Paltbröd||A type of tunnbröd baked with blood. Traditionally served leached with white sauce and fried pork.|
|A thin pancake fried in an ordinary frying pan. In some parts of Sweden, all thin pancakes are called plättar.|
|Pitepalt||Dumplings from Piteå.|
|Plättar||A plätt is a very small pancake, usually made in a plättlagg, a sort of normal size frying pan with indentations to allow for several, normally seven, smaller (usually around 10 cm in diameter) pancakes to be made at once. See |
|Pölsa||Similar to hash or Scottish haggis without casing.|
|Prinskorv||Small sausages, hot dog-style.|
|Pyttipanna||Mix of chopped and fried meat, onions, pre-boiled potatoes, often prepared from leftovers. Other ingredients are often added as well, such as sausages, beetroot, fried egg, bacon or even salmon (instead of the meat).|
|Raggmunk||Potato pancakes. Usually eaten with lingonberry jam and sometimes fried slices of pork belly.|
|Rotmos med fläsk||Mashed root vegetables, usually rutabaga, carrots and sometimes potatoes, served with long-boiled salted pork loin.|
|Räksmörgås||Open sandwich with prawns, egg and mayonnaise. Lettuce, tomato or cucumber are commonly added, usually topped with lemon and dill.|
|Sillsallad||Herring salad||A Russian-style chopped cold-salad side dish made with pickled herring, boiled cold potatoes, boiled cold beets, minced raw onion, fresh dill, and sour cream.|
|Smörgåstårta||Sandwich cake||Like a very big multi-layer sandwich. Comes with many different fillings and toppings, often including shrimp, ham, mayonnaise, salad, and preserved fruits.|
|S.O.S. (smör, ost och sill)||Butter, cheese and herring||Appetizer dish made with butter, cheese, and herring.|
|Stekt fläsk med löksås och potatis||Pork with onion sauce and potatoes.|
|Stekt strömming||Fried herring||Fileted fresh herring, two filets put flesh to flesh, skin out, with dill, salt and ground white pepper between and breadcrumbs on the outside, and then fried in butter until golden. Eaten with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. Very different from surströmming.|
|Surströmming||Fermented Baltic herring||Being fermented, surströmming has a strong odour and unique flavour and is considered an acquired taste even among Swedes. Usually eaten with thin, hard bread.|
|Sylta||Swedish head cheese||Made primarily from finely chopped pork pulled soft from a boiled pig head and mixed with the gelatin from the skull and various spices and pressed to form a loaf that is served chilled so that the gelatin sets.|
|Wallenbergare||Patty of ground veal, cream, and egg yolks, coated in breadcrumbs.|
Fish and other seafood are an important part of Swedish cuisine. Farmed salmon from Norway has become increasingly popular. Pickled, sweetened
Common desserts include:
|Gotländsk saffranspannkaka||Rice pudding dessert with saffron originating in Gotland usually served with jam or whipped cream, or dewberry jam.|
|Kalvdans||A classic Scandinavian dessert made from unpasteurized colostrum milk, the first milk produced by a cow after giving birth.|
|Klappgröt||Semolina pudding mixed with juice from either red|
|Ostkaka||Swedish cheesecake (very different from American cheesecake).|
|Pannkaka||Pancakes are almost never served for breakfast ('American-style') but either as dessert with sweet jam or whipped cream, or as a meal in itself, using fewer sweet toppings. Pancakes for dinner can be thick oven-baked pancakes with pork meat or apples inside.|
|Smördegspaj||Butter dough based pie.||Various kinds of pies and cookies are typical desserts, mostly served with coffee. Typical pies are apple pie, blueberry pie and rhubarb pie.|
|Spettekaka||A sweet dry hollow Swedish cake, shaped like a cylinder, and similar to meringue, found only in a southern province of Sweden, Scania.|
|Våfflor||Waffles||Often served with jam and whipped cream or ice cream. Waffles also have their own day on 25 March.|
|Äggost||A dish originating from Bohuslän. In the southern parts of the county it is traditionally served as a dessert along with whipped cream, sugar and blackberry jam, but in the northern parts it is usually seen as a main dish or breakfast and often served with pickled herring.|
Pastries and treats
Kaffebröd (coffee bread)
Bakelser and other types of kaffebröd (or more colloquially fikabröd) are various forms of
|Kanelbulle||Cinnamon roll, optionally made with cardamom dough|
|Wienerbröd||A Danish pastry; comes in several varieties and shapes; very similar to a Danish pastry in the US.|
|Chocolate ball.||A round |
|A small |
pearl sugaron top.
|Punschrulle||Punsch-roll||A small cylindrical pastry covered with green marzipan with the ends dipped in chocolate, and inside a mix of crushed cookies, butter, and cacao, flavoured with punsch liqueur. This pastry is often called dammsugare ('vacuum cleaner'), referring to its cylindrical shape, similar to many older vacuum cleaners. Other names are arraksrulle (as arrak (arrack) is an ingredient in punsch) and '150-ohmer' (owing to the brown-green-brown colouring).|
|Biskvi||A small round pastry with a base: made from |
butter creamand covered with a thin layer of chocolate. First made in France during the 19th century.
|Prinsesstårta||Princess cake||A large cake, made of sponge cake layered with whipped cream, and custard under a green marzipan coating with powdered sugar on the top; often decorated with a pink marzipan rose.|
|Budapestbakelse||Budapest pastry||Basically made from sugar, egg white, hazelnuts, whipped cream, and pieces of fruit like apricot or mandarine, decorated with a little chocolate and powdered sugar.|
|Napoleonbakelse||Napolitain||Made of pastry dough, whipped cream, custard and jam, topped with icing and currant jelly.|
|Kladdkaka||A chocolatey and sticky flat cake.|
|Toscakaka||Light sponge topped with caramelized almonds.|
|Arraksboll||A ball flavoured with |
arrak, similar in appearance to a chokladboll but very different taste.
During the winter holidays, traditional candy and pastries include:
|Knäck||Christmas toffee. (Hard, usually to be sucked, not chewed. The soft variety is called kola, which is chewy, and may be flavoured. )|
|Ischoklad||Coconut oil mixed with chocolate.|
|Marmelad||'Marmalade candy', rectangular fruit and pectin based candy in various colours.|
Saint Luciacelebration (13 December).
|Pepparkaka||Similar to a ginger snaps (has been eaten since the 14th century and baked at the monastery of Vadstena since 1444); associated with Christmas.|
|Semla||With the new year, the fastlagsbulle (Lenten bun), or semla, is baked. It is a wheat bun with a cream and almond paste filling, traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday.|
Other typical Swedish candy includes:
|Saltlakrits||Liquorice candy flavoured with ammonium chloride.|
|Polkagris||Traditional peppermint stick candy from Gränna, also made in other flavours.|
|Ahlgrens bilar||A marshmallow candy shaped like a car. Marketed as "Sweden's most purchased car" (Swedish: Sveriges mest köpta bil).|
|Sockerbitar||Similar to square, chewy marshmallows.|
|Geléhallon||An early form of |
|Daim||Formerly called Dime in the UK.|
Sweden is in second place among the heaviest
|Mumma||A traditional Christmas beverage. Usually a mix of porter or another dark beer, some light beer (pilsner), port wine (or some other wine), and something sweet (sockerdricka or julmust); commonly spiced with cardamom.|
|Blåbärssoppa||Bilberry soup||Sweet soup or drink made from |
bilberries, served either hot or cold
|Enbärsdricka||Juniper berry soft drink|
|Sockerdricka||Sugar drink||Sweet-sour soft drink (carbonated)|
lemon-limesoft drink (carbonated)
|Champis||Soft drink alternative to sparkling wine (carbonated)|
|Trocadero||Soft drink with the taste of apple and oranges, with its roots in the north of Sweden|
|Julmust||Sweet seasonal carbonated soft drink (jul ‒ a cognate of the English yule ‒ means Christmas in Swedish)|
|Rose hip soup||Sweet soup or drink made from rose hips, served either hot or cold|
The production of
Punsch is a traditional liqueur in Sweden that was immensely popular during the 19th century. It was adopted as the drink of choice by university students, and many traditional songs from that time are about the consumption of punsch or are meant to be sung during the collective festivities that were part of the cultural life in the universities' student associations at the time and still is.
Beer is also widely consumed in Sweden and the typical Swedish beer is
Food and society
Brödinstitutet ('The Bread Institute') once campaigned with a quotation from the
- Sami cuisine
- Cuisine of Finland
- Cuisine of Norway
- Culture of Sweden
- Danish cuisine
- Icelandic cuisine
- List of Christmas dishes
- Swedish festivities
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