This Scandinavian summer go native by indulging in the smorgasbord – a Swedish gastronomical buffet tradition also enjoyed during Christmas and special occasions and celebrations like a birthday or silver wedding anniversary. Relish in the wide array of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres served in five rounds; with this sequential structure first introduced by the well-known Swedish restaurangman Tore Wretman, after drawing inspiration from France.
Firstly, the famous herring of all origins and cheese are served. Next come other local fish like salmon, crayfish, crab and eel. The third round offers cold meats as enjoyable as liver paste and brawn; with small hot dishes, including meatballs and Jansson’s Temptation, featured in the fourth; along with the abundance of beef, veal, lamb, elk and even reindeer inspired creations. A final round of desserts as tempting as Maltese rice, apple tart, punch tart and fruit salad follows this.
So sample the smorgasbord in style at the Veranda in the Grand Hotel, at Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8; or at the Operakallaren, at Karl XII:s Torg.
Or fancy it for lunch while looking out at a lake? Then Ulriksdals Wärdshus, at Ulriksdals Slottspark in Solna is ideal. Prefer a garden location instead? Head for the Solliden at the Skansen open-air museum on Djurgården.
Or is the idea of partaking in this Swedish fare during a day cruise more your thing? Take a cruise from Stockholm or Kapellskär to the Åland Islands on the Viking Line or Silja Line, or from Grisslehamn to Eckerö on the Eckerö Line then.
And if any of these gastronomical adventures inspires you to try your hand at dishing out your own smorgasbord to captivate your dinner guests, you will be tickled to know that the cookbook, “The Swedish Smörgåsbord: All The Original Recipes In Modern Style”, takes this time honoured gastronomy to yet higher culinary levels.
Without losing sight of the familiar flavours much cherished by all Swedes, its creative recipes strive to give pleasure for all the senses. Exciting new taste sensations are presented, with the various smorgasbord dishes served in pieces little enough to be mindful of the aesthetics during plating – ensuring a complimentary feast for the eyes.
Its Lime And Coriander Herring exemplifies this; infusing the flavours of South East Asia into a cold dish of Baltic herring pickled in a much cherished basic Swedish pickling medium; all served in dainty delicate single bite sizes, each in a contemporary Chinese white porcelain soup spoon.
This modernization is given greater depth through the addition of three extra rounds – after the small hot dishes and after the desserts. Hence, round five becomes green, with an offering of vegetarian dishes that go beyond the common potatoes, onions, turnips, cabbage and carrots. And when these are starred, its promise of pleasuring all our senses continues to be sensationally fulfilled.
Its added sixth round is devoted entirely to cheese that have either been creatively terrine-ed and potted, or innovatively flavoured. The scrumptious desserts only make their appearance on the extra seventh, linked arm in arm with enough confectionary to keep all with sweet tooth in candy heaven. Thus paving a natural progression to the eight and final round of coffee, cakes and biscuits as sinfully wicked as its Doughnuts With Orange And Green Cheese.
The result: a contemporary smorgasbord of more than 220 recipes winsomely palatable for all tastes, occasions and generations.
And not only for the English-speaking world – chef laureates Gert Klötzke and Niclas Wahlström’s innovative recipe book is also published in Swedish. And their ambition to influence the natives who live in Sweden too, since its publication in 2009, is given credence by their lengthy lists of culinary accomplishments.
Wahlström is currently Master Chef at Den Gyldene Freden in Gamla Stan, one of Sweden’s most renowned upscale Nordic gourmet dining establishments. Giving lectures and guest demonstrations at restaurants the world over, he has served smorgasbord in Ho Chi Minh City, slow food in Turin, simple Scandinavian and new Nordic cuisines in Kuala Lumpur as well, along with helping organize the official banquet at Stockholm Royal Palace to mark the sixtieth birthday of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Starting with Chef of the Year in 1986, Klötzke has garnered most of the distinctions to be had in Sweden and abroad for both his culinary skills and the cookbooks he has written. His headship of the Swedish Culinary Team till 2004 catalysed the gold medal it was awarded in the WACS Global Chefs Challenge, and two more in the Culinary Olympics – a feat unrivalled by any other national culinary team. Not one to sit on his laurels, he is now Professor at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts.
With these Swedish culinary giants guiding your nimble hands while you lovingly serve up their array of suggestions you decidedly favour, you know full well the sumptuous smorgasbord you beautifully plate will make your dinner parties a decided hit this summer!
Credit for the original image used in this book’s front cover: Per-Erik Berglund
Featured photo on top: Per-Erik Berglund / Image Bank Sweden