In Sweden, Christmas entails a long celebration, from the beginning of December all the way through the middle of January. With short days and scarce light, the festivities (and the food) are hugely important and widely enjoyed.
The big feast of the season is called a Julbord, meaning "Christmas Table," featuring plates upon plates of delicious meats, cheeses, and desserts. The first course typically consists of cured salmon, pickled herring, and other pickled dishes, and is quickly followed by a second course of cold meets, sliced cheese, cucumbers, and pate is served with hard bread. The final savory course (which is also Chef Samuelsson's favorite) consists of traditional Swedish meatballs, different kinds of sausages, and Jansson’s Temptation, which is a hearty and delicious potato gratin.
The feast is followed by traditional desserts of rice porridge with cinnamon, St. Lucia buns, ginger cookies, and, of course, lots of glogg, the nationally beloved drink of mulled wine. While the meal can sometimes take up to a month to plan and prepare, you can give your holidays some Scandinavian flavor by trying out one or two of these traditional Swedish holiday dishes. God Jul! (Merry Christmas everyone!)
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