Glad Midsommar!

midsommar, midsummer, floral wreaths Midsummer, John the Baptist Day, summer solstice. Whatever you call it, it’s here. This weekend will beckon some of us to celebrate like Swedes and dance around maypoles, don floral head wreaths, and sing songs about small frogs. We’ll feast on herring and gravlax, rye crispbread, dilled potatoes, and Swedish meatballs. We’ll toast “Skol!” with shots of aquavit. But what's even better than the aquavit is traditional Strawberry Cream Cake (recipe here), a celebration of the berries just as they peak. If you join the revelers this year, be sure to find a spot near the maypole and bring your dancing sandals. For those of you not familiar with maypole hijinks, the only thing you really need to know in advance is that in Sweden frogs say "Kou ack ack ack," and pigs say, "Å nöff nöff nöff." Here's a song that's sung during Midsummer (feel free to sing it to your own tune):

midsommar maypole

Små Grodorna

Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.

Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.

Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.

Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,

kou ack ack ack ack kaa.

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,

kou ack ack ack ack kaa.

Glad Midsommar, Everybody! Don your wreaths and get out and celebrate. If you're in New York, hope to see you down at Battery Park for the annual festivities.

midsommar wreaths 2

Glad Midsommar! A Look at the Foods of Midsummer

This weekend is the celebration of Midsummer in Sweden, but Swedes from all over the world participate in the festivities. A tribute to the longest day of the year, the day is filled with good food, music, dancing around the maypole and other activities. Midsummer is an occasion of great gatherings--and a good start of the summer holidays. For the Swedes, it meets our social commitments so that we can enjoy our vacation in peace.

Celebrating with others goes hand in hand with good food. Traditional Midsummer food is potatoes with herring or smoked fish, ham, meatballs, strawberries served with ice cream and schnapps and beer for the adults. However, new food trends such as pesto pickled herring, cheese pies, salmon sushi and coconut cake with strawberries are lovely additions to the classic meal. Each time the glasses are replenished at the dinner table, we break out into song and sing our schnapps songs. The more vibrant the song, the more joyful the atmosphere.

For those who do not have time to cook but want to participate in the festivities, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. At Restaurant Norda, at the Clarion Hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, two and three course menus are available. The menu includes Kalix caviar, sour cream, red onion and buckwheat as an appetizer, chicken with artichoke, broad bean and Madeira sauce as the main course, and a mouth watering strawberry mousse with lime-marinated strawberries and brownies for dessert.

Before dinner, it's outdoor activities and games for the whole family. After dinner, everyone gathers around the maypole and to the traditional ring dance to good old midsummer songs.

Although the tradition is greatly celebrated in Sweden, there are cities around the world that celebrate this holiday. This year the festivities begin at Battery Park, in New York City. Here, Swedes from all over gather to enjoy the traditional activities and food from various Swedish restaurants, including Red Rooster Harlem.  The events continue in the afternoon with dancing around the maypole, but the actual party doesn’t start till the evening at Club Crimson located in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The night is filled with guest appearances and live performances by Swedish 80’s pop icon, Christer Sandelin, and expect to see Norwegian-Japanese pop artist singer, Baby M as the opening act.


Spend Swedish Midsummer with the Rooster Crew

Every kid in Sweden, every adult, everybody has a story from Midsummer. When you're a kid you dance with your parents around the tree, when you're a teenager that's when you met all the girls, and as an adult that's when you go to all the parties. Every summer, droves of Gothenburg residents would head to Smogen, where I spent my summers, to celebrate Midsummer. It's awesome to see the crowds go from 5,000 people to 100,000 people over a weekend and it gets crazy. As a teenager we loved it because since we spent every Midsummer in Smogen, you knew all the in's and out's of the area. We knew how to find the best parties and how to sell shrimp for more than it costs--the hustle was there. It was twice a summer in Sweden we took tables out and just had a huge block party and Midsummer was one of them. We'd always have tons of gravlax, herring and meatballs and we continue this tradition at Red Rooster and at the Swedish Midsummer Festival in Battery Park City.

On Friday, June 22, from 5-8pm, Red Rooster will have a table at the Swedish Midsummer celebration in Battery Park City and we'll be serving up meatball sliders and Smargastarta (Sandwich Cake), a traditional Swedish dish. But if you're at the Rooster on Friday, check out the lunch and dinner specials we'll have to celebrate the day.

LUNCH $21 per person, prix fixe

DINNER $45 per person, prix fixe (Swedish Flag Cocktail included)

HERRING PLATE fingerling potatoes, cheese ~~~~ Helga's Meatballs ~~~~ Strawberry Cake

COCKTAIL Swedish Flag $12


Midsummer is my ideal way to kick off the summer and I'll be down at Battery Park tomorrow afternoon dancing around the maypole. Hey, if we didn't make it in the Euro Cup, we have to celebrate something.

Photos: ClatieK

Swedish Midsummer at Battery Park!

It's almost 5pm, so get ready to join the midsummer celebrations this afternoon at the Swedish Midsummer Festival at Battery Park! Watch a performance from the Swedish Folkdancers of New York and listen to traditional fiddle music from the American Swedish Institute.

Take part in the festivities by making your own floral wreaths and decorating the annual midsummer pole. Visit the many food vendors offering Swedish delights from some of New York's premier restaurants and enjoy these delicacies from abroad. Or create your own feast by bringing a homemade picnic to the park to enjoy with family and friends.

The Swedish Midsummer Festival is today, June 24, from 5-8 pm ۬at the Robert F. Wagner Park, in Battery Park City. Rain or shine.

Continue the celebrations by heading up to the Red Rooster for our special prix fixe dinner featuring authentic Swedish fare, such as gravlax on pumpernickel bread and Swedish meatballs! Sit back and enjoy a great summer night on our new outdoor seating area and celebrate this great day!

The menu will cost $45, and we will be serving it from 5:30pm until 10:30pm. For reservations, call Red Rooster at 212-792-9001.

Not in New York? Many other areas hold their own Swedish Midsummer Festivals as well, such as London's annual celebration in Hyde Park on June 25th. Check out Food Republic's list of ten midsummer celebrations around the globe.

Photo: jenschapter3

Come Celebrate Swedish Midsummer at Red Rooster Harlem!

Come join us at Red Rooster Harlem on Friday, June 24th, to celebrate Swedish Midsummer! We will be serving a special prix fixe dinner that features Swedish-inspired dishes. In addition to delicious food, the meal will feature a special cocktail for the occasion. Toast the longest days of the year with a Midnight Sun cocktail, which combines grapefruit- and lemongrass-infused vodka with Campari and fresh grapefruit juice.

The menu is Red Rooster's take on classic Midsummer celebrations. Our Gravlax on Pumpernickel Bread with Avocado will start the meal with a Midnight Sun cocktail.  The second course will be Helga's Meatballs with Lingonberries and Mashed Potatoes with Pickled Cucumbers served with beer.

And for dessert there will be a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon Meringue, perfect for a summer night in our new outdoor seating space.

The menu will cost $45, and we will be serving it from 5:30pm until 10:30pm.  For reservations, call Red Rooster at 212-792-9001.