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