It is typically a celebratory meal and guests can help
themselves from a range of dishes laid out for their choice. In a restaurant,
the term refers to a buffet-style table laid out with many small dishes from
which, for a fixed amount of money, one is allowed to choose as many as one
The Swedish word smörgåsbord consists of the words
(open-faced sandwich) and bord (table).
A traditional Swedish smörgåsbord consists of both hot and
cold dishes. Bread, butter and cheese is always part of the smörgåsbord. It is
customary to begin with the cold fish dishes which are generally various form of
herring, salmon and eel. After eating the first portion, people usually continue
with the second course (other cold dishes), and round off with hot dishes.
Dessert may or may not be included in a smörgåsbord.
A special type of smörgåsbord is the julbord which is the
standard Christmas dinner in Scandinavian countries. Julbord is a word
consisting of the elements jul, meaning Yule (today synonymous with Christmas)
and bord, literally table. The classic Swedish julbord is the highlight of
Swedish cuisine, a traditional smörgåsbord starting with bread dipped in the ham
broth and continuing with serving the table, a variety of fish (salmon, herring,
whitefish and eel), ham, small meatballs, head cheese and sausages, potato,
boiled or potato casserole, soft and crisp bread, butter and different cheeses,
beetroot salad, cabbage (red, brown or green) and rice pudding and beverage.
As with the smörgåsbord, the traditional julbord is typically eaten in three
courses. The dishes includes local and family specialties.
Above: Julbord Christmas dinner with several
traditional Swedish dishes
The first course
would typically be a variety of fish, particularly
pickled herring and lox (gravlax).
It is customary to eat particular foods together; herring is typically eaten
with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs and is frequently accompanied by
strong spirits like
akvavit with or without spices. Other
traditional dishes would be (smoked) eel,
rollmops, herring salad, baked
herring, smoked salmon and crab canapés, accompanied by sauces and dips.
The second course is often a selection of cold sliced
meats, the most important cold cut being the Christmas ham
with mustard. Other traditional cuts include homemade sausages,
several types of brawn. It is also common to serve the cold meats with sliced
cheese, pickled cucumbers and soft and crisp breads.
The third course would be warm dishes. Traditionally, the third course
begins with soaking bread in the stock from the Christmas ham. Warm dishes
Swedish meatballs, small fried hot dog
sausages, roasted pork ribs, and warm potato casserole, matchstick potatoes
layered with cream, onion and sprats called
Janssons frestelse (literally "Jansson's
Other dishes are pork sausages, smoked pork and potato sausages,
cabbage rolls, baked beans, omelette with shrimps or mushrooms
bechamel sauce. Side dishes include beetroot salad in mayonnaise
and warm stewed red, green or brown cabbage.
Lutfisk, lyed fish made of stockfish (dried ling or cod) served with boiled
potato, thick white sauce) and green peas that can be served with the warm
dishes or as a separate fourth course. Lutfisk is often served as dinner the
second day after the traditional Christmas Yule-table dinner.
Julbord desserts include rice puddin, sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice porridge and whoever
finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck.
is served from early December until just before Christmas at restaurants and
until Epiphany in some homes.