Swedish Christmas - in Hawaii!

by Breeze Giannasio


In Sweden and Norway, 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.  Well, there's no lack of light here in Hawaii, but we still enjoy all of these Scandinavian traditions in our house on Christmas Eve.

The big feast is called a Julbord, meaning “Christmas Table,” featuring plates upon plates of delicious meats, cheeses, and desserts. We start with Hawaiian pupus, because of course, we are in Hawaii!  Poi, poki, kim chee, etc. But then we turn to cured salmon (gravlax), quickly followed by a light arugula salad with pomegranates, blue cheese and pistachio.  Then come the cold meets, sliced cheese, and pickled cucumbers.  Then we jump into the final savory course which consists of traditional Swedish meatballs, potatoes, and lingonberry sauce.

The feast is followed by traditional desserts of rice porridge with cinnamon (risengryngrot), ginger cookies, and krumkaker.   God Jul! (Merry Christmas and Mele Kalikimaka everyone!)

If you want to experience a real treat, try out Marcus Samulsson's (of Acquavit fame) recipe  for swedish meatballs.  Take a visual preview of some of the spread below.  Skol!

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