Merry Christmas...the Swedish way!!!
In my childhood,Sweden to me meant pen friends! Then it was the Nobel Prize ceremony,a seat to which is coveted by so many! As I grew older,it was the Ikea store....something I discovered in America...gorgeous furniture and home items! Henceforth when I think of Sweden,I will think of "Glogg".We were invited to the home of Fredrika Ornbrant,the Swedish Consul General for a Christmas Glogg (spiced wine) event.Fredrika is charming,friendly and pretty young!
Glogg is a drink served at Christmas time in homes,restaurants and on the streets.It is warm wine with spices such as cinnamon,cardamom,cloves and ginger.Every culture has food that has a rationale behind it.In this case,it is to keep out the harsh winter cold.It is also served without alcohol as a concoction made with berry juice.Berries such as lingonberries are available all over Sweden.People also go to forests to pick them.These are added to savory dishes as well.Lingonberries are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C.Other Swedish berries include Cloudberry and Arctic Bramble.
Before Xmas,people meet and sip glogg and chat....just like the Bengali adda :)
At this event,I bumped into the effervescent couple Gaurav Sharma and Romi Purkayastha who kept us entertained with their quips.The above picture is of Romi mulling over wine.
I also met Swedes ( for the first time) and found them to very warm and easygoing.Learnt about the "Julbord buffet" which is served in the Xmas season which has several courses of which seafood is the first (my weakness).Marinated herring and cured salmon are the mainstay of this course.
Crayfish season is in August when crayfish parties are held.Sweden now hosts Seafood Safaris on its West Coast :)))
Here's a description of how Glogg is made..click here
My fellow bloggers Kalyan Karmakar and Rhea Mitra Dalal will be happy to hear that Christmas Ham studded with cloves is a part of the Julbord and that pig memorabilia is seen all over the country during this festive time.
Lest you think that Swedish food is all about seafood and meat,there is the famous Art Soppa or the Green Pea Soup,Beetroot Salad,Potato Salad,Kale and Cabbage.Vegetables are more in the South as a result of the climate.Tomato,Cucumber,Green Peppers and Lettuce are grown in greenhouses.Most Swedes have a balanced diet suitable for their environment which is why lifestyle diseases are less common there than in other countries.
At the party we were served Ginger Cookies with Glogg which were oh so light!
The St Lucia buns had saffron! There was also Ginger Cookie Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake(Kladdkaka) that was better than anything I have had before,in India and abroad.
We celebrated the birthday of one of the guests by singing in Swedish and then in English, before he cut the cake.
Caught up with food blogger(Nonchalant Gourmand) Nikhil Merchant who is also Product Manager for Shop For Change.He is sure to make his own version of Glogg soon.
Met the unassuming Sameer Malkani,an educationist and the brain behind the popular Food Blogger India Awards
All in all it was a great afternoon,connecting with people and learning about a new culture! It is only when we interact at a personal level that we realize that just as we are different,we also have our similarities....cinnamon used by us (in food) and them (in drink),berries used by us (in desserts) and by them (in savory dishes) ; they are family oriented (like us) and if we visit them at home,we would have to remove our footwear at the entrance just like we do in India!!
Come,let's discover more........