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In Sweden, Midsummer marks the start of summer holidays. Midsummer Eve is always the Friday in the middle of the month. People head to the country to be close to nature, enjoy a delicious smorgasbord with beer and aquavit (no wine!), and be with family and friends.
If you’ve seen Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, or Woody Allen’s parody of it, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, you get the drift.
Celebrants pick wildflowers to weave into wreaths, set up the maypole and outdoor dance floors. Midsummer is supposed to be a magical time for love. But we’d like to focus on that big table laden with food, the smörgåsbord.
Swedish retailer IKEA has an annual Midsummer Smörgåsbord; you can purchase tickets for the 6/14 event at the store. They sell out, so do it in advance—$12.99, for adults, $4.99 for kids. Details at IKEA-USA.com.
Pickled herring canapés on pumpernickel bread with gherkins. Photo by Marta Sobo | SXC.
While IKEA offers food only (no dancing, no chasing your romantic interest through the woods), the menu is impressive. Why not adapt it to your own Midsummer Eve’s feast? Make selections from Ikea’s list, or whip up your own favorites:
Gravlax with mustard sauce
Herring, in assorted preparations
Hard boiled eggs with shrimp
Meatballs with lingonberries
Prinskorv sausage, a type of Vienna sausage, sautéed
Smoked salmon with horseradish sauce
Swedish ham served cold with mustard
Whole poached salmon
Swedish meatballs. Here’s a recipe from
Other favorite salads
Boiled dill potatoes
Assorted Swedish cheeses (Herrgardsost, the most popular cheese in Sweden, Hushallsost is Swedish farmer’s cheese)
Crispbread, thin bread, dinner rolls
Assorted desserts—cakes, cookies, Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam and whipped cream
Strawberries and whipped cream
While you may not have an inventory of Swedish music, ABBA always works for us!
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