Tag Archives: midsummer

Midsummer in Norway – Celebrating St. Hans Eve

June 16, 2016 | Leave a comment

Midsummer in Norway – Celebrating St. Hans (St. John’s)

Midsummer is usually not called midsummer in Norway, but St. Hans after the evangelist John (called Johannes in Norwegian; Hans is the shortened form). Originally two separate celebrations, they have now – for most people – merged into one.

St. Hans day is the 24th of June every year, and the celebrations are held on St. Hans’ eve – the 23rd. It is not a national holiday – but most people mark it in some way or another. Traditionally celebrated with a huge bonfire, or out on the fjord if you’re lucky enough to have a boat or know someone who does.

sthans-norge-midsummer-norway


 

Bonfires are set up in many neighbourhoods, and is usually accompanied by a barbecue feast and beers – hot dogs in lompe, with ketchup, mustard and crispy onions.

    Per i Viken Wienerkorv – Wiener Sausages 8-pack
    £4.00
    - +
    Korvbrödsbagarn Korvbröd – Hotdog Buns 10-pack
    £2.00
    - +
    Idun Tomatketchup – Tomato Ketchup 530g
    £3.00
    - +
    Idun Pølsesennep – Mustard 490g
    £3.00
    - +
    Bjørken Lomper 10-pack – Soft Potato Flatbread 260g
    £2.15
    - +
    Bähncke Ristede Løg – Crispy Onions 100g
    £1.50
    - +

 

Ice cream for afters (often, the inaccurately named Kroneis (Norway’s cornetto – name translated to 10p-ice cream, but it costs the equivalent to £2).

kroneis midsummer norway

 


 

 

A typical St. Hans celebrations often includes playing games – here are some of our favourites:

Egg-racing; race each other whilst balancing an egg on a spoon held in your mouth (hardboiling the egg beforehand makes it easier – but it’s more fun when you risk it with a raw one!)

Egg race Norway

Helmet and protective glasses optional.


Sack-race, individual and in relay teams – 
Racing each other by attempting to jump a (straight) distance in sacks. Also popular on 17. mai;

Sack race - sekkelop norway

A LOT harder than it looks. Face-plant almost guaranteed.


Three-legged race – 
We’re not sure exactly how popular this is (outside yours truly’s childhood neighbourhood) – but nevertheless super fun.
Rules: Find a partner. Tie your right leg to their left leg (or the other way around) so you have to move as if you were one person with three legs. Confused? Good. Race against others with the same set-up. It is fun, we promise.
Three-legged race Noreway midsummer

Swedish Midsummer – How To Celebrate – Therese’s Way

June 9, 2016 | Leave a comment

Swedish Midsummer – How I Celebrate

Swedes all over Love midsummer (you might have seen Alicia Vikander on Jimmy Fallon..? If not, we’ve included the clip for you below). There are many ways to celebrate, and this week, our Thérèse shares her way of celebrating. Over to you, T!

” Hej! I am Thérèse and I’m located in Stockhome. I recently moved to London from Sweden. It doesn’t matter where I am this time of year – I always celebrate midsummer.

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Photo credit: Conny Fridh/imagebank.sweden.se

Midsummer for me is all about having fun, celebrating with friends and eat a lot of food. I often celebrate the holiday on the actual midsummer eve (this year – 24th June) ‘midsommarafton’ – but it really depends on when my friends are free to celebrate.

Growing up I spent most of my summers in the summerhouse in the west of Sweden, and we would usually go to the closest local midsummer event to celebrate there. These days the place of the celebration varies – either in a park or at someone’s house – usually the friend with the best garden. One thing remains the same wherever though – flower garlands in my hair. It’s essential.

Making_midsummer_flower_garlands-06

 

What do we eat at midsummer?

Food is of course very important during midsummer. My friends and I often prepare a buffet together. We cook most of the food ourselves but we usually buy some things, like nibbles, ready made. That way we can nibble whilst we cook and take our time with it. We usually get snacks like sour cream and onion crisps, dill crisps, cheese corn snacks and some beer to drink.

The buffet has certain ‘rules’ to it – the first round is all about herring and bread. Having a good range of herring is essential. My favourites have always been the mustard herring, onion herring and the herring in roe, but a good midsummer spread usually includes even more – such as dill herring or herring in curry (You can browse our range of herring here).

We also have a variety of crispbread, rye bread and polar bread – as well as new potatoes boiled in a lot of dill. We eat the potatoes sliced up on your bread of choice with a bit of herring. With this we also serve cured or smoked salmon; seafood salad is also always included in our buffet. I like to top my salmon sandwiches with dill and mustard sauce.

In addition to the herring and fish, we often have a barbecue with different meats, spicy sausages and new-potato salad and chips with Vasterbotten cheese – lovely with a fresh dip! To drink we have lagers (beer) and aquavit. Of course, in true Swedish fashion, we have to sing some drinking songs.

Finally we’ll have a lovely strawberry cake (we have a nice recipe – click through to view) and perhaps some of our favourite sweets and chocolates. If we feel really merry we might search for a midsummer pole to do some embarrassing little frog dancing around.”

Don’t know what Frog Dancing  is? Have a look below, where the Oscar winning Swedish actress Alicia Vikander shows Jimmy Fallon how it’s done. Happy Midsummer all!

 

To read more about Swedish midsummer – click here.

To visit our Midsummer Shop for all the foods and snacks you need, click here.

 

WIN a Big Midsummer Bundle!

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WIN a Big Midsummer Bundle!

Are you Swedish, or just a big fan of all things yellow and blue (this includes meatballs, herring and aquavit)? Then you might just want to win yourself our huge midsummer spread bundle!

Whether you plan on heading to the park, your balcony or snuggle up in the sofa – this bundle contains everything you need for a lovely Swedish midsummer; Our favourite sourdough crispbread, meatballs, herring, salmon, vasterbotten cheese, our own deli salads, a bottle aquavit and some yummy cinnamon buns (kanelgifflar) to round it all off. Yum!

Swedish Midsummer Picnic

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this super easy question:

How many flowers do you put under your pillow to dream about your future husband/wife?

A. 3
B. 10
C. 7

Send your answer by email to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 14th June 2016 at midday. Winner will be drawn from all correct entries.Send your answer by email to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 14th June 2016 at midday. Winner will be drawn from all correct entries.

The usual rules apply. UK residents only. No cheating. Only one winner. No alternative prize and no cash alternative. Over 18s only as this contains alcohol.

Midsummer – like a Swede

June 11, 2015 | 2 Comments

Midsummer – like a Swede

Midsummer in Scandinavia. Think clear blue lakes, rolling green hills and lots of people running around barefoot, singing and dancing. Here’s our little guide about how to be more like a Swede at Midsummer…

When?

Midsummer is the longest day of the year. Swedes (and Finns) celebrate it on the Friday that is closest to actual solstice. This year, Midsummer in Sweden is 19th June, but any Swede abroad will celebrate it on 20th because that is a Saturday, so this is much more convenient.

Most people think this is Swedish Midsummer…

Okay, so this is actually a bit true….

Midsummer is almost as big as Christmas and Eurovision. We take it very seriously. So, if you are planning on joining in, you need to know the basics.

nature

Nature

You need nature. Midsummer is not an indoor celebration. It’s not possible to be authentic celebrating midsummer in a Hackney bedsit. Head to a park near you if you are in the city – such as Hyde Park (like a calling, Swedes randomly seem to gather there most years, although it is not an organised event).

midsommerstand

The Midsummer Pole (Midsommarstången)

Get a few wooden poles, put them in a cross, add two round balls and decorate with flowers. Yes, we know, it is an upside down willy. It is a big fertility ritual, really. Erect your pole in the grass.

It’s basically a Maypole, but we don’t have enough flowers to decorate it in May, so we wait until June.

frogs

Dance like a frog

All Swedes know that the most natural thing in the world is to dance around the big phallic pole, pretending to be a little frog with no ear and no tail. Everybody joins in – old, young, drunk. Get the song here.

The food: Herring

Pack a picnic or make a buffet of the most delicious Scandi traditional foods.

Eating herring is essential. For midsummer, the delicious Matjes herring is the way forward. If anyone offers you something called Surströmming, tell them to go where the sun doesn’t shine: It is fermented herring and it smells like gone-off dog poo (tastes okay, though). A word of advice: If you are going to go down the Surströmming route, be very careful not to get any of the brine on your clothes as your chances of finding mate for the evening will be reduced to below zero. Also, the tin is pressurised, so when you open it, the brine will squirt out. Just say no. If you don’t believe us, watch this clip with our Jonas opening surstromming in Hyde Park.

The food: Strawberries.

You will need to include some strawberries in your picnic, as required by Swedish law (we think). Make a strawberry cake (Recipe here) or just bring a kilos along to share out. Rub yourself with strawberries to increase your overall appeal (this is not a proven method, but it might work, who knows).

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The food: Dill

The secret to making any dish ‘traditionally Swedish’: Just add dill.

Add to potatoes, add to salads, add to crisps and sandwiches. Just add dill. Then add a bit more. You can never have quite enough dill on things. No, you can’t smoke it.

rain Irenegustavsson

The weather

Guarenteed to rain. Then it will be sunny after. Every time.

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Aquavit

Swedes at Midsummer will be consuming a lot of aquavit. It’s a strong alcohol made from grain and flavoured with dill, aniseed and caraway. We drink it in ice cold shots (nubbar), one after the other roughly 1 shot for every 2 beers consumed.

A few things to note: 1) It gets you drunk from the waist down first (i.e. no walking) and 2) It puts you in a slightly amorous mood. Fact: The birth rate in Sweden spikes nine months after Midsummer every year.

Someone will try to offer you the aquavit shot made from wormwood (it’s the one called Bäska Droppar) – they do this because they don’t want to drink it themselves its horrible)  and it is really funny to see non-Swedes try it. Polite refuse and say you know what they’re up to.

Clothing

Ladies tend to wear white dresses or very flowery frocks. A bit like a Laura Ashley showroom, but worn by really pretty people who look like goddesses sent from a different planet to save humanity. Or something.

Men tend to wear what they normally wear to look very Swedish: tight light-coloured trousers, pointy shoes, gelled slicked back hair, a pink shirt and maybe a crown of flowers. Sunglasses essential.

Some people wear traditional dress. If you are not Swedish, it will just make you look like a bit of a twig, so don’t go there. And whatever you do, please, no blue-yellow clothes combos. Bring flags instead. As many as you can carry (this will make you everybody’s best friend).

Drinking songs

There are many, many different drinking songs to learn, but if you make an effort and learn ‘Helan Går’, you’ll be the Måns Zelmerlov hero of the night. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get around to learning it, most people are automatically fluent in Swedish after 2 shots of aquavit. If you overdo the aquavit, you may end up sounding Danish. don’t worry, this is not a bad thing, the Swedes will assume you brought cheap beer and will possibly try to befriend you.


Games people play

Don’t be surprised if you are invited to take part in a tug-of-war, egg and spoon race or a game of ‘kubb’. Kubb is a Swedish game involving some wooden sticks and some very drunk men falling about laughing. As far as we can tell, there are no rules (except the ones the drunk Swedes make up on the day).

midsommarkrans

Flowers in your hair

This applies to everybody. We all do it. Old, young, man, woman – get some flowers in your hair. Kudos if you make your own garland, but you can get hold of cheapie artificial ones at most H&M shops. Flower garlands look especially good on bald, middle aged men.

Superstition

Legend says that if you pick seven different wild flowers and put them under your pillow at night, you will dream of the person you will marry. This makes the Tinder-swiping a lot easier going forward if you already know what he or she looks like.

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The hangover

It’s yours to deal with, all alone. Enjoy. Hurdy Gurdy.

Glad Midsommar!

We are selling out ready to pick up Swedish picnic boxes – booking taken up until 3 days before the event, so just click HERE to order. A box for 4 people costs just £50 (£12.50 per person).

Love, The Kitchen People x

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