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Ikea restaurants across the country will host a traditional Swedish crayfish party on August 15
It's a Swedish summer smorgasbord!
Participating locations of Ikea stores across the United States will host a Swedish crayfish party — or late summer smorgasbord, if you prefer — on Friday, August 15. Although you may think of crayfish boils as a mainstay of summer in the American South, the crayfish party is a long-standing Nordic tradition that actually dates back to the 1800s.
Since Sweden’s fishing season was once limited to August and September, crayfish parties were traditionally held during the late summer and included “paper hats and colorful crayfish-themed bibs,” says the press release from Ikea.
The Ikea Crayfish Party menu will include crayfish, cucumber salad, hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise and shrimp, Rhode Island salad with crayfish, Najad salmon with horseradish or gravad lax with mustard sauce, cheese pie, meatballs with lingonberries, strawberry and black currant crumble, and even more Swedish dishes.
To participate, contact your local Ikea for event details and seating times. Tickets are available for $12.99 per person and $4.99 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available to Ikea Family members for $9.99 per person or $2.49 for those 12 and under.
For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.
IKEA's Annual Crayfish Buffet Is Back To Celebrate The End Of Summer
If you're a fan of all-you-can-eat seafood, or just massive seafood consumption experiences in general, you're wanna get in on this legit crayfish buffet.
On September 15th, IKEA is bringing their annual seafood smorgasbord back to celebrate the end of summer. Their feast will feature a variety of items to accompany the tasty crustacean, including the chain's famous Swedish meatballs. Other highlights of the crayfish buffet include mac and cheese, Gravlax, pasta, and potato salads, and more.
If all of those delicacies have you licking your chops, make sure to go buy your tickets early. IKEA locations that are offering up the crayfish experience have already begun selling early bird tickets, and the event tends to fill up fast. Since you're probably wondering which stores will have the crayfish buffet, we've begun to compile a list.
IKEA's Crayfish Party Evening- Thurs 4th August, Plus a Summer Filled with Free Kids' Activites
It’s about that time of year again when IKEA Belfast holds the hugely popular Swedish Crayfish Party in the customer restaurant, which has just undergone a refurb of its own.
Kicking off at 5.30pm, you’ll be treated to a bumper Swedish buffet, including the Crayfish guests of honour, and complimentary cocktails. Then you can dance the indulgence away with ABBA tribute act, The Bjorn Identity.
The store is also hosting workshops and activities for kids all summer long.
Details here of when, what and where. They are all globally themed and best of all FREE!
90 years of the Culver Hotel, Ikea Crayfish Party, Irregular Wine Tasting
On Sept. 6, the Culver Hotel in Culver City will celebrate its 90th birthday. Designed by Curlett & Beelman, also responsible for Art Deco buildings including the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and downtown’s Eastern Columbia, the Culver was once an entertainment mecca, most famously the home to nearly all of the actors who played the Munchkins during production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Its latest owner, Maya Mallick, has spearheaded its resurgence, and in September the Culver will introduce all-new Prohibition-inspired food and drink menus, led by food and beverage director Louie Spetrini. Breakfast, lunch and dinner menus will feature “modern takes on classic grand hotel dishes,” along with small plates and appetizers for the bar crowd. 9400 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 558-9400, www.culverhotel.com.
Ikea is hosting a summer Swedish Crayfish Party at participating stores on Friday, Aug. 15. The crayfish party is a Swedish tradition that dates back to the 1800s, when the lakes in Sweden were full of crayfish in August and September. Tickets are available for $12.99 per person or $4.99 for kids 12 and under at stores (check the store locator). On the smorgasbord menu: crayfish, tossed green salad, cucumber salad, hardboiled eggs with mayo and shrimp, Rhode Island salad with crayfish, najad salmon with horseradish or gravad lax with mustard sauce, cheese pie, crispbread, crisprolls, soft bread, thin bread, Swedish cheeses, meatballs with lingonberries, mashed potatoes, boiled dill new potatoes, strawberry and black currant crumble, cookies and assorted deserts, and coffee, tea and fountain drinks. Seatings at the Burbank store, for example, are at 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. www.ikea-usa.com.
Stories book store and cafe in Echo Park hosts the latest edition of Irregular Wine Tasting on Friday, Aug. 15, featuring Cava, rose and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, along with “the bloodiest chapters of ‘Leaving a Doll’s House: A Memoir’ by Claire Bloom.” 7 p.m. $15 per person. Don’t come hungry. RSVP to [email protected] 1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, (213) 413-3733, www.storiesla.com.
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Betty Hallock was the deputy Food editor, covering all things food and drink for the Saturday section and Daily Dish blog. She started at The Times in 2001 in the Business section and previously worked on the National desk at the Wall Street Journal in New York. She’s a graduate of UCLA and New York University.
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The jam that comes with those meatballs tastes strangely familiar
If you order either the standard or the chicken meatballs as an entree, they're likely to come plated with a green vegetable, a scoop of mashed potatoes, a tasty cream gravy and. some kind of red jelly? Kind of a weird idea, eating jam with your meat. Well, maybe not so much. There's probably at least one time of year you happily gobble up a big old plate of meat with a side of sugary berries. In fact, if you take a nibble of the red stuff on your meatball plate, you may find it tastes pretty darn similar to good old cranberry sauce of Thanksgiving fame.
There's actually a legit reason for this. It turns out that the lingonberry, which is the main ingredient in IKEA's SYLT LINGON, is a close relative of, and pretty much the European equivalent of, the North American cranberry. Lingonberry jam has been a traditional Swedish meat accompaniment since forever, or at least since meatballs have been a thing (so, like 250+ years). So go ahead and eat your meatball like a real Swede — cut it in half, dab on a bit of potato and a little of that jam, and. yum. Move over, peanut butter, jelly's got a new best friend.
Summer crayfish festival at IKEA stores Aug. 16: Wear a funny hat
Every summer, I regret the loss of the Swedish restaurant Gustaf Anders in Costa Mesa and its annual crayfish festival. Not to mention the Princess cake draped in pale green marzipan.
It won’t be the same, but here’s the thing: It’s just $9.99 per person. Kids 12 and under get in for $2.49. What is it? IKEA’s kräftskiva -- an all-you-can-eat Swedish crayfish festival on Friday, Aug. 16.
Note that seating is limited, so if you plan on going, best to buy your tickets now at the closest IKEA store.
What’s on the menu? Tossed green salad, cucumber salad, hard-boiled eggs with shrimp, shell-on prawns with cocktail sauce, Najad salmon with horseradish or mustard sauce. And then the big event, crayfish with crispbread and rolls and assorted Swedish cheeses. And for those who aren’t into crayfish, the furniture company cafe will also have its famous Swedish meatballs on hand too. As well as Swedish desserts and cookies.
In Sweden, a crayfish party usually happens in August, an email from the store explains. “Participants often wear funny hats and enjoy ‘singing drinking’ songs while taking snaps (or shots, as we call them.)”
So, bring on those funny hats. Our Image correspondent Adam Tschorn has plenty, fully documented on his blog, if you’re looking for inspiration.
Ikea is Hosting a Swedish Summer Crayfish Party on August 15 - Recipes
Crayfish are a great delicacy highly appreciated in many countries, especially in Europe and the southern United States.
Arranging a special bash entirely dedicated to feasting on boiled crayfish is a popular tradition in the Nordic countries, like Sweden and Finland.
Crayfish parties are held there during the crayfishing season, mostly in August. In Finland, the open season for catching wild crayfish starts at noon on July the 21st and ends on October the 31st. For many, the crayfish season is the highlight of the culinary year.
In the late 19th century Sweden, among the upper class, it became fashionable to celebrate the ending of summer season with a crayfish dinner. This custom, popularised by Parisian bourgeoisie, eventually reached Finland, too.
Picture on right: a plate of cooked signal crayfish.
At the time, noble crayfish were abundant in the waters of Sweden and Finland. In the year 1900, about 15 million crayfish were exported from Finland to European metropoles, mainly Saint Petersburg and Berlin. Since then, the crayfish plague, spread to Europe from North America and with the introduction of the American signal crayfish, has practically devastated the native stocks.
Nowadays, the native noble crayfish in Finland are scarce, making their price very high. The signal crayfish are more affordable, yet still quite expensive, too. This is why cheaper and mostly inferior frozen crayfish imported from countries like Turkey, Spain, China and the U.S.A. are more often used to replace the fresh, domestic crayfish.
Read more about crayfish here.
Late summer from August to September is the traditional season for crayfish parties.
Weather permitting, the party may be set up outdoors, usually in gardens, on patios, verandas, gazebos, balconies, etc.
Since the warm summer evenings are getting darker, the surroundings are often lit and decorated by hanging up colourful paper lanterns.
Many stores sell (more or less tasteful) matching sets of crayfish party accessories and tableware consisting of everything from dishes, glasses and cutlery to textiles like tablecloths, place mats, napkins, aprons and bibs. Besides the usual table setting, also special crayfish knives are provided for the diners.
Crayfish are always eaten with the hands, which may be somewhat messy.
To protect your clothing, it is advisable to tuck a napkin into your collar or neckline or wear a crayfish bib made of cloth or plastic. Lots of paper napkins should be available.
Finger bowls or wet towels should be provided for the guests to clean their fingers from time to time. A slice of lemon or a blackcurrant leaf may be added in the finger bowl to scent the water.
A crayfish knife is used to cut and break the sometimes very hard crayfish shell and claws, and unlike other knives, it is allowed to be taken to your mouth when eating.
It is perfectly acceptable to suck out the juices from the various parts of crayfish and eat them without fearing of making too loud slurping noises.
The atmosphere at crayfish parties is usually very relaxed and informal, including consuming of several schnaps with the food and singing of schnaps-songs (a Swedish tradition also practised among the Swedish speaking Finns). Some Swedes also like to wear party hats.
Picture on right: lyrics for the perhaps best-known Swedish schnaps-song "Helan går".
Some lively entertainment may be arranged for the party: music, speeches, games, trivia quizzes, etc. Providing a step-by-step lesson in crayfish eating, taught to the eager novice by an experienced crayfish eater, is always a sure hit.
Also children should be welcomed to the parties, familiarizing themselves with the art of eating crayfish from an early age on I know far too many grownups afraid of even touching a crayfish, let alone eating one!
Serving of food and beverages
Since the crayfish party revolves around crayfish, there should naturally be plenty of them available. The crayfish are freshly caught or bought alive and cooked on the previous day in a large pot of boiling water seasoned with salt and crown dill. The pot is placed in cold and the crayfish are left to cool in their sieved cooking liquid for several hours or overnight.
On the following day, the crayfish are drained and arranged on serving platter decorated with fresh crown dill. The crayfish are peeled and the tails and the meat inside the claws (if large enough) are consumed on buttered toast sprinkled with lots of fresh, chopped baby dill. In addition, the crayfish tails may be sprinkled with a few drops of fresh lemon juice and topped with a dollop of smetana or crème fraîche.
Picture on left: shelled crayfish tails and claw meat with dill on hot buttered toast.
If organizing a traditional crayfish party for a larger crowd, it is advisable to serve the more affordable imported frozen crayfish, only you will need to know the trick of how to make them taste almost as good as the freshly boiled ones. There should be at least 12 crayfish reserved per diner, provided that you will also be serving additional dishes and snacks.
Besides the crayfish, suitable dishes to be served at a crayfish party are various savoury pies, fish, mushroom and vegetable dishes, salads, bread and cheese, as well as some refreshing dessert, like ice cream, parfait, fruit or berry pie, cheesecake, etc. Also many dishes typical of smörgåsbord may be served.
You should always provide alternative dishes for persons allergic to shellfish or for those who do not enjoy eating them for some other reason. These dishes may consist of various foods meant to be eaten with the hands, so that the persons eating them can "get their hands dirty" like those fiddling with the crayfish.
The crayfish dinner may be started with a light or a more substantial soup or a slice of cheese, vegetable or mushroom pie or quiche, followed by the crayfish, served with all the trimmings. A more filling dish may be served next, made with fish, meat or game and served with a side dish of vegetables, like boiled new potatoes, broccoli or carrots, stewed mushrooms, etc. Poached or hot-smoked fish may also be served cold. A sweet dessert may be served at the end of the meal.
Plain or differently flavoured schnaps are an essential part of the crayfish dinner. They are drunk whenever a toast is proposed, preferably in small sips only, since the toasts are usually numerous.
To be on the safe side, stronger spirits like vodka may be slightly watered down, or one can choose to serve some of the many lower-alcohol schnaps products available nowadays. Besides the schnaps, beer and mineral or iced water are the best choices to be served with the crayfish.
If wine is to be served, inexpensive, dry white wines are recommended, of the type of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, etc. Coffee and tea may be served with the dessert.
You will find recipes for some of the dishes mentioned above in here.
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|Kanelbulle (Cinnamon bun)||Mazariner|
A Scandinavian love of food
Spencer, who first came to Canada as a visitor from Sweden in 1996, moved to Vancouver after marrying her Canadian husband. Although her family is what she misses the most from home, Swedish food and culture is a close second, along with the gender equality provided in Scandinavian society.
S pencer’s favourite Swedish dish is an old traditional meal: blood pudding. It is made out of pig’s blood, rye flour, onion, and large pieces of bacon amongst other ingredients. Blood pudding is not available in Vancouver at all, and Spencer can only find it when she goes back home. It is one of the first dishes she has whenever she is visiting Sweden.
“Either you love it or you hate it – and I’m one of those people that love it,” she admits. Even though Vancouver is a city that has a lot fresh produce and food, blood pudding is a dish that cannot be made the same here as in Sweden.
Spencer jokes that she gets carbohydrate poisoning when she goes home due to the amount of rye bread she eats. “I miss the baking and the rye breads we have in Sweden,” she says.
Along with their love of bread, another important aspect of Swedish culture is coffee. Sweetened and milky coffees have become more popular amongst the younger population however, coffee is traditionally drunk black in Sweden. Known as fika, most Swedish people have their coffee multiple times a day along with some biscuits and cookies.
As for desserts, Spencer enjoys apple-based desserts with a vanilla sauce. However the most popular Swedish dessert, usually served with coffee, is kanelbullar – a cinnamon bun topped with pearl sugar.
A common meal that Spencer cooks is Kassler loin, which is a smoked pork loin, made with a cream sauce, green pepper, wedged potatoes and cheese.
Due to Scandinavia’s location, people there were not able to have the diverse variety of foods many tropical countries did. Most of their traditional dishes were made with potatoes and salted meats that made the food easier to preserve during the winter seasons.
“A lot of Scandinavian traditional dishes are very heavy. We used a lot of potatoes and fish in the old days for the base,” Spencer explains.
Another Nordic meal that is very common in the community is open-faced sandwiches. “We never put the other piece of bread on top,” she says. “Shrimp sandwiches are the most common these are even available in IKEA!” she says.
Scandinavian food in Vancouver
“ There used to be some bakeries but not anymore. The only remotely Scandinavian restaurant is Scandilicious Foods on Victoria Drive,” says Spencer.
Created and inspired by Anita Cotton’s Norwegian heritage, Scandilicious Foods serves Norwegian waffles with a North American twist. What started as a small waffle food truck on Commercial Drive has transformed into an all-day breakfast menu. With many gluten-free and vegan friendly options, Scandilicious Foods has quickly become a hotspot for all Vancouver foodies.
Swedish Crayfish party. | Photo by Stefan Lins
They have both savoury and sweet waffles. Appealing to North American culture, they have the “Hangover Helper” (eggs benedict on a waffle) and they appeal to the Scandinavian community with their “Den Beste” (waffle with cream cheese, smoked salmon, lemon dill sauce, red onion capers and fresh dill). They reiterate the importance of coffee in Scandinavian society with their own in house coffee brand: Mjolnir.
On top of their waffles, Scandilicious Foods also has Norwegian meatballs, which are made with spices that differ from Swedish meatballs. This dish is served for lunch with mashed potatoes, gravy and a Swedish lingonberry jam.
Spencer also mentions a candy store, Karameller on Mainland Street. Admittedly, the Swedish community is lucky because they can buy some Swedish foods at IKEA, and the Finnish community can order their favourite food items through an online store but the rest of the Scandinavian communities are not as lucky in Vancouver.
“We’re lacking in Scandinavian restaurants,” says Spencer.
The Swedish Crayfish Party
“ Swedish people have been eating crayfish since the 1500s but the celebration aspect started in the 1800s. It started as a luxury food for the rich and then became more for the common people,” says Spencer.
The Crayfish Party is an end-of-summer celebration with funny hats, bibs and alcohol, where crayfish is boiled in a brine (salt water and dill). Traditionally, the crayfish is put into the boiling water alive.
“It’s a way of gathering with friends and celebrating at the end of the summer.”
Local Nordic population
T he population of the Nordic countries together is about 25 million people and with a low immigration rate, the Scandinavian community in Vancouver is quite small. “We blend in with the rest, we’re not a big group like the Chinese or East Indian communities,” says Spencer. With language classes (for both children and adults) and traditional festivals, the Scandinavian Community Centre in Burnaby creates the most access to Scandinavian culture in the Lower Mainland.
“Our purpose is to keep our traditions, our heritage and our language. It is also important for people who are interested in Scandinavian culture. They are welcome to come and participate in our centre.”
This year, as the Centre celebrates Finland’s 100th Year of Independence, it exists to bring together the Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic and Danish peoples together to preserve their culture and way of life.
Mid-August Crayfish Party
This past weekend I went out to my friends summer cottage, where they held a traditional Swedish Crayfish Party. Don’t misunderstand me now. This is still a vegetarian blog, I won’t share any secret recipes on how to cook crayfish. I will however share a recipe for a really tasty and quick green bean salad, but first I want to show and tell you about our crayfish party.
In mid-august almost everybody in Sweden attend or arrange crayfish parties. We decorate with silly lamps. We play outdoor games (ever heard of Kubb?). We eat lots of crayfish (well, not all of us). We drink snaps, and we sing very silly songs before we drink it. We do these things because they are tradition, but like most other traditions they have little to do with why we are really there. Which is to be with our friends. To cook together, eat together, tell each other stories and laugh until late. And when those cold and dark February mornings hit us, this warm mid-August evening is what we think back upon.
Green Bean Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
This is not a very advanced salad. It is however a quick and very tasty side dish that I could eat every day during the summer.
1 lb green beans
1 spring onion, chopped
3 tbsp Dijon mustard, preferably coarse grained
2 tsp honey
juice from 1 small/medium sized lemon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & black pepper
a handfull fresh parsley or cilantro
Trim the beans and put them in a sauce pan with boiling water. Remove them after 1-2 minutes and cool down under ice cold water. Let them dry on a towel, then transfer them to a bowl and add the onion. Whisk together mustard and honey. Add lemon juice, vinegar and oil and whisk for about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the beans, use your hands to make sure that they are all covered. Roughly chop the parsley and put on top of the beans. Enjoy!