New Nordic and modern Swedish cuisine have been making waves in recent years, so why not discover some local kitchen favourites while visiting the country's capital? Book a table in a cosy little restaurant and discover how skilled chefs have been taking traditional dishes to whole new heights. Or why not try whipping up something yourself if you are staying in a self-catering apartment or hostel with kitchen?

    Stop off at the book shop and buy a traditional cookbook, hunt down some ingredients from romantic market halls or the local square and make cooking into an activity you can enjoy with your partner, your family or your friends. After all, classic Swedish cooking is about more than just wholesome and comforting flavours, it’s also about the company you share them with.


    Sandwich cake (smörgåstårta)

    Classic buffet dish with endless variations

    The sandwich cake (smörgåstårta) is a uniquely Swedish phenomenon which in days gone by was an absolute must at larger gatherings. Sandwich cakes are both easy to prepare in advance and an excellent way to impress guests with lavish layers and tasteful garnishes.

    A Swedish sandwich cake is much more than just bread layered with creamy fillings such as seafood or cold cuts – it's a majestic piece of art decorated with vegetables and eggs, rolls of cheese, smoked meats or roast beef, strategically positioned sprigs of dill and an array of colours. To sample some sandwich cake in Stockholm, try one of the picturesque little cafés in the fairy tale neighbourhood of Gamla stan.


    Swedish potato dumpling (palt)

    A taste of northern Sweden

    They say every culture has it's own dumpling and Sweden is no exception. This northern delicacy is a filling staple made primarily from pork and potato. Raw potatoes are mashed or shredded and mixed with flour to make a dough which is then shaped into a ball around a delicious pork filling. The whole thing is then boiled in salt water and served with some butter and lingonberry jam.

    A great place to sample these delightful dumplings in Stockholm is Restaurang Knut on Upplandsgatan which is known for its cuisine from the northern region of Norrland, from which this dumpling originates.

    photo by Mrs. Gemstone (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Swedish hash (pyttipanna)

    A traditional hodgepodge turned restaurant classic

    Pyttipanna is a hash-like dish which was originally invented as a convenient way to use up the week's leftovers. It consists of diced potatoes mixed with coarsely chopped onion and small pieces of meat from earlier meals. Bacon and meatballs both go great if you've got some lying around the kitchen. Add a fried egg and some pickled beetroot and suddenly you've got an entire meal on your hands!

    Once a homemade hodgepodge, pyttipanna is now a popular lunch option at restaurants specialising in Swedish cuisine. Drop by Kvarnen Restaurant on the island of Södermalm to sample this Swedish kitchen classic while in Stockholm.


    Brown baked beans with pork

    Sweet and sour lunchtime classic

    Many of the dishes which are widely regarded as being typically Swedish can actually be found all over Scandinavia, but brown beans are so Swedish that their denomination of origin is protected by the EU. The beans need to be grown on the island of Öland in order to use the protected title.

    The classic dish is prepared by boiling the beans in water, mixing with potato flour and adding a touch of vinegar and syrup for that sweet and sour flavour Swedes know so well. Traditionally the beans are enjoyed with some fried slices of salted bacon, while others insist they are to be enjoyed together with boiled potato.


    Burger patties with onion sauce

    Swedish spin on an international classic

    Swedish burger patties (pannbiff) are closely related to a whole host of similar dishes from all across Northern Europe, but that does not make them any less important within the world of classic Swedish cuisine. In Sweden, beef or pork (or a mixture of the two) is blended with breadcrumbs and milk to form a small and compact patty. The traditional onion sauce is an essential accompaniment and made by adding friend onion and cream to a classic roux.

    Panbiff is a simple dish and a popular weekday dinner in Swedish homes all across the country. You'll also find it on the menu at lunch time in many restaurants. Just don't forget the lingonberry jam!


    Cabbage pudding (kålpudding)

    Turkish innovation turned Swedish staple

    Cabbage pudding (kålpudding) is a filling classic and a simplified version of the stuffed rolls that were transported from Türkiye to Sweden during a period of exchange in the late 17th century. The original rolls were made with vine leaves which enterprising Swedes swapped out for cabbage.

    A classic cabbage pudding is comprised of white cabbage, mince meat and rice and is often served with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and either gravy or clarified butter. Book yourself a table at Hasselbacken Restaurant on Djurgården and try this historic dish for yourself.


    Pea soup and pancakes

    A Thursday tradition in Swedish households

    Pea soup and pancakes is a classic dish traditionally eaten on Thursdays. The reason for this is said to be that the country's once Catholic population needed a hearty meal before Friday's fast. Swedes have been enjoying this classic soup since the 13th century although the addition of pancakes came at a later point.

    Typically the dish is comprised of yellow peas, pork broth, onions and spices such as thyme, marjoram and mustard. You can pick it up in cans and cartons from the local grocery store, or watch for it on daily lunch menus across town, particularly on Thursdays.


    Fried herring

    The most important fish in Swedish cuisine

    Herring is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Swedish cuisine, and sure enough it's a common feature at Christmas, Easter and Midsummer celebrations. Sometimes served pickled and sometimes served fresh, herring is a beloved fish that Swedes enjoy on a daily basis.

    Traditionally it is often fried in butter, but not before being tossed in flour to ensure a wonderfully crispness on the surface. You'll often find it served with boiled potatoes or potato mash and sometimes with a dollop of lingonberry jam. Fried herring is a quick dish to prepare and a popular street food item in the Swedish capital.


    Falu sausage (falukorv)

    Super simple, but super tasty

    Falu sausage (falukorv) is so Swedish that the name has been protected, first within Sweden and later across the EU. There are countless ways to serve this hulking, horseshoe sausage but stuffed and baked in the oven is the classic way.

    Incisions are cut in the sausage and stuffed with onion, tomato, mustard and cheese. The whole thing is then baked in the oven and served up with potato mash. It could hardly be easier but don't be deceived, this traditional Swedish sausage is packed full of flavour and makes for the perfect, warming dinner on a cold northerly night.


    Swedish beef stew (kalops)

    A Swedish take on bœuf bourguignon

    Kalops is a very old Swedish dish – a rich stew of slow-cooked beef with onions, black pepper and bay leaf for flavour. Add a few carrots and the dish will soon begin to resemble a classic French bœuf bourguignon, but the fact of the matter is that kalops is actually even older than its famous French cousin.

    Kalops with boiled potatoes and pickled beetroots is a common lunch option at restaurants all across Stockholm. But the dish is also easy to make and needs a good long while to cook on the stove, so it's the perfect meal to cook in company as you enjoy a glass of wine.

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