Julbord

I went to Umeå again this last week for a two-day full department meeting. We talked about grant and manuscript submissions for the coming year, and I proctored a journal club discussion with the PhD students.   The highlight, however, was the julbord.

This shows 2.5 out of 6 jubord tables.  Awesome!
This shows 2.5 out of 6 jubord tables. Awesome!

Most people know about smörgåsbord as being a Swedish buffet. Julbord is a special variation for Christmas.  Good julbords have some classic inclusions: ham, luttefisk, pickled herring (sometimes 6 kinds!), bread, knackbröd, meatballs, sausage, cold potatoes, boiled eggs, red cabbage, beets, chopped kale, some kind of salad or veggie plate, and snaps. You can drink either snaps or Julöl.  If you drink wine you’re a noob.  Apparently, their are a million ways to identify yourself as a julbord-noob, as I learned from this valuable post on Sweden’s English-news-for-expats site.

Jul öl and a snowman full of snaps.  Shortly after this I 'hit the wall' literally because I wasn't looking where I was going, so these were my last drinks.
Jul öl and a snowman full of snaps. Shortly after this I 'hit the wall' literally because I wasn't looking where I was going, so these were my last drinks.

Luckily, it went well.  I had jul öl AND awesome jul snaps.  We went to a really great place, where most things were made on the premises, including the bread AND the butter! I ate fish, even the pickled herring, and about a postage stamp sized piece of smoked reindeer (enough for me).  My favourite was the Janssons frestelse, like scalloped potatoes with cream, onions and anchovies.  Also good was the rödbetsalat, a creamy salad with pickled beats.  I thought the whole thing was great – even the 12 kinds of sausage I only admired, but didn’t try. The dinner food was great AND THEN I FOUND THE DESSERT TABLE!  (Sorry, no picture)  There was ostkaka (which translates to cheesecake but is more like a baked ricotta pudding so I am just going to call it ostkaka), cloudberry sauce, mixed berries and cream,  swiss meringue banana pudding, chocolate mouse, passionfruit fool, ris malta (rice pudding), lemon cheese (another ricotta special) and a think chocolate pudding.  There was also pepperkador, toffees, and a big variety of Christmas candies.  AWESOME!

When we got back to the hotel Hasse and I checked out the sauna (bastu).  It was ‘only’ 50 degrees.  Apparently it is not so uncommon to have 80 degree saunas.  How is that even possible? I think that could cook an egg or a lobster.

This is a picture of me in Umea at about 10 in the morning.  This is pretty much as light as it gets!
This is a picture of me in Umea at about 10 in the morning. This is pretty much as light as it gets!

The next day I got up and did some reading before out meetings started.  It was dark when things got started – and pretty much dark when we had coffee break.  It was unseasonable warm so I was able to step outside for a bit to take a picture.  Check out how dark it is!  The sun was set at 2PM.

2 thoughts on “Julbord”

  1. I appreciate so much the posts about the ways of celebrating and marking the seasons. And food is always such an awesome part of that. I will put up a Nanaimo Bars post on my blog tomorrow. Yay! I remember the Danish **bords, especially the Christmas Eve table – that is all about abundance. It sounds like Graham wasn’t there for this one, and I bet he missed that. I doubt they’d have made money on his ticket. Good for you, trying some things not usually on your menu. Those short days – yikes.

    Oh, small note – the link is broken – and i’d love to read about how to avoid being an obvious julbord-noob.

  2. Unfortunately this julbord was an employees-only affair. But we are hoping to attend one before we come home for Christmas; it would be a shame not to experience it at least once.

    Also, the link has been fixed.

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