I went to UmeÃ¥ 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. Â The highlight, however, was the julbord.
Most people know about smÃ¶rgÃ¥sbord as being a Swedish buffet. Julbord is a special variation for Christmas.Â Good julbords have some classic inclusions: ham, luttefisk, pickled herring (sometimes 6 kinds!), bread, knackbrÃ¶d, 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 JulÃ¶l.Â If you drink wine you’re a noob.Â 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.
Luckily, it went well.Â I had jul Ã¶l AND awesome jul snaps.Â 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).Â My favourite was the Janssons frestelse, like scalloped potatoes with cream, onions and anchovies.Â Also good was the rÃ¶dbetsalat, a creamy salad with pickled beats.Â 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!Â (Sorry, no picture)Â 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,Â swiss meringue banana pudding, chocolate mouse, passionfruit fool, ris malta (rice pudding), lemon cheese (another ricotta special) and a think chocolate pudding.Â There was also pepperkador, toffees, and a big variety of Christmas candies.Â AWESOME!
When we got back to the hotel Hasse and I checked out the sauna (bastu).Â It was ‘only’ 50 degrees.Â Apparently it is not so uncommon to have 80 degree saunas.Â How is that even possible? I think that could cook an egg or a lobster.
The next day I got up and did some reading before out meetings started.Â It was dark when things got started – and pretty much dark when we had coffee break.Â It was unseasonable warm so I was able to step outside for a bit to take a picture.Â Check out how dark it is!Â The sun was set at 2PM.