Glögg by an open fire, outside of the restaurant Sjömagasinet 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014
It’s the first week of Swedish Christmas table seatings at restaurants across the country. In Gothenburg, treating yourself to a julbord is a bit like getting to open your Christmas presents a little early. Even if the point with Christmas tables in Sweden is to offer traditional Swedish fare found year round at different junctures, it is still the manner in which the food is presented, plus the Chef de cuisine’s personality that comes through with each dish presented that provides all the fun in the dining experience.
Already noted in 2012 was how Guide Michelin Chef Ulf Wagner brought blood pudding to his julbord at the restaurant. This year, a further realisation (apart from that blood pudding once again made it as my favourite dish of the julbord, knocking lutfisk to a close second) – they finally seem to move away from the Swedish west coast obsession with all things piscatorial (they no doubt remain very good) and focused on meat dishes. If the flavours of the wild and open landscapes of northern Sweden could be melted into a morsel, then their elk and duck liver paté could well prove to be that tangible culinary item to be had. If you’ve ever wondered about that original Swedish meatball recipe, you might want to give those at this julbord a try, seeking out the more appealing spices of the recipe. But if you are indeed a Swedish west coast all-things-piscatorial fan, then Wagner’s cod and pepparrot laced fishballs might entice you to another sitting at the table this season.
Homemade cloudberry jam on top of anything from the dessert table, accompanied by that cup of Swedish coffee, and you’ve rounded a perfectly good festive season’s dinner.
Comfortable, warm and pleasant, the evening marked with familiarity, the opening of the jultide season.