Swedish Breakfast

From June 5th to 11th, I visited western and southern Sweden during a trip sponsored by Visit Sweden, West Sweden Tourism Association, Skåne Tourism Association and Volvo as part of their AUTO + holidays competition. Here’s a sneak peek of something I ate during my trip.

I like breakfast, but I don’t like it more than sleeping. And sleep wins 99% of the time.

But during my week in Sweden, I woke up early for breakfast almost every day because the Swedish breakfast is pretty good-at least in the form of the free buffet breakfasts in the hotels where I stayed. If you are looking for plates of hash browns, syrupy pancakes and bacon, you will not be satisfied, but if you like the sound of cereals, yogurt, dried fruits and nuts, as well as a do-it-yourself Sandwich bar with spread, cold cuts and cheese, this is what you need.

I know that eating breakfast buffets at a hotel is not the same as having breakfast in a Swedish house (unless the Swedish house has more than 30 items to choose from), so I asked Jessica j (aka the swedish chef), Swedish reader of Serious Eats, to describe me. I showed her my photos; she pointed out what was good and what was wrong. Considering that the hotels offered dishes for more than Sweden (“bacon and eggs?…we do it for the English”), I discovered that I had eaten a lot “badly”.”

Of course, you can eat whatever you want, but here are some guidelines to help you have your breakfast the Swedish way.

Butter, cheese, ham, liver pate, pickles, pickles, tomatoes and raw peppers (Swedish “Paprika”) are standard toppings for breakfast sandwiches placed on bread (usually slightly sweetened black bread) or cracker-like crusty bread. Example of sandwiches: spread with liver pate, garnished with pickles, or spread with butter and garnished with cheese, pepper and cucumber.

Boiled or soft-boiled eggs (most Buffets I ate offered both) can be eaten whole and stuffed with a little Tube caviar (the brand I saw most often is Kalle) or cut on bread or crusty bread and topped with caviar. (You can also eat caviar simply on crusty bread, but it goes well with The egg.)

Cereals are usually cereals consumed with Filmjölk (a product similar to buttermilk) or yogurt and mixed with dried fruits and nuts.

Jam is usually not eaten with bread, but mixed in a bowl of natural yogurt with dried fruits and nuts. Yogurt is also available in different flavors. Swedish yogurt is runny, a little more liquid than typical American yogurt, but it is not drinkable.

Cereals and yogurt are the main sweet parts of breakfast; no Muffins, Croissants or other pastries.

Bacon, eggs, sausages, meatballs and French soft cheese were common items on my breakfast buffet, but these are not common Swedish breakfast dishes-they are more aimed at tourists.

Pickled herring or other types of fish are also not common for breakfast, but they could be eaten at lunch.

Pancakes are eaten not for breakfast, but on Thursdays after eating pea soup for lunch. Unfortunately, the Tradition of eating this meal on Thursdays is not so common nowadays.

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