Let’s get one thing straight from the start. I’m not Swedish, I just happen to live in Stockholm. I’m from Finland. My boyfriend is from Australia. Midsummer is part of my culture and my boy friend has embraced it with open arms.
Having said that, we don’t spend midsummer dancing around a maypole pretending to be small frogs. We’ve got our own traditions that involve Champagne and BBQ. No sill allowed!
Step 1 – Catch a big salmon in Lapland
I happened to spend some time in northern Finland last summer. During that trip, I was forced – against my will – to go salmon fishing. As luck would have it, during my very first descent of the Teno River, I hooked a 7,5 kg salmon. Needless to say my father was very proud of me.
I brought the fish back to Stockholm with me – sliced in fillets and vacuum packed. It’s been sitting in our freezer for nearly a year now. Midsummer seemed the perfect occasion to finally defrost and grill the beast.
My boy friend the grill master did the honors and the prize salmon was served up with cooked potatoes, a green salad, and tomato-mozzarella salad. A nice cold beer and/or glass of chilled champagne was the perfect accompaniment.
Step 2 – Procure giant meatbox from Taylors & Jones
No Aussie-style midsummer is complete without meat. Lots of meat, preferably barbecued. To that end, a giant meat box that contained 2,000 sek worth of meat was procured. Said meat box from British butchers Taylors & Jones (in Kungsholmen) contained:
- 8 matured steaks(8x175gms)
- 8 marinaded chicken fillets
- 8 boneless pork chops
- 8 beef burgers
- 8 lamb burgers
- 4 x BBQ ribs
- 14 thick South African pork sausages
- 14 thick Brazilian beef sausages
- Potato salad.
Ok, so perhaps we were a bit ambitious in our meat procurement. We only managed to eat half the sausages…. but damn they were good! Its a long weekend and we have a bunch of Kiwis (That’s folks from New Zealand) arriving on sunday so the rest will be consumed no doubt.
Step 3 – Attempt to bake a strawberry cake
Being a Finn, a cream stuffed strawberry -banana cake is a part of summer. My mom makes the best strawberry cake in the world as far as I’m concerned. For years I’ve been trying to match her skills. Alas 2011 was not that year.
My attempt, while tasting good, turned out rather lop-sided. But it was baked with love and enjoyed with a good cup of coffee. Coffee that I had imported from Belgium just a few weeks earlier – in my not-so-humble opinion, Swedish coffee in general is rubbish.
Maybe next year I’ll managed to make a cake that sits straight…
Step 4 – Invite a bunch of non-Swedes over
Oh yeah. I almost forgot. We had guests. Magnus is one of my bf’s best friends. They are dive-buddies and beer buddies. Magnus runs a website about the terror of land mines. Kudos to him for that.
Niccola on the other hand is Italian. He moved to Sweden in September last year and has been blogging about his life as an Italian ecologist in Sweden. This was his first midsummer in Sweden. While non-traditional – no maypoles or smågrodorna – he did witness three swedish girls skinny dipping in the lake under my balcony.
Finally Matteo, another Italian friend, popped over for a brief visit.
Step 5 – ??
Booze. The fridge was stocked with lots and lots of booze ranging from Champagne and wine to various types of beer and stronger spirits. Again we had slightly over-estimated our ability to actually consume said alcohol.
We started with champagne: Brut Divin from Piper & Heidseick and a Grand Cru from Pierre Péters. Both were blanc de blancs meaning they were made with only white grapes. There was also a bottle of Nicholas Feuillatte.
As for the beer, we had Olvi from Finland and Zubr from Poland. We never made it to the snaps and vodka shots, the Champagne kept us pleasantly buzzed all night.
Step 6 – Profit
Or in this case, eat. And eat, and eat, and eat til you can’t eat no more and enjoy the midsummer sunset-ish.