After the long dark winter, the summer solstice is a time to party. The Midsommar Eve celebration in Sweden is on the Friday between June 19th and the 26th. This year it will be on June 24th. It is a really BIG event in Sweden. Friday evening is filled with the raising of the decorated maypole (majstång), singing, dancing, drinking, and all matter of tomfollery. A traditional smörgåsbord and ice-cold snaps are also part of the festivities. If you want to try this tradition, create the perfect setting by dressing a long table outdoors. Use bright tableware and napkins. Put candles and yellow, white and blue flowers in vases on the table. Gather your family and special friends. Make, and wear, midsommar wreaths. The menu is seasonal and special, but also easy to put together. For a taste of Sweden, have everyone serves themselves herring, poached or cured salmon, skagen (shrimp salad), boiled new potatoes, sour cream with chives, crispbread and aged cheese. Västerbotten cheese is the traditionally served Swedish cheese. You may want to keep some meatballs and mild cheese on hand for children. Serve chilled snaps for the adults. Beer and water are suitable table drinks. For dessert nothing beats fresh strawberries, traditionally the first local strawberries of the season, and whipped cream.
- Fresh flowers with long stems
- Floral wire
- Grapevine (optional)
If using grapevine, create a circle the size that will fit as a crown and wire together. Add flowers and secure with wire were needed.
If using only stems, stagger flowers. You can make a simple daisy chain by cutting a small slit in the stem and slipping another flower thru it. Create a chain long enough to circle your head and attach with wire or tie together with some flexible stems to form the circle. Alternatively, use the floral wire to wrap new blooms onto steams as you go until you have made a circle to fit around your head. Cut off any errant stems.
Snaps or Aquavit
This is not Schnapps (fruit brandy) or the peppermint syrup from college ski trips. You can purchase authentic Aquavit in the States, North Shore Distillery makes a very nice one, or infuse your own vodka. To keep it chilled create an ice block around the bottle. Freeze it in water, in a milk carton. The alcohol content will keep the snaps from freezing too. You can add flowers, or other trinkets to the water. Tear away the carton when it is solidly frozen. Be sure to place on a tray before putting it on the table.
People who like herring often love it. Everyone should be encouraged to try a little taste. I buy herring in glass jars at my local grocery, warehouse club, or IKEA. I like to serve a couple of varieties. Look for tomato sauce, mustard sauce, white wine, and cream herring. My sister-in-law, Carina, taught me a great trick. Look at the ingredients to see if anything can be freshened up for serving. I have learned that the cream variety can be greatly improved upon by rinsing and serving in fresh sour cream and chives. Mustard sauce herring can also often benefit from a little extra mustard and a sprinkling of fresh dill.
Taste of Midsommar Menu
- Pickled Herring
- Poached salmon or cured salmon
- Meatballs (optional)
- Skagen (shrimp salad) on toast points, topped with 1 tsp salmon roe caviar if available
- Boiled new potatoes
- Sour cream
- Chopped chives
- Crispbread (like Wasa brand)
- Aged Cheese
- Whipped cream
One More Thing…
According to legend, if a girl picks seven or nine different kinds of flowers on Midsommar’s Eve, and lays them under her pillow to sleep, she will dream of her future husband.