SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

MEMBERSHIP EXCLUSIVES

Goose blood? Five Scanian specialities you may or may not want to try

With its warm climate and fertile land, the southern county of Skåne has some of the best ingredients in Sweden. Here are five of the most famous Scanian delicacies.

Goose blood? Five Scanian specialities you may or may not want to try
A plate of nutritious goose blood soup. Enjoy! Photo: Tanzania/Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the best places to sample Skåne's delicacies are in the traditional gästgiveri or gästis found in the country towns of Sweden's most southerly county. You will need a healthy appetite!

Äggakaka

This artery-stopping, blubbery pancake, fried in pig fat and butter, and served with slices of fried smoked pork, is something you should only really eat if you're going to spend the rest of the day harvesting the fields. And indeed, it was originally given to labourers to keep them going during the autumn harvest.
 
With five eggs to 400ml of milk, and just 100g of flour, it's almost an omelette. It is traditionally served with smoked pork or bacon, chopped white cabbage, and jam made from lingonberries. Some of Skåne's gästis restaurants celebrate harvest-time with all-you-can-eat äggakaka. Be very careful.
 
If you want to try making it yourself, here's our favourite recipe.


Äggakaka is somewhere between a pancake and an omelette. Photo: Sinikka Halme/Wikipedia Commons

The Eel dinner or 'Ålagille'
 
Ålahue, or 'eel-head', is perhaps the best of Skåne's rich stock of insults, and it reflects the eel fisheries which used to abound on the east coast around the town of Åhus, and in the county's inland waters.
 
 
The abundant fish used to be the centre of traditional eel-eating parties or ålagille, where people in Skåne would gather to scoff as many of the slimy, snake-like fish as they could. A traditional eel dinner features the fish cooked in just about every way you can imagine: fried, boiled in soup, hot smoked, salted, and more. 
 
A dramatic decline in eel stocks in 2007 led to a ban on fishing eel in Sweden, but the regulation allowed fishermen “for whom eel is an important part of their economy” to apply for a permit, meaning eel fishing still continues.
 
You can still see smoked eel advertised at smokeries around the county's lakes and coast and Åhus will still hold its traditional eel festival this year.
 
An ålagille feast being prepared in Åhus. Photo: Ålacompaniet
 
St Martin's Day Goose
 
In the weeks around November 10th, Skåne, like France and other countries, celebrates the festival of St Martin with lavish goose dinners which use everything from the goose except the beak.
 
Perhaps the most famous St Martin dish is the sweet and sour svartsoppa, or 'black soup', made from the blood and stock of the goose, seasoned with mashed fruit, spices and brandy. Aficionados buy frozen goose blood in plastic bags to make it at home. The soup is traditionally served with offal such as the liver, the heart, the neck, and also with the wings.
 
 
A bowl of svartsoppa served at a St Martin's Day dinner. Photo: Andreas Nilsson/Flickr
 
Spettekaka
 
Spettekaka, which literally means 'cake on a spit', is a sweet, meringue-like cake, made and sold all over Skåne.
 
It is made by dripping a batter made of eggs, potato flour and sugar onto a skewer which is then rotated over a heat source, traditionally an open fire. The resulting confection looks spectacular but is extremely fragile and needs to be carefully cut with a hacksaw to prevent it shattering. 
 
For big festive occasions, you might see a spettekaka a metre or more in height. The record, baked in Sjöbo in 1985 was 3.6 metres high. Versions of spit cakes can be found across Europe, with varieties in Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. 
 
It is very dry, so is best washed down with copious cups of powerful coffee, ice cream or port wine.

 
A spettekaka cake. Photo: Charles J Sharp/Wikimedia Commons
 
Brännesnuda
 
This hearty winter soup is surprisingly healthy, with hefty quantities of leek, carrots, parsnips and cabbage far outweighing the ham hock that gives it its flavour. It is served with grainy Scanian mustard, grated horseradish and chopped parsley.
 
It can really demonstrate the quality of vegetables grown in Skåne and is probably best consumed at the home of a friendly Skåning.
 
READ MORE ABOUT LIFE IN SKÅNE:

Member comments

  1. Äggakaka is absolutely wonderful! The key is finely chopped apples; ideally a bright or sour variety, combined with the cabbage. It balances the heavy, velvety äggakaka, and smoky grease flavours (we use bacon).

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

FOOD & DRINK

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Do you know your biskvi from your bakelse? Your chokladboll from your kanelbulle? Here's a guide guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Kanelbulle

The most famous of all Swedish cakes outside Sweden, the classic kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) is the symbol of Sweden abroad, no doubt helped by the fact that Swedish furniture giants IKEA stock frozen buns in their food stores for customers to bake off at home.

Forget American tear-apart cinnamon rolls baked in a pan and slathered with cream cheese frosting: a classic Swedish cinnamon bun is baked individually using a yeasted dough spread with cinnamon sugar and butter. The dough is then rolled up, sliced into strips which are then stretched out and knotted into buns, baked, glazed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Home-made varieties skip the stretching and knotting step, rolling the cinnamon-sprinkled dough into a spiral instead which, although less traditional, tastes just as good.

Kanelbullar in Sweden often include a small amount of Sweden’s favourite spice: cardamom. If you’re a fan of cardamom, try ordering the kanelbulle‘s even more Swedish cousin, the kardemummabulle or cardamom bun, which skips the cinnamon entirely and goes all-out on cardamom instead.

Sweden celebrates cinnamon bun day (kanelbullens dag) on October 4th.

Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/imagebank.sweden.se

Chokladboll

A great option if you want a smaller cake for your fika, the chokladboll or ‘chocolate ball’ is a perfect accompaniment to coffee – some recipes even call for mixing cold coffee into the batter.

They aren’t baked and are relatively easy to make, meaning they are a popular choice for parents (or grandparents) wanting to involve children in the cake-making process.

Chokladbollar are a simple mix of sugar, oats, melted butter and cocoa powder, with the optional addition of vanilla or coffee, or occasionally rum extract. They are rolled into balls which are then rolled in desiccated coconut (or occasionally pearl sugar), and placed in the fridge to become more solid.

Some bakeries or cafés also offer dadelbollar or rawbollar/råbollar (date or raw balls), a vegan alternative made from dried dates and nuts blended together with cocoa powder.

Chocolate ball day (chokladbollens dag) falls on May 11th.

Photo: Magnus Carlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Prinsesstårta

The lime-green prinsesstårta or ‘princess cake’ may look like a modern invention with it’s brightly-coloured marzipan covering, but it has been around since the beginning of the 1900s, and is named after three Swedish princesses, Margareta, Märta and Astrid, who were supposedly especially fond of the cake.

The cake consists of a sponge bottom spread with jam, crème pâtissière and a dome of whipped cream, covered in green marzipan and some sort of decoration, often a marzipan rose.

Prinsesstårtor can also be served in individual portions, small slices of a log which are then referred to as a prinsessbakelse.

Although the cakes are popular all year round, in the Swedish region of Småland, prinsesstårta is eaten on the first Thursday in March, due to this being the unofficial national day of the Småland region (as the phrase första torsdagen i mars is pronounced fössta tossdan i mass in the Småland dialect).

Since 2004, the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners has designated the last week of September as prinsesstårtans vecka (Princess cake day).

Photo: Sinikka Halme, Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.

Budapestbakelse

Belonging to the more traditional cakes, a Budapestbakelse or “Budapest slice” is a type of rulltårta or “roll cake” similar to a Swiss roll, consisting of a light and crispy cake made from whipped egg whites, sugar and hazelnut, filled with whipped cream and fruit, often chopped conserved peaches, nectarines or mandarines, and rolled into a log.

The log is then sliced into individual portions and drizzled with chocolate, then often topped with whipped cream and a slice of fruit. 

Despite its name, the Budapest slice has nothing to do with the city of Budapest – it was supposedly invented by baker Ingvar Strid in 1926 and received the name due to Strid’s love for the Hungarian capital.

Of course, the Budapestbakelse also has its own day – May 1st.

Kanelbullar (left), chokladbollar (centre) and biskvier (right). Photo: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se

Biskvi

Another smaller cake, a biskvi (pronounced like the French biscuit), consists of an almond biscuit base, covered in buttercream (usually chocolate flavoured), and dark chocolate.

Different variants of biskvier exist, such as a Sarah Bernhardt, named after the French actress of the same name, which has chocolate truffle instead of buttercream.

You might also spot biskvier with white chocolate, often with a hallon (raspberry) or citron (lemon) filling, or even saffransbiskvier around Christmastime.

Chokladbiskviens dag is celebrated on November 11th.

SHOW COMMENTS