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CHRISTMAS

Christmas in Sweden: The 10 best julbord in the Malmö area

No matter if you're a meat-eater, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan, there's a traditional Swedish Christmas meal either in or near Malmö just for you. Here are The Local's suggestions for 2021's best julbord.

a julbord christmas buffet featuring herring, christmas ham, bread and cheese
Wondering where you should book your julbord in Malmö? Read on for our tips. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The Swedish julbord is an extensive spread that has evolved from a variety of traditions and today consists of an elaborate buffet of typical Christmas food. It is popular not only to sit down for a julbord on Christmas Eve with family, but also to go out for a special julbord meal at a restaurant in the run-up to Christmas – with family, friends or colleagues. See here for the low-down on the Swedish julbord.

All prices listed are per person, unless otherwise stated.

Traditional julbord:

These julbord are some of the most traditional you can get. With a focus on good quality meat and fish, they cater to those with no special requirements – although they may be able to accommodate special diets with advance notice.

1. Staffanstorps Gästis

Staffantorps Gästis has an impressive selection of herring – with a herring buffet based on the Scanian Herring Academy’s original recipes. Visitors to this julbord can also enjoy game, hams, cheese and salmon, alongside julbord classics like meatballs and prinskorv sausages.

When: Available between November 19th and December 24th.

Price: 450 kronor for lunch on weekdays. 565 kronor for Thursday nights and 650 kronor on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Kids under 13 pay 25 kronor per year of age.

2. Årstiderna i Kockska Huset

Årstiderna’s traditional julbord is served by candlelight in their 500-year-old building in the centre of Malmö. This year, their julbord is mostly table-service, with the exception being the herring course – served as a traditional buffet.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can upgrade to their lyxjul (“luxury Christmas”) julbord featuring lobster and champagne.

When: Available from December 3rd.

Price: Eat-in: 625 kronor. Take-away: 525 kronor. Lyxjul with lobster and champagne: 995 kronor.

No julbord is complete without the traditional Christmas ham. Photo: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se

3. Gourmetgården Katrinetorp

Katrinetorps Landeri in Svågertorp is home to foodie-favourite restaurant Gourmetgården. Gourmetgården’s julbord is another traditional offering, with a focus on locally-sourced food, much of which comes from their own kitchen garden, open to the public.

Their julbord features classics such as gravad lax and ham, and is served in their 19th-century restaurant, which will be suitably decorated for the Christmas season.

When: December 11-12th and 18th-19th.

Price: 550 kronor for adults, 295 kronor for children under 12.

4. Grand Deli in Lund

Grand Deli in Lund offers a takeaway julbord for those who want to enjoy the hotel’s julbord in the comfort of their own home. Food is provided in disposable packaging, ready to warm up in your oven or microwave, so perfect if you are hosting guests and don’t feel like cooking.

Grand’s julbord features a number of dishes from Scanian producers, such as Grand’s own meatballs and mustard herring, gravad lax and hot smoked salmon from Vallåkra smokery, south of Helsingborg, prinskorv sausages from Hässleholm in northern Skåne, and smoked onion sausage from Tollarp in northeast Skåne.

If a julbord is too much food for you, you can book Grand’s two- or three-course Christmas menu instead, featuring halibut and Scanian venison.

When: Available from December 1st-23rd.

Price: Takeaway julbord: 445 kronor. Three-course Christmas menu: 790 kronor for two people. Two-course Christmas menu: 650 kronor for two people.

Swedish christmas herring
Many of the places on this list make their own pickled herring. Photo: OTW/imagebank.sweden.se

5. Sankt Gertrud

Sankt Gertrud, situated in a cobbled square in Malmö’s Caroli district, is offering a “jul-sharing” this year, meaning that its julbord will be served at-table rather than in the traditional buffet format.

A popular choice for company julbord bookings, Sankt Gertrud’s julbord offers Christmas-themed small plates, followed by two warm dishes, finishing with a saffron and lingonberry pannacotta.

Those looking for a more luxurious julbord can order extra sparkling wine or apple-based glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and canapés, a cheese plate or homemade sweets.

In previous years, Sankt Gertrud has offered good vegetarian subsitutes when ordered in advance, so this may be a good option for non-meat eaters.

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays from November 24th to December 18th.

Price: 555 kronor including tax, 495 kronor without tax (e.g. for companies ordering a julbord). Add-ons cost between 65-195 kronor without tax.

Vegetarian and vegan-friendly:

The above restaurants may offer vegetarian options if you ask, but we know that the ones below offer great vegetarian and vegan options, alongside the more traditional meat and fish dishes. Good choices if not everyone in your party eats meat.

janssons temptation
Jansson’s temptation, a dish made using cream and sprats, is usually off-limits for vegetarians and vegans – but there are some places where they can enjoy this Christmas treat. Photo: OTW/imagebank.sweden.se

6. Anita’s på Börringekloster

Anita’s på Börringekloster is known for its buffets, and its julbord is no exception. It offers everything you could want, including meatballs, Jansson’s temptation, herring, cheese and Christmas ham, alongside a number of vegetarian dishes.

If you’d like a completely vegan option, Anita’s also offers a vegan julbord for two days only, with vegan versions of traditional herring and meat dishes.

When and price:

Julbord brunch: November 28th, December 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th. 375 kronor.

Vegan julbord: December 3rd 6-9pm – 475 kronor. December 4th 12-3pm – 375 kronor.

Traditional julbord: Booking only – contact restaurant for details. 475 kronor.

Christmas dinner: Four course julbord menu – booking only. 495 kronor.

7. Adventkyrkan

Seventh-day Adventist church Adventkyrkan on Östra Rönneholmsvägen in Malmö offers the only entirely vegetarian julbord on this list.

Their julbord features gravad lax based on carrots, herring made from aubergine, as well as vegan and vegetarian versions of popular dishes such as Västerbotten cheese pie and Jansson’s temptation.

When: November 28th.

Price: 300 kronor for adults, 100 kronor for children over 6.

ängavallen vegetable farm

Ängavallen organic farm in Vellinge has a julbord featuring the best of their produce – both meat and vegetables. Photo: Conny Fridh/imagebank.sweden.se

8. Ängavallen, Vellinge

Organic farm Ängavallen in Vellinge, south of Malmö, may be known for their meat, but their julbord also has some vegetarian offerings. Most of the ingredients for their julbord are sourced from their own farm, with a focus on animal health and welfare, stress-free slaughter and meat without antibiotics.

Their julbord is, unsurprisingly, very meaty, with patés, hams, terrines and ribs served alongside organic pickled herring, smoked, salted and cured salmon. Vegetarian dishes will also be served – contact the restaurant directly if you would like more details. Organic glögg (Swedish mulled wine), coffee and an appetiser upon arrival are included in the price.

When: December 3rd-5th and 9th-12th

Price: 765 kronor for adults. Half price for children aged 4-12, children under 4 only pay for drinks. All children will receive a goodie-bag of sweets.

9. Rådhuskällaren

Rådhuskällaren is another restaurant known for its meaty dishes – with Swedish classics like wallenbergare (breadcrumbed calf patties served with butter) often featuring on their menus.

Their traditional julbord is no different – all the classic warm and cold dishes you would expect, as well as a dessert buffet, served in their restaurant situated in the cellar of Malmö’s town hall.

Somewhat unexpectedly, they also offer a vegan julbord, served at-table instead of buffet-style, available via prebooking. This features pickled herring alternatives made from mushrooms, vegetarian meatballs made from chickpeas alongside vegan dessert options.

When: November 25th-December 22nd. Also served at lunchtime from December 6th.

Price: Tuesday-Sunday evenings, 550 kronor. All other evenings as well as lunches, 475 kronor. Children up to 12 years: 175 kronor.

Enjoy a warm glass of glögg before your meal at Bosjökloster in Höör. Photo: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se

10. Bosjökloster, Höör

Monastery Bosjökloster in Höör is, admittedly, not particularly close to Malmö. It takes around 40 minutes to drive there from Malmö, or just over an hour via public transport – so this is definitely more of a day-trip option.

This julbord, described as a julbordsupplevelse or “julbord experience”, offers visitors the chance to start their evening with a glögg by the fire in the castle, while listening to stories (in Swedish) from Bosjökloster’s history. Attendees will then walk through candlelit hallways through to a seasonally-decorated hall, where a julbord based on home-made dishes as well as products from local producers will be served.

Vegans, vegetarians and pescetarians can also enjoy this julbord – just remember to include this information in your booking.

When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from December 3rd-19th

Price: 545 kronor for adults (with glögg and stories by the fire: 575 kronor). Children aged 12-14, 325 kronor. Children aged 6-11, 225 kronor. Children aged 1-6, 95 kronor.

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For members

SWEDISH TRADITIONS

OPINION: Seven things that make Sweden magnificently different

As we gather for Midsummer, Sweden’s unofficial national day, here are seven things we should celebrate about the country that mark it out from the rest, says David Crouch.

OPINION: Seven things that make Sweden magnificently different

With Sweden preparing to abandon its final vestiges of neutrality to become a Nato member, many are asking whether the country is losing the features that have helped to make it distinctively different as a nation. As we gather for Midsummer – Sweden’s unofficial national day – here are seven things we should celebrate about our home that mark the country out from the rest:

1. Midsummer itself

Imagine having a national holiday that has all the cultural significance of Christmas in Europe or Eid in the Muslim world, but which takes place outside when the sun never sets. That, in a nutshell, is Midsummer – all the anticipation, ornament and tradition of a big religious festival, but without the religion and on a day that goes on and on forever. The whole country moves outdoors and mingles with family, friends and neighbours. It’s like an annual street-party with added singing, dancing, garlands and games. 

Like many Swedish festivals, Midsummer has Christian roots, originating in celebrations to mark the birthday of St John the Baptist (June 24). But that date handily coincides with the summer solstice and a moment when nature is at its best. Christianity fought it out with paganism, and paganism won. The roots of Midsummer traditions are centuries old, but now the only worship that takes place is veneration of the season and exaltation at being alive. This, in theory at least, makes Midsummer a very inclusive festival that reaches over boundaries of creed, colour, age, class or political outlook.

Photo: Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se

So when you raise a glass of aquavit or skewer a chunk of pickled herring this Friday, you are doing more than enjoying the moment – you are celebrating an aspect of life that is quintessentially Swedish.

2. Support for working families 

When I describe to people back home in Britain the Swedish system of support for families with small children, they go green with envy. I am sure you know the stats already, but it’s worth writing them down, printing them out, nailing them to a piece of wood and making a small shrine in the corner of your living room. Then you should light a candle at the shrine every time you drop off your child at the well-funded kindergarten at 7am, or use one of the 120 days a year you get paid to be at home with the child when it is sick, or whenever you take one of the 480 days paid parental leave you get with each offspring. 

It is usually assumed that this is all a residue of Sweden’s leftist past, but that is only one side of the picture. It is true that Olof Palme, the country’s emblematic left-wing leader, talked in the 1970s about the need to “provide children with a stimulating and diversified environment” outside the home and strengthen “women’s ambitions to achieve equality in working life”. But in fact it was centre-right governments in the mid 70s and early 90s who really watered the seeds that Palme had sown. Sweden’s liberals saw gender inequality as inefficient and a brake on the economy. So the system of early years childcare and parental leave is actually a great Swedish national achievement.

The cost of childcare is capped in Sweden, so you’ll never pay more than a certain figure. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

3. A melting pot 

Love it or loath it (lots of Swedes do), immigration to Sweden is a fact of life. According to this year’s numbers, just over one-third of registered inhabitants of this country have some sort of foreign background, namely they were born abroad or born here to a foreign-born parent – although this also includes those born abroad to Swedish parents. A quarter of the population has a language other than Swedish or one of Sweden’s minority languages as their mother tongue – that’s the highest proportion of any country in the world. 

The transformation from a largely monocultural society has taken place at lightning speed, during barely three decades. One in five of today’s Swedes were born abroad, putting Sweden in 6th or 7th place in the world in terms of the proportion of foreign-born people after Luxembourg, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Israel. The proportion of non-white Swedes is at least 20% (30% among children and young people), which means that Sweden is in 3rd or 4th place in the western world after the USA, Australia, and possibly France.

Speaking personally, I find this hugely stimulating and exciting. Large-scale immigration comes with lots of challenges, but if Sweden can only get it right, it could be a beacon to the world. 

4. The hidden welfare state 

We all know about Sweden’s famous tax-payer funded welfare state, which is now rather frayed around the edges thanks to several decades of upheaval (with the possible exception of childcare, see above). But the country also has a set of large and powerful institutions that together constitute a “hidden” welfare state that even many Swedes are barely aware of. These are the organisations of the omställningssystemet, or transition system. 

A large majority of Swedish companies typically pay 0.3 per cent of their wage bill each year into the trygghetsfonder, or job security councils, which are run by the trade unions. TRR, one of the largest agencies, is backed by about 35,000 private sector companies with nearly 1 million employees – almost a quarter of the workforce. If you lose your job, a job security council will be there to give you counselling and training to help you get back into the workforce as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

The transition system is an important part of explaining how Sweden’s economy maintains its global competitiveness. Helping the unemployed back into work, enabling them to improve their skills or recover from the stresses of redundancy, has a strong economic rationale. It makes it much easier for companies to downsize, restructure, and even close factories altogether. This is a great Swedish invention, and one that deserves much more recognition internationally. 

A customer buying spirits at Systembolaget. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

5. Systembolaget 

Love it or loath it (most Swedes love it), the state alcohol monopoly is a fact of life. In a country that has privatised almost everything that can’t be nailed down – including the postal service, the trains, telephones, schools, elderly care and aviation – Systembolaget sticks out like a sore thumb. As a result, it is easier to find somewhere to play a round of golf in Sweden than a shop where you can buy a bottle of wine over the counter. 

It is paternalistic, moralistic, clumsy and exasperating. But Systembolaget is also a caring institution that represents society as a whole taking responsibility for citizens who are vulnerable to the ill-effects of a dangerous drug. If only the same principle was applied to gambling or pornography, for example, the world would be a better place. More broadly, Systembolaget is an embodiment of public service, an unfashionable but essential element of any functioning society. Hooray for Systembolaget, a great Swedish invention!

6. Gadgets and gizmos

If you have played a game on your telephone today, listened to music online, or video-called a friend, the chances are that you have used technology from a Swedish company. You can bid on a house via SMS, and credit a friend’s bank account instantly with your mobile phone. In the European Commission’s 2021 European Innovation Scoreboard, Sweden again ranked as the most innovative country in the EU, just as it has done ever since the index began in 2001.

The country has far more world-leading tech companies than it should in relation to its population. During this century, Stockholm has developed more billion-dollar tech companies, known as “unicorns”, than any other city in Europe. Successes include names such as Spotify, Skype, iZettle, Klarna, Trustly, Mojang and King. Sweden is currently in a sweet spot for innovative enterprise, creating a fertile environment for people who want to turn ideas into stuff that can actually change the world. 

7. Work-life balance 

In Sweden, 25 days holiday a year are enshrined in law. That means anything less is illegal, irrespective of your age or what you do for a living. Many jobs come with more days off than the statutory minimum. And for many employees, neither weekends, bank holidays (röda dagar), Easter, Pentecost, Midsummer, Christmas or New Year’s Eve are counted as part of your 25 days.

This is a great start for anyone seeking a healthy balance between work and home life. During their frequent days off, Swedes don’t sit around watching daytime TV. The concept of friluftsliv, or open-air life, is deeply embedded in Swedish culture and means spending time in the great outdoors for spiritual and physical wellbeing. The country boasts 25 organisations with 1.7 million members based on friluftsliv, while around a third of Swedes engage in outdoor activities at least once a week. This is closely linked to allemansrätten, the legal right of public access to anywhere in nature. 

But what about all that other crazy Swedish stuff?

I have tried to sum up those features of life in Sweden that are fundamental, structural, or so deeply engrained that one cannot imagine any major change taking place without some sort of major upheaval. But I am sure I have overlooked some things. Do please write to The Local with your suggestions for other reasons to celebrate Sweden and Swedishness here: [email protected] 

David Crouch is the author of Almost Perfekt: How Sweden Works and What Can We Learn From It. He is a freelance journalist and a lecturer in journalism at Gothenburg University.

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