Anatomy of a Smörgåsbord

Sweden Travel
by Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström Apr 7, 2009
Ever wondered what a typical smörgåsbord includes? Matador Goods editor Lola Akinmade goes hunting for the usual suspects.

You’ve probably heard the word thrown around to represent a large mix of various elements – a smörgåsbord of features, a smörgåsbord of activities, etc.

Well, this Swedish word traditionally refers to a buffet-style spread of small dishes – mostly cold with a few hot plates.

From mounds of herring and salmon to various cold salads and meats, some of the usual suspects have been identified below.

Mustard herring, tomato herring, pickled herring…you name it. As long as condiments exist, you’ll find some form of herring doused or drenched in them.

If the taste of herring overpowers you, dig into alternative plates of smoked, poached, baked, or pinwheeled salmon that’s always available.

Move over leafy greens, cold salads such as red beet salad, pea salad, and mushroom salad regularly make appearances.

Various pâtés, terrines, and cold meats such as dried ham and smoked lamb provide a welcome change from seafood.

For the die-hard carnivores amongst us, roast beef, pork, and sometimes reindeer meat are offered to appease meat eaters.

A smörgåsbord without shellfish? Heresy!

Ketchup? Fries? Not here. Side dishes include yellow almond potatoes, roe, and black caviar…the cheap kind.

And of course, if it’s got a crust and is filled with either almond paste, marzipan, or vanilla sauce, you’ll find it at the dessert table.

Photos by Lola Akinmade.

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