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August 08, 2011

Crayfish Season 2011 has arrived

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LATEST NEWS NOTE:   We accept pre-orders, but only online for pick up in store (frozen delivery WILL be available later on this month also).  So, if you want to order now for pick up later in August or September (because you know, there is always that risk of selling out), go to the online shop, place the order and MARK IN THE NOTES WHAT DAY YOU WILL PICK UP.  That way, your crayfish will be reserved at our warehouse and only brought to the store on the day you need it.  Simple.   Start shopping here

How to celebrate the crayfish season the Swedish way

Every year, the Swedes and Finns celebrate the crayfish season in August and September.  It is traditionally the only time you should host crayfish parties.  This used to be the law, now it is simply just traditional to do it only during this time.

A crayfish party is simple. You first of all need to invite some friends.  Secondly, you need to get hold of some crayfish that have been cooked in a dill brine.  Add to this some strong Scandinavian aquavit and some “fillers” (because you need fillers when drinking aquavit and eating tiny crayfish) and you’re set to go.  Bibs are advisable – hats are fun.

To explain some of the components in more detail:

The crayfish – by this most Swedes will mean the pre-cooked packets of crayfish that come frozen.  Of course, some people (but very few) bother to go out on the lake at dusk and catch the little buggers, then cook them in brine and leave them for flavours to develop over 24 hours... it is a lot of work.  One person will eat around 500-700 grams of crayfish on their own (around 10-14 crayfish) so you’d have to catch a lot of fish to make a big party.  If you get the frozen packs, all you need to do is defrost in fridge overnight, then pop the cold, defrosted crayfish on a tray and you are simply ready to go.  

The aquavit – is a strong grain based alcohol popular all over Scandinavia.  Serve super chilled in shot glasses.  The old saying goes “one shot for each claw” but really, that would make you unable to have any conversations for a few days, so best stick to a moderate amount.  Supplement with a good Scandinavian lager such as Tuborg or God Lager.  We recommend any of the aquavits from any Scandi country – from the Danish Aalborg Taffel to the Swedish OP Anderson or Hallands Flaeder...  if you are having a party with lots of Scandinavians, plan for ¼ bottle per person minimum.  Non Scandies can get away with less.

The “fillers” – most popular filler is a big slab of the amazing Vasterbotten cheese along with a selection of crisp bread and perhaps some crusty bread too.  Some people like to serve boiled potatoes or salad – and some like to start with a big bowl of pickled herring.  A wonderful idea for a filler is to also make a Vasterbotten Paj – a quiche made from Vasterbotten cheese, a mature strong Swedish cheese.  We serve this with romsas – a dressing made from 1 jar of kaviar (lumpfish roe) mixed with 200 ml of sourcream.  Simple.

Hats and bibs – because it looks fun and festive.  The bibs are pretty practical although any kid of paper bib will do, except the baby kind obviously.

Sing Song – you must sing songs, ideally in Swedish.  Don’t worry, after your 2nd shot of aquavit, you will be fluent in Swedish anyway, even if the closest you’ve ever been to Sweden is owning flat packed furniture.  You can download our little leaflet of songs right here LINK TO COME.  We have chosen a mixture of Swedish and English songs. 

A crayfish party is not a short event.  It takes hours and it is important you pace yourself or else you end up being the person who fell asleep in the garden shed before 9 pm.  Gather your friends, enjoy some delightful food where the crayfish is your centrepiece – and sing some songs.  That really is what it is all about.

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What you need for a Crayfish Party

CRAYFISH – budget 500-700g per person (,ore if mainly Swedes attend, less if people are not used to crayfish, they will not eat as much).  So, for ten people you need between 5 and 7 kg, depending on how greedy you all are. 

Vasterbotten cheese – get a big slab of cheese, place it on the table with a cheese slicer and some butter.

Crispbread – we recommend Leksands as it looks amazing on the table and people can break off pieces as they need it.  Another good one is Wasa Sport or Falu Ragrut.

Aquavit – a traditional must.  OP Anderson or a selection of 10 Swedish mini bottles is a nice choice.

Vasterbotten Paj – make your own using the Vasterbotten cheese - or pre-order a large pie from us (min 48 hours notice) for £19.95 (16 slices). Mail iwantfood@scandikitchen.co.uk to pre-order.

We also suggest some nice Swedish herring to start with – the ABBAS mustard herring is very nice – and perhaps a jar of the French onion herring would work well.

Other interesting Swedish cheeses that would work well if you want to extend your cheeseboard would be PRAST OST (mature) or the creamy Asada ost – mild but full of flavour.

To get a full shopping list from our online shop, CLICK HERE
 



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