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41 posts categorized "Our Scandinavia"

June 19, 2014

"Jordgubbstårta" Midsummer Layer Cake - the recipe


Ahhhh.... This is such a nice cake. It tastes of summer. Pure summer. We re-tested the recipe last night and the result lasted only for as long as it took us to eat it. With second helpings. 

For us, no Midsummer is complete without strawberrry layercakes, also known as "Jordgubbsstårta".

If you want to cheat and make it easy for yourself, cheat's notes are at the bottom of the post. We do feel that it is worth the effort, though, to make everything from scratch.

For the Strawberry layers

700g strawberries, washed, trimmed and sliced

75g raspberry jam

For the vanilla patisserie cream

NOTE: Needs to be cooled before using in the cake or the cream will split.

1 vanilla pod

500ml whole milk

6 egg yolks

140g caster sugar

45g corn flour

Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add to a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil. Take care not to burn and turn off heat as soon as boiling point is reached.

Whisk egg yolk and sugar until it goes almost white, then turn off the whisk and add the corn flour.  Turn the whisk back on medium and slowly add the hot milk to the bowl, whisking continuously.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute to thicken. Turn off, sieve the mixture into a bowl, cling film and cool down completely in the fridge before using.

For the cake layers

5 eggs

150g caster sugar

130g plain flour

1 tsp. vanilla sugar

How to:

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

Trace 3 identical circles onto baking paper – approximately 20-22 cm diameter.  Place baking paper onto flat baking trays.

Whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. The key here, is to whisk for a long time to incorporate as much air as possible as there are not raising agents in the mixture.

Sift flour and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold, very carefully, until completely incorporated. Preserve as much air as possible, so fold carefully but thoroughly.

Carefully divide the batter between the three circles and ensure batter fills the circles all the way around, neatly.

Bake in the oven until just golden brown and done – this will depend on your oven, but 5-6 minutes is usually fine.

Remove from and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.  Very carefully remove the baking paper – if it sticks, wet the back of the paper a little bit and it should come off with more ease.

For the Whipped Cream

700ml whipping cream

2 tbs icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar

On high speed, whisk all ingredients until stiff peaks form. The cream needs to be quite firm to hold when decorating the cake - but take care not to over whip.

Divide the cream into two equal portions.  Fold one half of the whipped cream together with the cold vanilla patisserie cream until completely incorporated (The other half is used to decorate the final cake).

Place the first layer cake on the plate you wish to serve on. Spread a nice layer of raspberry jam, follow by a 1cm thick layer of the patisserie cream / whipped cream mixture. Add a good handful of sliced strawberries evenly spread out. Add another cake layer and repeat over again and then add the final cake layer on top (You may have a bit of excess custard cream left).

Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the top of the cake. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, add the rest of the whipped cream and pipe carefully around the edge of the cake in an up-and-down motion until the sides are completely covered. If you do not have a piping bag, you can use the palette knife for this and just make smooth edges.  If you prefer less cream and a more rustic look you can omit the cream around the edges all together.

Finish by adding the remaining strawberries on the top of the cake. It doesn’t have to look too arranged – just scatter them so the cake is evenly covered.

This cake greatly improves after a few hours in the fridge so all the flavours are soaked into the cake layers.

Cheat Notes:

Cake layers – in speciality shop, you can buy sponge layers already baked. (Scandi Kitchen sells ‘Lagkage bunde’ – already come split into three layers). 

Crème patisserie: We stock a product called 'Kagecreme' from Maizana which is sachet of instant creme patisserie. Mix one sachet with 500ml cold milk, wait ten minutes and it is ready to use.

Substituting with custard will not give you the exact same result, but you CAN do it at a push – but don’t use half and half, use ¼ custard to ¾ whipped cream volume. Omit the sugar in the whipped cream as custard is really sweet.


June 12, 2014

Midsummer the Danish way


Danes celebrate Midsummer differently to the Swedes. So, if you fancy doing it a bit different this year, follow this mini-guide

Pick the right date

Midsummer in Denmark is mostly known as Sankt Hans Aften, and is celebrated on 23rd June. We don’t move the date around like the Swedes do. In some parts of the British Isles St John's Eve is observed at the same time. They're essentially the same event.

Collect a lot of sticks

In a similar way to our British and Irish cousins, Danish midsummer is all about bonfires. Ideally on a beach or in a town square. Big, huge bonfires. Start collecting twigs now; you'll need a lot.


Get back into witch burnings

Top off your bonfire with a few straw witches dressed in old lady clothes. Legend says that on the longest night of the year, you burn a few witches and send them off to Brocken mountain in Germany to dance with the Devil. Some stuff the witches with firecrackers, which is not a good idea and quite possibly against the law here. Yes, it’s a bit like Guy Fawkes except it’s not about blowing up parliaments. 

Have a summery dinner with friends and family

Every Scandi tradition revolves around food.  Because the bonfire is not lit until 10pm, you have plenty of time for a Danish midsummer buffet in the garden. In the rain. It is likely to be raining at some point. Don't forget umbrellas.

The-North-East-Skinny-Dip (1)

Find an excuse to go skinny dipping

This is where we deviate from the Brits. If you happen to celebrate by the beach, you'll need minimal encouragement to get your kit off for a swim. In town squares, wait and see what everybody else fancies doing. But do accept that sometimes the skinny dipping doesn’t happen. 


Bake snobrød

The Danes believe they invented snobrød, which are pieces of bread dough rolled around a wooden stick and cooked on the bonfire. If you've ever seen campfire twisted bread, you'll have a good idea of what snobrød is, because it is the same thing.

Eat your snobrød

It’s unlikely that the snobrød will actually ever bake properly, unless you twist and turn it for about two hours over the last embers of the bonfire - and who wants to do that? If you can get the half-baked dough off the stick, fill the hole with strawberry jam. It doesn’t taste any nicer, but it sure doesn't make it any worse. Eating unbaked dough will leave you with a stomach ache - all part of the experience.



Sausages! You need sausages. Throw them onto the fire, scramble around looking for them with a stick, poke them until you’re sure they're on fire, remove from bonfire. Eat. Burn tongue. Enjoy. Make your kids do the same to help them develop fond memories of Danish Midsummer on the beach.


Vi elsker vort land

We Love Our Country is a song also known as 'Midsommervisen' - the midsummer song. It's an old hymn about midsummer and how much we love our country. Nobody ever knows the second verse. However, everyone knows the modern version by Shu-bi-dua, an old Danish pop group. We all prefer this version.  Someone will play other songs by Shu-bi-dua. We may all join in with their classic song (There Is A) Dogshit In My Garden, because this is how Danes roll. We all giggle.

The guy with the guitar

If you see the guy with the guitar, either run or stay close, depending on how you feel. He will almost certainly have a beard and look a bit like Thor (if Thor was born in 1971). He usually sings with his eyes closed. His name is Bent. Or Kaj. Or Flemming. He will encourage everybody to hold hands.

Drink Tuborg

You’re on the beach, man. Drink beer. If you go to the beach with someone’s parents, they will bring a box (yes, a box) of wine and plastic glasses half full of sand. Stick to Tuborg. You've been warned.

Ha' en dejlig midsommer aften!


How to celebrate midsummer the Swedish way


Wherever you are in the world at midsummer time, you will be able to find gatherings of lost-looking Swedes to celebrate with. Follow our lead and you’ll be able to infiltrate the groups inconspicuously.

Choose the day

Midsummer is the longest day of the year and falls around 23rd June. Swedes always move it to the closest Friday afternoon and evening, which is 20th June this year. In Sweden, celebrations are on the Friday evening. Here in London, we can't persuade our bosses to let us drink aquavit on a Friday afternoon, so things get going on Saturday. Check to see what's happening in your local area.

If you are in London, maybe just happen to be passing by Hyde Park. Nothing official, you know, but we gather there is a chance a few Swedes will be meeting up and dancing and singing for a bit. Around midday. Near Speaker's Corner. They have been doing that for years and years, so there's a good chance they'll be doing it again. 


Get outside

It's midsummer, and you're celebrating nature. Go to the park, a lake, or a field.

Don't forget your umbrella.


Wear a garland in your hair

Essential attire for women. You can make a floral garland from wire and flowers and staple it onto your ears - learn how to HERE. Alternatively, H&M do a nice range, being Swedish. Men can wear the garland too, and most do after a few drinks.


White and floral is the style for women - but not so much that you appear to be going to a meeting of Chintz Anonymous. Paired with the garland, it will make you look amazing and a bit pagan. Wear your hair down like Freya. Or Loreen.

Gentlemen, it's all about pastels. Tight trousers (white, yellow), pointy shoes, a pink shirt and Ray Bans. You want to make it seem like all this is a bit beneath you. Sport a fashionable beard or moustache. Google 'Stureplan fashion' for an idea of how actual Swedish metrosexuals achieve this look. 


You need to get yourself a Swedish Midsummer picnic (can be ordered here) or make your own – here’s an easy guide: CLICK HERE FOR MIDSUMMER RECIPES



Means Sandwich Cake. It’s a thing. A cake that is not a cake but a massive sandwich. If you make a Sandwich Cake every Swede in the vicinity will love you forever. Seriously.


A nubbe (the plural is 'nubbar') is a little shot of aquavit and it’s essential to get hold of these. Make sure you bring cold ones to the park. Recommended dose is two beers to one nubbe. Take care, it’s strong stuff - and if you can’t do it properly, Swedes will see through you. Keep your head in one piece until you can speak fluent Swedish (three nubbar or more) and nobody will notice you’re an imposter. 

Buy aquavit at our place - we stock many kinds, both online and in the shop in London 


Drinking songs you need to learn for when you drink your nubbar. Just learn this one (see below) and you’ll be fine.

If you are stuck, sing Euphoria.  


Our maypole is used in June, which technically makes it a Junepole. Like here, it's also decorated with lovely flowers, as well as two circular garlands either side at the top. Just to reinforce the symbolism of what it means (think about it...). We raise the pole around lunch time. If you end up celebrating in Hyde Park in London, you may have to pretend there is a maypole because health and safety means no pole is officially allowed, so we dance around our handbags instead.

Little Frogs

Every Swede sings this song. Everyone. And does the actions, which involve jumping about like a frog.


After the dancing and the cake and a bit more drinking, we get physical.  Games of kubb (a tactical, skittles-like game that has its roots in Viking times), tug of war, arm wrestling and naked mud slinging.

Okay, so we don’t do the last one. Except when we do.



What next?

Dancing. If you are cool and dressed like someone from Stockholm's Stureplan (and, frankly, still standing), you may want to head to a club for some dancing and more drinking. 

Here's a link to the hottest ticket in London town this year 

Here's a really great place to go if you just want to be with Swedes and friends and drink great cocktails More here

If you're up for something more traditional, dust off a CD player and pop on some dansband CDs (and ABBA, obv). Pay a visit to the ScandiKitchen toilets for dansband suggestions. You'll see what we mean.


Seven flowers

If you don’t have a partner, pick seven different kinds of flowers and put them under your pillow and you will dream of the person you'll marry. If you’re not willing to put all your eggs in one basket, head to a bar and revel in the fact that this is the one time of year where Swedes are not at all reserved. The birth rate always spikes in Sweden about nine months after midsummer. 


The next day

You will wake, having dreamt about the person you will marry. There may be images flashing before your eyes of people wearing yellow trousers. Flashes of blue and yellow flags and memories of having an arm-wrestle with a lamp post. Midsummer comes but once a year. Thank goodness. 

Glad Midsommar!

May 07, 2014

18 ways to be more Norwegian

We'll be celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day on 17th May along with the rest of Norway - so we thought we'd make a little selection of ways you can be more Norwegian:


1. When you 'gå på tur' (go for a hike) you always bring a Kvikk Lunsj and an orange. And you never,  EVER, allow anyone who isn't Norwegian to call your Kvikk Lunsj a 'Kit-Kat'.



2. Eat brunost. Enthuse about brunost. Wonder why no one else eats a brown cheese made from whey that looks like brown Plasticine but tastes of caramel and sheer happiness when sliced and put on top of warm waffles that you've made yourself in your heart-shaped waffle iron using batter you keep in your fridge for every occasion that requires waffles.



3. Eat a frozen pizza called the Grandiosa. Enthuse about a frozen pizza called the Grandiosa. The Grandiosa is the best pizza ever. Italy has nothing on the Grandiosa. Nothing.



4. Sweden is good for one thing - the fleske-safari (meat safari). Meat is cheaper in Sweden, so it's worth crossing that border for meat. And booze. And everything else. Everything is cheaper in Sweden.



5. Sweden will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from the price of everything. But of that you shall never speak openly.


(Denmark will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from its easy availability of booze. Which you can talk about).  


6. Wear cool genser jumpers like this. Perfect for occasions such as being in temperatures of -20, Eurovision, fishing and crossing the border to acquire meat.



7. Wear the 'bunad' national dress as if you were born in it. Yes, it itches, but that's part of the charm. You'll keep telling yourself. A lot.


8. If you're well known for something, become a Norgesvenn - a famous friend of Norway. Norgesvenner in the past included the late Roald Dahl and Leroy from Fame. Today, Linda Evans from Dynasty, Bonnie Tyler and A1 have the honour.



9. In the summer, partake in a ‘Grillfest’. For this you should wear a ‘Grilldress’, which is a shellsuit in bright colours. Also required: curly hair and a fake moustache, plus socks and sandals. Harry Enfield's Scousers are your style icons.



10. Celebrate Taco Friday at home. Every Friday. Unless you’re having Grandiosa, then it’s okay not to have Tacos. TACOS!



11. Eat boiled sheep’s head, dried lamb sticks or cod preserved in lye. And fermented trout - that you should also get down with. 



12. Hyttetur. Every weekend, go to a cabin. Any cabin. If you don’t have a cabin near a fjord, go to your garden shed, even if you live in a bedsit in Hackney. Also, on the way, make sure to repeat point 1. (If you're in Hackney, we sell Kvikk Lunsj at ScandiKitchen.)  Use motivating sentences such as 'Ut på tur, aldri sur' (literally: 'out on a hike, never angry').



13. Every summer, go to Syden for two weeks vacation. This basically just means ‘The South’. Copenhagen counts. Or Oslo, if you're from Trondheim.



14. Use the term ‘Utepils’, meaning ‘to sit outside and have a beer, even if the sun just came out four minutes ago’. We do that here in the UK too, but we don't have the word for it.


Utepils Photo Richard Sagen 


15. Flags. Celebrate your flag, every day of the year and especially on 17th May. On this day, purchase seven more flags to your collection. Wave them all around. 



16. Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. Uncomfortable for the mothers, but useful once they learn to stand up and navigate down snow covered mountains. If you can’t ski, don’t move to Norway.

  Snow baby skiing


17. Enjoy your hotdog wrapped in a potato pancake. It's a thing.



And finally: 17th May - 'Syttende Mai'. 

Celebrate Norway's national day on 17th May. No exceptions.

You are proud of Norway. 17th May is the most important day of the year, better than Christmas, birthday and Eurovision put together. The Norwegian Constitution Day is a day celebrated by all Norwegians and Norgesvenner (see above).

Get up, eat Norwegian food, wear a bunad (see above) sing songs about how much you love Norway. Wave flags around a lot. Ice cream. Waffles (see above). Brown cheese (see above). Repeat. Follow with alcohol (possibly purchased in Sweden). Forget how you got home, but wake up loving Norway even more than before.

Happy 17th May, everybody - see you at the ScandiKitchen or the park.


April 24, 2014

How to be more Danish, in ten easy steps.

We asked the good people on Twitter how to be a Dane in 10 steps…

 Here are some of the top replies:


1. Wear black. And only black.



2. Eat open sandwiches. Preferably topped with cheese and jam. Yes, jam.



3. Throw the word "hygge" randomly into sentences, then pretend to try really hard to find an English translation. Yet again.



4. Never use the word please, with the excuse that “but we don’t HAVE a word for please in Danish”.



5. Test ANY non-Dane on whether they like salty liquorice and laugh when they don't.



6. Have an awkward sense of humour and laugh at jokes such as “Do you know how to save a Swede from drowning? No? Good!” HarHarHarHar... See also: making fun of everything Swedish. And Norwegian. And Icelandic. And German.#hilarious



7. Have a flagpole in your garden and raise the Danish flag at every opportunity (Sundays, public holidays, birthdays, popping to the shops…)



8.  If someone asks you how you are, be sure to really explain to them how you are feeling. 


9. Top most food groups with a dollop of remoulade. Especially chips, beef, fish and hotdogs. And salami. And meatballs. 



10. Always have one white sock over one trouser leg (or roll one trouser leg up, if not wanting to wear white socks over your all-black outfit). You never know when you might be going cycling. This way, you can be ready in a flash.


February 23, 2014

Ahhh, Iceland... What a nice tourist advert.

Watch, book flight, enjoy. It's a very lovely place.

February 13, 2014

WIN: 'The Almost Nearly Perfect People' - by Michael Booth


Did you read the article that got everybody talking a few weeks back? (if not, read it HERE) Are we Nordics not all we're cracked up to be? Who decided to put us on a pedestal in the first place and how do we get down from there without ruining everything? Are we really obsessed with Midsomer Murders? (Ed: Yes).

Michael Booth, writer and journalist, currently living in Denmark (and, we can vouch, speak Danish pretty well) is not sure all is as it is cracked up to be. Well, actually, that is if you only read the article (so don't be offended just yet). In the book, you see, Booth goes deeper into the psyche of what makes us Scandinavians special and finds that, in fact, we might just be almost perfect...

Confused? Don't be. It's a good book and it is worth a read. You can buy it here

We've got a copy of the book to give away - fancy being in with a chance of winning it?

Just answer this easy question:

The statue of the Little Mermaid is in which Nordic town:

a) Stockholm

b) Copenhagen

c) Skagen

Answers by e-mail, please, to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Monday at noon (17/2). Winner will be drawn at random from correct entries. No cheating, no cash alternative, no non-sense and all usual terms apply. 

January 10, 2014

January's artist: Åsa Wikman


We love our wall downstairs in the cafe. Most of all, we love that every month, we have lovely new amazing art work displayed there. From photography to paintings and illustrations.

This month belongs to the brilliant illustrator Åsa Wikman.

You can see more of Åsa's work here

See her lovely display at the cafe all of January.

Do you fancy being having your art work displayed at ScandiKitchen? Here's your chance.  Each month we pick a new artist to decorate our wall.  

We have a few rules, though:

- The art work comes to us frame and ready to hang, ideally no larger than 40 x 80.  We can accommodate up to 4 paintings or frames.

- The work MUST be either by a Scandi artist or photographer OR someone depicting Scandinavia.

- The write up about the artist has to be no larger than A5 - we can add this on the wall next to the frames

- We will not sell or be responsible for any sales of the art work - all comms about the art work will need to be on the A5 note including contact details

- When the 1 months is up, the artist is responsible to picking up the art work again

- We accept no responsibility for damage etc to any works - we will do out best to keep things nice, but the items are hung here on owners responsibility.

- No moving of nails or hooks - we have only what we have here and can't start moving nails around

- Please, no frames that are massively heavy, it is just a basic wall.

Other than that, it is up to you.

To be considered for February's Art Person, send some suggestiosn of your work to bronte@scandikitchen.co.uk.

We'll let you know by mid January if you're the chosen one.

Ps - please dont send massive images. Small versions of your work is good.





December 11, 2013

Sankta Lucia - the festival of light

Swedish Lucia For Dummies from Sweden on Vimeo.

This Friday the 13th December is the day of St Lucia and the festival of light. On this day across Scandinavia you will find processions of boys and girls dressed all in white bearing candles and singing carols. This is usually done in the morning darkness, welcoming the light. 

At the front of each procession is a Lucia Bride, wearing a wreath or crown on her head with four or five candles.

On this day, we drink ‘Glögg’ mulled wine and eat either saffron buns (Lussebullar) or little pancake balls called ‘Æbleskiver’. We also over-do the ginger biscuits. Really, way too many ginger biscuits...

The history of St Lucia can be traced back to St Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in 304 – however, the date of St Lucia is also a pagan date.  It was the darkest night where spirits were free to roam and animals begin to talk. So, light was needed to ward of spirits. today's tradition is a bit of a blend of the two.

On Friday we will be serving Glögg and Saffron buns all day and playing carols on repeat.  


November 06, 2013

J-Day at ScandiKitchen 2013 - 15th November 18:00


Tradition in Denmark is to have a bit of a do when the annual Christmas Beer from Tuborg is released. 

So, we thought we'd have a it of a do too when our stash gets into store on the 15th November.

We're a few weeks behind the Danish event, but it does take a while for the delivery to come over... Still, better later than never, we say.

The soiree is an invite only thing - but you can get your name on the list by e-mailing bronte@scandikitchen.co.uk

There will be Julebryg beers, glogg, aebleskiver snacks, Danish hotdogs and of course some really awful Danish Christmas music.

We can only accomodate a certain number of people so get your name downon that list, pronto.


The Kitchen People x

Juleweb Tuborg Julebryg Daaser



August 01, 2013

Our Scandinavia: Sun over Gudhjem (Denmark)


This week, we're all about the beautiful island of Bornholm. Our Rebekka is part-Bornholmer and is currently holidaying on the sunny island with her family. 

Gudhjem is a lovely village on the Northern side of the island. Population 782, getting to Gudhjem means flying to Copenhagen, then getting yourself on the bus to Ystad then the ferry overnight to the island. Once there, you need to get across Bornholm to the Northern side.


Gudhjem is a quaint fishing village. Head to the harbour and enjoy the famous open sandwich ‘Sol over Gudhjem’ which means Sun over Gudhjem. Dark rye bread with freshly smoked herring, raw onion, radish and a raw egg.

Here’s where to stay if you decide to pop by - a lovely sweet small place by the sea. Here's a handy village map.

Bornholm is Danish, even if it is closer to Poland and Sweden.

Why? At the peace agreement of Roskilde in 1658, Sweden got given Bornholm. The Bornholm people were not happy so they revolted in 1660, killed the Commander and went back to the Danish King and asked him to take them back (It probably had something to do with the price of beer in Sweden. Maybe).

In other news: someone found a poo on Bornholm dating back 140 million years and the local nature guide’s surname is Mr Sillehoved, which means Mr Herringhead.

Bornholm is well worth the long trip to get there. 



July 23, 2013

New Swedish School in London (weekend classes for kids)


We got this info about the new Saturday School for Swedish speaking kids in North London.

They have spaces - please contact below.



July 18, 2013

Secret Scandinavia: Bronte's favourite Danish summer hideaway

A while back Bronte was asked to recommend a super secret local spot in Denmark that you’d only know about if you were a local. She remembered this amazing place where she is from called Reersø (population 511).

It’s a teeny penunsular (attached only slightly to the main island of Zealand - and in fact it used to be an island back in the day). Famous for centuries for its fishing and local fish dishes (in particular, smoked mackerel and eel), this little secret spot is hard to find but possibly as Danish as you’ll ever get. It's a really old village full of wonderful Danish farming and fishing heritage.

To get to Reersø you need to take a plane to Copenhagen, then a train to Slagelse. From there bus 432 (it doesn’t go very often and it takes quite a while: be patient). 

We recommend trying the local ‘Reersø Kro’ which is a 300 year old pub: they serve amazing local fish and seafood. Stay at the campsite or at the Inn. Great beaches, lovely sailing opportunities, wind surfing, lots of fishing and hunting (if you’re into that). There are no bars, no nightlife, no shops except a little grocery market. Just the smell of the sea and cats with no tails (yes, this is a place full of Manx Cats - thought to be introduced here centuries ago from an Isle of Man ship wreck).

Got dosh to spare? This is what £500,000 will buy you on Reersø Peace and quiet here

Got only £80K to spare? Get this nifty little summer house

But it doesn’t really matter because unless you’re Danish, you can’t buy a summer house in Denmark. Oh, didn’t you know? Indeed, that is the law. Cheeky Danes. Wonder how they got away with that one .

Next week: Jonas’ secret summer place in Göteborg.



                      Danish Habour Porpoise in Reersoø - Photo by Ole Agerbæk Sørensen

January 28, 2013

The Danish School in London - Open Day

This is a fantastic initiative: Finally, A Danish school in London.

It opens next school year and will start by taking in students from age group 4-7

The school is based in Clerkenwell EC1.

More info here www.daniaschool.com



November 23, 2012

Scandinavian Christmas Markets 2012 - (23,24,25 Nov 2012)

Julebasar_2011_fredag_152_primary 2

It's the weeked for ALL the Scandi Christmas Markets in London

(23rd, 24th and 25th November 2012)

Swedish Church, Harcourt Street, London - Sat and Sun 11-6 (sat), 12-5 (sun) LINK HERE

Norwegian Church, St Olav's Square, Rotherhide 11-5 (Fri), 10-6 (Sat), 12-4 (Sun) LINK HERE

Finnish Church in London LONTOON SUOMALAINEN MERIMIESKIRKKO, Rotherhide 12-8 (Fri), 10-6 (Sat), 11-5 (Sun) - also continues through out next week LINK HERE

Danish YMCA Julemarked 43 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, 11-5 (Sat), 10-4 (Sun) LINK HERE

The Scandinavian Christmas Market - Outdoor market with loads of Scandi stalls, foods, presents, krims krams and nice hyggelige people  - Rotherhide, outside Finnish and Norwegian Church (yes, we're there, selling mulled wine and gingrbread dough, biscuits, delicato and more) LINK HERE

All a bit too much?  Pop by our shop. We'll put the coffee on, save you a piece of cake and always have time for a few hugs.  We're open as normal 10-18 Saturday and 10-17 Sunday.

God Jul x



September 03, 2012

Some pigeons are more equal than others

We're all very quick to dismiss pigeons as rats with wings.  

Artists Julian Charriere and Julian von Bismarck wanted to change that so they built a special paint machine for pigeons in Copenhagen.  When a pigeon flies through it, it gets a burst of colour coating.

See the results for yourself.  

Pigeon 1
Pigeon 2

Pigeon 3
Pigeon 4

June 19, 2012

19th June GLAD MIDSOMMAR special newsletter

Here you go, a special Midsummer Newsletter for you to read.

Go on, have a read. Just click right here 


April 03, 2012

Scary Norway tow-truck fall. Shudder.

This footage reminds us just how dangerous the roads in Norway are.  Note the driver of the tow truck's amazing escape (sadly the driver of the actual truck had to go to hospital, but his condition is said to be stable).


Spiderman and his dolls. Why is it a problem?

If there is one thing that gets the general Scandies blood boiling is gender roles for boys and girls.  Girls can be plumbers, boys can be au pairs.  Who cares what sex you are? 

Which is why we adore this catalogue from a Swedish toy store.

The company is called LEKLUST and they say it is time to move forward and stop this gender nonsense when it comes to toys as it only aids to manifest the stereotypes even more. 

The spokesperson for the Swedish Feminist Movement, Carl Emanuelsen, welcomes to movement.  We just love that the spokesperson for the Feminist Movement is a man.  It just gets better.

In the catalogue, on a predominantly pink page full of dolls and prams, a child dressed as spiderman can be seen pushing a pink pram and on a different page a little girl is seen driving a toy racing car. 

There's also pictures of boys using the pretend kitchen. 

Fantastic, we say:  keep it up.

More here

March 28, 2012

Easter in Scandinavia (2012)

After the long, dark nights of winter, Easter and the arrival of spring are truly celebrated in Scandinavia. Whether spent in the south welcoming the return of the spring flowers or spent escaping to the mountains in the North, getting in a few last runs on the slopes,  Easter is a time of renewal for Scandinavians, celebrated with good food and good company (and perhaps the odd shot of aquavit or two).  Peek into the history of the Viking north and you’ll find plenty of magic things that add to the richness of Scandinavian Easter celebrations.

Many of the Scandinavian countries have their own specific traditions associated with Easter, most of which stem from Christianity, but some of which have other origins and over the years have become part of the Easter holiday traditions. 

In Denmark, for example, the tradition of writing “teaser letters” still holds strong and has done since the early 1800s.  A teaser letter is a pattern carefully cut into a piece of paper with a little verse written between the cuttings. The sender then adds dots in place of his or her name and encloses a snowdrop – considered to be the first flower of the year in Denmark and a symbol of springtime and lighter days.  If the receiver cannot guess who sent the letter before Easter, the prize for the sender is a nice big Easter egg.  If, however, the sender guesses, the prize goes to the recipient (although, miraculously, most parents never do seem to be able to guess which letters are from their own kids).

In Norway a slightly different tradition is associated with Easter, and perhaps a slightly unusual one at that, with no links to anything much historic:  around Easter, publishers rush to churn out masses of what are known to all Norwegians as “Påskekrimmen” – literally translated as ‘Easter Thrillers’ – and bookshops are filled to the brim with newly published crime novels.  This fascination with “whodunnits” even extends to mini-thrillers being published in obscure places such as on the side of milk cartons.  So, if this Easter you happen to bump into a Norwegian who has his backpack stuffed with a selection of gory crime novels, an orange and a ‘Kvikk Lunch’ chocolate bar, it’s pretty standard fare.


Sweden, on the other hand, has Easter celebrations that are deeply rooted in the old Christian witch-hunt times.  The celebrations last from Maundy Thursday until Easter Monday.  In the olden days it was thought that on Maundy Thursday, all the Witches would fly off on their broomsticks to the Blue Mountains in Germany to have a weekend of fun and dancing with Satan.  Today, children in Sweden celebrate by dressing up as little witches, called påskkärringar (literally: ‘Easter Witches’): dressed in long skirts, headscarves, painted red cheeks and freckles.  The kids go from house to house to collect money or sweets – this is the Swedish version of the North American tradition of Halloween.   The children sometimes also deliver an Easter Letter – the identity of the sender is always supposed to be a secret.  

Easter time in Scandinavia is, of course, also about eggs – both the chocolate version, the painted version and the version that has a place on the traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord.  In Sweden and Denmark, the traditional Easter lunch is pretty much the same as it is at Christmas time except minus a few of the heavier winter dishes.  Plenty of herring, cured salmon with dill sauce, meatballs and beetroot salad and perhaps smoked or roasted lamb dishes.  All washed down in the company of good friends and a bottle of something strong, such as the delightful aniseed flavoured Danish Aalborg aquavit. 

Easteregg_18_w800_1145086573If you haven’t quite decided where to spend Easter this year, Scandinavia comes highly recommended, whether you fancy walking through the budding green forests of Denmark in the south or feeling serene in the still snowy mountains of northern Scandinavia – there are certainly adventures to be had and beautiful scenery to be explored along with rich traditions in which to take part.  Alternatively, be Norwegian right here at home and cosy up in front of the fire with a bunch of crime novels and dream of long summer days to come.


March 13, 2012

A different hotel room in Sweden? E.T.phone.home...

We love this company - they have different tree houses you can book and spend your holiday in. Serious cool factor.




The Tree Sauna



The birds nest



See more amazing hotel rooms right here

February 22, 2012

Stuff that is nice about Iceland


Many things are nice about Iceland (except when they bring out the fermented shark).

The photographer James Appleton spent time photographing an Icelandic volcano erupting - set in the backdrop of the Northern Lights.


You can view the whole slide show right here 


February 08, 2012

The liquorice festival 2012 - horror or heaven?

RenLakrids01 280x280

This weekend coming (11th and 12th Feb),  the first ever liquorice festival takes place in Copenhagen.  Sadly, we only found out about it when it was sold out or else we would have been there like a shot: it really sounds like a great event.  Especially the 4 course gourmet dinner, all liquorice flavoured.  Heaven for us Scandies.

Most of our UK readers will feel slightly nauseous at the thought of a two day event where every single item of food is flavoured with liquorice in some way, but to most Scandinavians, licourice is a treat and we like it strong, salty and a bit like a liquorice flavoured smack-in-the-face.

So, why are we obsessed with salty liquorice?

It's not really salty, it is actually flavoured with ammonium chloride, which is similar, but it is not actual "salt" as we know it.   Ammonium chloride doesn't sound very good, so we use the Finnish word for it:  Salmiakki or Salmiak is a liqouirce variety, flavoured with AC.

Salmiak is an acquired taste and unless you, like most of us Scandies, have been fed liquorice since you were a kid, it is unlikely you will develop an addiction to it on the same scale that we have.  But if you really want to "get it", just persevere and it will happen.  Soon you too can join the herds of liquorice lovers, searching the streets for a harder hit next time.

Here's our quick guide to what to choose and at what level:


Skolekridt - sweet (with a hint of salmiakki) liquorice, mild, covered in a sugared white coating.  Mild.  

Liquorice string - very mild, kids like this one.


ABD Lakrids - sweet with a hint of salt, semi-chewy

Firewood from Fazer - chewy - at times can be a bit strong, but very moorish

I'm tough, me.

Tykisk Peber from Fazer - boiled liquorice sweets with a pepper-like middle centre.  A pan-scandi favourite.

Djunglevraal - literally, meaning Jungle Screams.  Very salty coating, sweet liquorice inside.  Lovely.

Super piratos - a danish favourite.  Strong, salty, still chewy.  Fantastic.

If you are ever in the hood, pop in an have a taster.  We stock over 40 different kinds.  At least.  Probably more.  Actually, definitely more.



How to annoy a Dane

Actually, this article is really entitled "How to pi** off a Dane".  

It's brilliant.  

There are only six easy steps in which to do this.  These include:

Tactic #1: Ask “How are you?” (and not give ten minute to hear the answer)

Tactic #2: Speak their language. 

Tactic #3: Fail to signal in the bike lane.

Tactic #4: Wear your sweatpants in public.

Tactic #5: Smile at their children (or dogs).

Tactic # 6: Act like a human at the grocery store.

You can find out why these things annoy the Danes right here in the article 

We'd like to add that comparing the Danes to the Swedes, Norwegians, Finns or Germans produce the same instant dislike and should never be attempted, even in jest.

Seriosuly, don't.  Even.  Try.

Pedigree-dog-food-great-dane-small-43052if you don't annoy your Dane, he might love you liek this Great Dane...




How to annoy a Swede...

Viking1brilliant photo by jayspec

It's been a week in which we have learnt how to annoy people like us.  

Interesting.  But quite true.

The lovely Kate Reuterswärd has written a blog about 20 ways in which to annoy the Swedes and possibly ensure you never associate with any of those tall blondes again.

Kate's examples include:

1. Speak at an American volume (loudly) in public places, especially on public transportation. 

2. Walk inside with your shoes still on.

3. “I don’t like coffee.” 

4. Tell Swedes who are not from Skåne that Skåne is the real Sweden.

5. Criticize Midsummer.

6. Compare them to Danes.

7. Compare them to Norwegians.

8. Compare them to Finns.

9. Compare them to Germans.

10. Complain about environmentalists.

11. Try to arrange an office happy hour less than a week in advance.

12. Make fun of the Vasa Ship..

13. Install wall-to-wall carpeting.

14. Try to convince a Swede to come to church with you next Sunday.

15. Say you’ve never heard of Astrid Lindgren.

16. Say that Sweden’s government is Socialist. 

17. Corner someone at a party and insist they tell you the secret to why Swedish people are so so beautiful.

18. Lecture everyone on the dangers of candles.

19. Tell people that women should stay at home after their first child.

20. Start a conversation with a stranger.

You can read Kate's blog post right here 


January 24, 2012

Sweden's smallest student flats

Lund, in Sourthen Sweden, is a big university town.  At times, with a bit of a space issue for accomodation.

The company AF Bostader are showing Sweden's smallest student flat as from today - and people are invited to apply to get their hands on one of these as they are planning on building 100 of them this year (pending permission to bypass strict Swedish guidelines as the project was initially rejected due to lack of disabled access).

So, why the outcry?  Well, these pods are only 9 m2 - that is about 100 square feet to you and me - which is teeny tiny in Swedish eyes, but about twice as big as the average Hackney tip rentable for the same money (ba boom).  Price?  £230 a month.  There's even a bit out outside space to grow your 'erbs, bruvva.

What can you get in London for £230 a month?  A parking space or a room in a shared house (on a good day, if you don't mind egg-shell wall colouring and an old mattress).

There's room to swing a cat...

LivingIt comes complete with an empty wine bottle a la student mode

Look, it even has a shower and there's no carpet in the toilet...  And not hot/cold taps, just plain, fuctional mixer taps...

The cheapest London studio we could find had this picture...

If you're planning to move out of London and going to Lund to study, the flat is being shown as from today.  You can read more on the Local's website (thanks, people at The Local, we borrowed your pictures, hope you don't mind)

October 28, 2011

Finnish school in Wales

Perhaps Wales is not the first place you think of if you think of big ex pat Finnish communities - but indeed, there is one and it now even has its own school.

The Suomi-koulu (Finnish School) is based in Cardiff.  It helps ex pat kids connect with the Finnish language - and offers a good opportunity for cultural stuff too.  

The Suomi-koulu of Wales says that they don't just aim to connect with Finns and other nationalities are also welcome.  So, if you are living in Wales and feel that Welsh is just not that big a challenge to learn, then why not pop along to the Suomi-koulu and really stretch your linguistic talents a bit more?

Read more about the new Finnish School in Cardiff here


October 21, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the toughest of them all?

Odin_hrafnarThis portrait of Odin illustrates the importance of always controlling your image rights. Not looking like such a tough cookie, now, eh, Odin?  Maybe choosing Clooney to play you wasn't the best idea...

Over half a shandy the other day we got talking:  which of the Nordic gods was the toughest?  Was it Odin, the King of it all, with his one eye and his many talents?  Was it Thor, with his big roars across the sky, throwing his hammer in all directions and making thunder and lightning (very, very frightning.  Mamma Mia).  Or was it Loki, because he was so sneaky and clever and outsmarted them all?

Here are some examples of cool toughness from Valhalla:

The top dude.  God of gods. He rules Valhalla, where all good Vikings woudl end up after the life on Earth.  He had one eye, which made him a bit like a pirate, except the eye was in the middle of his head.  He had ravens on his shoulder who';d fly out an return and report back on stuff happening in the world (they where the internet of the Valhalla days, really).


The God of mischief and trickery.  All the Vikings would blame Loki if things didn't go his way.  He was handsome, like Sebastian, and used it to his advantadge.   He killed Balder, the god of the Light and Joy.  Seriously, who kills off Joy and Light, except maybe the Grinch?  Tough cookie.

She was the goddess of the dead.  Cool name.  Odin, the god of gods, threw Hel into Niflheim itself also known as Hel, where she received full authority, respect and power. Guess where our word for Hell comes from?  Oh yes.  Tough as nails.

The god of thunder. He had a hammer that woudl always come back to him, nomatter what.  He made Thunder and lightning and he gave name to the day Thursday.  He was also a God of War and he was ginger.  Well, yes, he was.  He was a gingernut.  A bit like Prince Harry but with a hammer and some goats and a chariot.  Harry has no chariot, although he might have goats, we don't know.

The Valkyries
Warrior maidens who attended to Odin. The biatches of Valhalla, really, these lady Gods also conducted slain warriors to the halls of Odin, for their judgement on how they fought. 

the hall of slain heroes ruled by Odin. The hall had a total of 540 doors, each allowing up to 800 soldiers to walk. The roof was made of decorated Norse shields.  Okay, so Valhalla is probably not going to win for toughness, but it was a pretty cool place.

Who do you think is toughest of the old Norse Gods? 

Ping your answer and make us giggle.  Answers incorporating anything about Sebastian's manliness automatically go to the top of the pile.  Winner is the one who makes us giggle most.  If it is a tie, we will do a draw. 

The winner gets lunch for two at Scandi Kitchen.usual rules apply, so don't you dare cheat.

Mail iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk to enter, before Tuesday 25th at midday.

May 25, 2011

Midsummer (Midsommar) in London 2011

Is it Midsummer already?  Yeps.  Time to build a pole, decorate it with flowers and dance around it, pretending to be a little frog with no ears and no tail.

Midsummer the Scandi Way in London is always fun.  While the Danes prefer to burn witches on top of bonfires while they sing songs about how much they love Denmark (click here for the Danish YMCA's webpage for more info).  It's all Shu-bi-du-a and holding hands.  Very nice.  This happens on 23rd June.

The Swedes and most of the Finns much prefer to celebrate it on the Friday 24th and Saturday 25th.  For these celebrations, you bring out the matjes herring, the new potatoes and some chilled aquavit.  Then there's the singing....And the dancing...

There is the official informal gathering of people in Hyde Park, as per usual, on Saturday 25th June from 12-16.  Bring your own food and drink and enjoy meeting Scandies and Scandophiles.  We'll be there, for sure, enjoying ourselves and wearing flowers in our hair.

Having your own Midsummer party?  Well, well - we can help you cater for this one - click here for our Midsummer Menu 2011 (although be warned, we're already pretty booked, so best get in there soon).

Watch this space for our Midsommar PicNic Baskets as well - coming soon. We will also offer on-line ordering of everything you need for both your party at home or the trip tot he park - and have it ready and packed for you to pick up on your way.  Read more on the shop site www.scandikitchen.co.uk/shop




January 24, 2011

Vikings rock?

This vid is from BBC's Horrible Histories:  Vikings.

We're glad to find there is hope for Lars Ulrich and his further career, should he need to find a new band.

July 19, 2010

Get away for a while...and sit in a tree

There are many spectacular hotels across the globe, but try one of these in Sweden if you fancy a bit of a different experience.

The rest of the article can be read here in The Local, Sweden's English News (including contact details).

We'd love to stay in any one of these - what a cool way to spend a few days.


in the middle of a lake...

Up in a tree...

in a hotel made out of ice (no central heating, no)


In an old airplane, now grounded...

In a really cool eco hut

up in another tree...

in a hut made for trolls....


March 04, 2010

Berit from Bergen is not from Bergen (sorry, Mum)

We've been writing about Berit from Bergen.  Except she is not from Bergen, she is from Mosjøen which is a lovely place in the North of Norway where the Salmon leaps out of the river and directly onto your dinner plate (Berit says).

For some reason, we thought she was from Bergen.  But her Mum wrote to us to set the record straight, which is a good thing because now we have learnt about the delights of Mosjøen and we do think more people should go visit - it is really pretty.

Mosjøen has 13400 inhabitants and is the oldest town in Helgeland region.  You can read the daily news from the region here .  At the point of writing, it was minus 7 degrees, so maybe wait a few weeks before you go or you'll be a bit cold.

Berit says about her home town: it is so small that you meet everyone you know by going to one cafe.  We also have a very very large red chair (see below) to sit on if you are ever tired while walking through north norway's longest attached wooden housing, and that a 818m high mountain is the towns closest neighbour (http://www.helgeland-arbeiderblad.no/nyheter/article4782189.ece)

So, sorry, Berit's Mum.  We'll never call your daughter Bergen Berit again. 



we can just imagine our Berit skipping merrily down the street on her way to school...


September 01, 2009

Dave goes to Skaane

We're loving GlueLondon's new Visit Skaane campaign...

June 30, 2009

Go hide in Scandinavia

Fancy getting away from it all:  Try these little hiding places in Scandinavia.

Our Louise loves the idea fo this hotel near Stockholm - it is in the middle of a lake and you  have to sail to get there.  It's called Utter Inn.


Jonas likes the idea of getting away from it all in this beautiful Lighthouse hotel in Norway - and Henrik would love to stay in theis fancy pancy igloo in Finland.



Denmark didn't have any unusual hotels, so Bronte got in a bit of a huff, but she did say that if you ever get stuck about 7 KM south-west outside Slagelse on Zealand in Denmark, you can waste the time waiting for the next bus by visiting Trelleborg, the site of an old Viking fortress.  There's not much there now, except some sheep and a few huts (not the real ones, dummy).    Potential hotel?


April 01, 2009

Who dunnit?

Easter time in Norway is the time of year for reading crime novels.  Yes, really.  Nobody is really sure why this is the case, but every year at Easter, the book stores are filled with all the latest "who dunnits" and people flock to the store to get hold of the newest books.  Our Norwegian freinds then pack their rucksacks with books, kvikklunsj and a few oranges and head to the hills for a long, relaxing Easter weekend.

Even the sides of milk cartons has little "crime novels" printed on them - thanks to Elisabeth for sending this us us.  The policeman did it, byt the way,

London17 005

December 02, 2008

Little places in Scandinavia # 6 - Sara's Stockholm

Stockholm2 Sara’s Stockholm – City of islands

Stockholm is made up by quite a few islands, 30,000 to be sort of precise. Faringö is one of these, located far out west in Lake Malaren. Färentuna - my little village - is located here, 40 km west of Stockholm city centre. My island is part of Ekerö municipality - a beautiful place (without too many fun things going on – apart from skinny-dipping) and famous for three things.



Sweden’s own Knugen Kalle, the missus and the kids (Vickan, Philip and every guy’s dream girl Madde) make up Sweden’s royal family. They have two royal palaces, one big monster in the middle of Stockholm and Drottningholm, their residence, a boat ride away on the island of Lovön. It even has its World Heritage listed Chinese theatre and palace gardens – good for greenery, Christmas markets and a bit of history.

For lovers of history, there’s even more to be had on the neighbouring island, Bjorkö, where you will find the only existing Viking town in the world, Birka. Although the Vikings left quite a few years back it is definitely worth a visit, if not to see how the Vikings used to live then at least for the beautiful boat trip there.

If in Stockholm and you find yourself hungry, try the Shanti – the best Indian restaurant ever (unless you’re in India).  It’s on Katarina Bangata 58.  For coffee and cakes, get yourself to Systrarna Hedin & Voltaire on Djurgarden.  It’s hard to find so ask me to draw you a map next time you’re in.


November 19, 2008

Little places in Scandinavia - Jonas' Sarö

By Jonas

Sarö, on the west coast of Sweden some 30km south of Gothenburg, is home to 3,000 people and a disused railway line.  The name – Peculiar island (extremely loosely translated) – doesn’t do it all that many favours, although when considering Sarö is an island only in a technical sense (jumping across the ditch that separates it from the mainland is quite achievable - for a six year old) we can suppose the name bears right in a sense.

Home to the Ghost Hill- which must have been the steepest hill in the world for at least five years at the end of the seventies - and The Love Cave’s diving spot which surely rivalled any 10m platform at the Olympics, it is strange for anyone having grown up there that the place is best renowned for having a couple of kings cajoling with the locals around the turn of the 19th century. Well, the place can possibly be said to have a strong royal connection as the first king is rumoured to have left enough of a legacy to ensure his son should never have had to worry about finding a suitable blood donor should he cut himself on a rock while following a guy down the cliffs around the Love Cave.

Arguably some of the above items could be dismissed as pure speculation so here are some other facts about the place: it is the home of one-quarter of Ace of Base; it is the first spot in Sweden where a woman was caught for speeding (go grandma!); and, of course home to Pappa Leif’s Janssons Temptation. Other reports have it that the football team isn’t all that prolific at the moment, the tennis club hasn’t produced any major stars yet and the best golfers coming out of the place all played for neighbouring clubs. But then, who said life on a little island was easy?


November 11, 2008

A little place in Scandinavia - Sebastian's Karlskrona



This post refers back to Henrik's Rydsgard, Elisabeth's Drammen  and Bronte's Hong


By Sebastian


Karlskrona is a gem of a city nestled in the south-eastern Swedish archipelago. Founded in 1680 by the then Swedish king Karl XI with the purpose as to serve as a naval base to protect Sweden from the aggressive Danes. Something must have gone right as it is still Swedish today.  Karlskrona is home to 62.589 people and is still Sweden’s most pub dense city and the one with the most dangerous street, Ronnebygatan.


Karlskrona has always been heavily influenced by its maritime heritage and still is today. Every year there’s a big regatta held called “Sailet” (swenglish for the word sail) with ships coming in from all corners of the globe. You may also have heard  of Karlskrona watching the news back in 1981 when a Soviet submarine stranded there.


The city is built on a number of islands, the largest of which is Trossö. This island was owned by a stubborn farmer called Wittus Andersson back in the day of Karl XI and he was forced to sell the island so that the city could be built. Wittus was so enraged that he cast a curse on the city, he vowed that it would burn to the ground, be ravished by pestilence and sink to the bottom of the sea. Karlskrona  was ravished by pestilence between 1710-1711 and burnt to the ground in 1790, all that remains is for it to sink to the sea.


The best bar in Karlskrona is “Schlager-baren” where you can sing all of your favourite Schlager anthems every Friday and Saturday. After a long night out you might want to enjoy some fabulous pizza or kebab at “Bernes”, where everything comes drenched in garlic sauce whether you want it to or not.


Karlskrona is also home to many famous people - even Kofi Annan has a summer cottage here.   Karlskrona’s Janne Lindello, who you often bump into when you roam the streets of the city. writes poetry and played a minor role in SVT’s (Sweden’s BBC) movie “Det grovmaskiga nätet” as a police officer. 

Karlskrona1  Karlskrona2

November 03, 2008

A nice place in Scandinavia # 3 - Henrik's 'Rydsgaard'

By Henrik


Rydsgård was conceived after the railway between Malmo-Ystad was built in 1874. The village, on the south coast of Sweden, boasts a population of 1301 and the “Skivarpsån” river divides the village in two parts – very much like the Thames in London. Both sides have their own church but the pizzeria, the newsagent and the nursing home are situated on the south side, hence making it the town centre. The local school, on the north side, educates years 1-6 with almost 200 pupils enrolled. It houses kids of the local farming communities as well as a few of the more urbanised pupils from both sides of the river. It is, however, highly unusual for people to get along with villagers from the other side and marrying someone who grew up on another street than your own is almost unheard of.


Rydsgårdians have always been jealous of the neighbouring village Västra Vemmenhög, from where the young boy, who rode the length of Sweden on the back of a goose, started his journey.


The village’s biggest tourist attraction used to be Rydsgårds Stängselnät AB, the nail and barbed wire factory. It had a very distinct smell and every now and then a big truck would arrive to pick up the daily production. It did however burn down in 1984, even prompting a 30 second feature on the local news. 


Football is the most popular pastime in Rydsgård. We are very proud of our team that currently sits in 12th place in southern Sweden’s sixth division. Throughout the eighties the first team consisted of seven brothers and three cousins of the same family. Their mother was the kit man for the whole club because she had two washing machines. One of the brothers, Ola, even had a trial with Trelleborgs FC who used to play in the Swedish premier league. Another famous footballer from Rydsgård was Anders Fredriksson (a.k.a. “the elk” due to his long legs) who once hit a penalty kick to a throw-in.


Other famous members of the community include Rickard Andersson, who played keyboards for Yngwie Malmsteen and Laine Olsson, who won a Volvo on “Bingo lotto”.

Rydsgaard  Rydsgaard last thursday in Rush hour?


October 28, 2008

A nice little place in Scandinavian #2


The "tourist" photo of Drammen

This post refers back to this one

Our Elisabeth is a true Norwegian – and indeed, she does not come from Oslo and she is not into Morten Harkett.  No no, she is from a lovely little town called Drammen, located about 50 km from the capital, totally A-Ha free.  Drammen has rock carvings dating back 7000 years – one of them depicts a moose.  Originally, in Norse times, Drammen was actually called Drafn, deriving from the Drammensfjord.  You can read more about Drammen’s history here http://www.drammens.museum.no/

Drammen has a bout 60,000 inhabitants and life in centred around the town square and something called Drammen Beach (basically, tonnes of sand dumped near a big road – but it’s really lovely, apparently ).  One time, several years ago, Bryan Adams came to Drammen and people still talk about that.  Katie Melua also popped by, but that was not as exciting.  If you go to Drammen, bring your skis or board:  there are two great places to go practise just on the outskirts of the town

Elisabeth says that if you go to Drammen, you have to go get a kebab at “Snappys” – people drive from miles away to get one of these.  And if you’re ever in the area, pop by and say hello to Kristin, Elisabeth’s Mum, she’s really nice


This photo is called "summer in Drammen 2007" and is by John Tollefsen

October 21, 2008

A little place in Scandinavia...

0-1224254344_2 The centre of Hong - you can see Mr and Mrs Blomhoj's house in this picture (the white one right at the back to the left) - don't forget to pop in for a cup of gevalia if you pass by... 

You always hear about the big towns such as Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen.  Seeing as we see ourselves as a bit of a mini-Scandinavian tourist board, we thought we'd introduce you to the places where we come from.  So, over the next few weeks we'll write about Henrik's Ystad, Elisabeth's Drammen and Jonas' Saro.

This week:  Bronte's Høng

The village of Høng on Sealand in Denmark has about 2000 inhabitants (and about 25,000 piggies).  Høng is mostly known for its cheese.  Some of the best Danish cheeses you can get your mitts on come from this region, the more famous one being the Danish version of Camembert and also an amazing type of cheese called rygeost (smoked soft cheese) - incidentally, Bronte's granddad used to make the most famous of rygeosts in all of the land and gave her a secret recipe which she'll one day have the courage to try and make.  Maybe.

Høng is a sleepy village with just one main street running through it.  It has a great kebab shop and and even better proper bakery where people meet in the morning to stock up on Danish pastries and catch up on the local gossip.  There are not any real famous landmarks in Hong, so most tourist drive a few miles south to Trelleborg - an old Viking Fortress, most definitely worth visiting if you're in the area.  Bring your wellies.

Other notable points to see in the area:  Reersoe, a lovely sleepy old island with a sweet habour and cats with no tails.  then there's the beaches by Stillinge Strand - some of the cleanest water in Europe and the lovely bridge of Storebaelt (incidentally, at 254 metres above sealevel, also the highest point in Denmark).


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