Monday, 10 May 2010

Scandinavia Dreamin

You'll remember the excitement I felt back in December, as I wrote about the St Lucia festivities that take place right around the Christmas period in Sweden. The Norwegians and the Swedes have another long-standing tradition of celebrating the summer season with a day of outdoor fun, eating, drinking and dancing around the maypole. The 17th of May, being the National Day for Norway and the 25th of the June, being the Midsummer festivities for both Sweden and Norway. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to celebrate Midsummer with a couple friends in Sweden and I still foster fond memories of the day. What better way to celebrate the start of summer than by eating herring, fresh crayfish and drinking Aquavit while dancing around the maypole with inebriated Swedes? I say none. I have never met or encountered a people more elated about summertime than the Scandinavians. There's something about sunshine that brightens up their faces. It's almost mechanical. Like they've been stuck in a dark hole all year round, watching the sun set and the moon rise 365 times before summer, the real fun, can finally begin - the day of Midsummer.
The Midsummer Swedish Maypole

I am a huge fan of Scandinavia and its many festive traditions and have been ever since a dear friend of mine from Oslo introduced me to her culture my Freshmen year of college and when a couple years later, my lovely Swedish man, traveled with me to his motherland for the Midsummer celebrations. Navigating through the Norwegian Fjords last summer made me even more positive that this is a culture I respect and will remain fascinated with for years to come.

The advantage of living in a city like London as an expat, as opposed to living in a city like, say Liverpool, means that certain products and facilities, are at arms length when you are missing your home country and all of its cultural and culinary offerings. Living in London during Midsummer means that you can find places to be when the festivities take place. I witnessed the exciting Swedish festivities with excitement last year in Hyde Park and I look forward to trying out the Norwegian 17th of May festivities in Southwark Park.

17th of May in Southwark Park, SE16

You can also be sure to find the stores to purchase the goods from when you are hosting a dinner party and you want to impress your Swedish and non-Swedish guests. Scandinavian Kitchen has been my go-to Scandi place for my Senapssill and pickled Smorgas Gurka cravings as I work right down the street.

 Pickled Herring, in various sauces

 Sweetened Pickles

 Scandinavia's Favourite: the Wasa Toast Bread

The Scandi Kitchen is also a cafe, where you can sit and enjoy meatballs, pizza (Swedish cabbage) and beetroot salads, shrimp and dill on toast and lots of many other delicious dishes. Quite kid-friendly as well, Met Mum and I enjoyed a lovely lunch there a couple weeks ago, while her adorable daughter Little L licked her lips from the Maribou chocolate milk she was sipping.

 Swedish Maribou Chocolate

Scandinavian Kitchen
61 Great Titchfield Street
0207 580 7161


  1. And how enjoyable our little lunch was! :) xx MM

  2. I have to go there!!! I lve scandi food...

  3. Ooh Aquavit... I have fond memories of that from a trip to Norway... well... what I can actually remember! x

  4. Oh, how I would have loved to have been there too! And the girl in the yellow dress?.... love, love, love that picture!

  5. I love their yellow pants! They just scream, "It's time to dance."

  6. now this most certainly is my favorite post. :)

  7. Hi Emily - I am right there with you when it comes to being fascinated by the Scandinavians! I am half Danish so it's all very familiar to me! The nearest I can get to Swedish meatballs is IKEA - I expect no way near as good as the ones at The Scandinavian Kitchen. Nice post, Louise x

  8. Love your Nordic post - I went on a boat trip a few years back to the Swedish Fjords, stunning. I love the Scandinavians, especially when it comes to their incredible penchant for design, architecture and interiors! Thoroughly enjoying your posts, it's great to see that there is literally all corners of the world celebrating culture in all corners of London. There is alot more to our capital then meets the eye!

  9. PS: I have tagged you in a photo meme - go on, show off your newly acquired skills :)

  10. Great post, it all sounds very interesting.

  11. Great post..."Scandi kitchen" and "Totally Swedish" in Marlylebone are a must for any Scandi expat in London... especially now that IKEA is rumored to only sell their own brand products and no more "abba sill" and other Swedish classics.

  12. Best Post Ever. unbiased opinion of course.

  13. I'm a Scandophile too- I love everything I know about the countries really- though am not keen on the herring!

    I would dearly love to go to the Fjords- it would be a dream- I would love to go with a loved one, I would it far more romantic than a tropical beach, nice though those are. One day I will see the northern lights too, I am obsessed with them.