Swedish julbord

Christmas and the run up to it is all about one thing: the famed Swedish smorgasbord that is called Julbord (pronounced ‘yuleboard’) at Christmas time. This is where you get practically 101 dishes elbowing for space on a table or, a series of tables. And as in Swedish society, there is proper order involved in how you negotiate your way through the meal. There should be 5 courses. There should be a fresh plate each time. There should be lashings of schnapps and beer involved. And there should be one full belly at the end.

  • Christmas smorgasbord at Bjertorps Castle

Christmas smorgasbord at Bjertorps Castle


December 24th, Christmas Eve, or every day in December when restaurants and bars cater to Christmas work parties. You should know that Swedes celebrate Christmas a day in advance, on the 24th, as they are very time conscious people. Swedes value time like, well, the Swiss, maybe.


All over Sweden.


Julbord is generally celebrated with family on Christmas eve, with friends on the weekends in December, and with work-mates for the client/office Christmas parties during the working week.

How to do it like a local:

Start with the pickled herring, move on to the cold meats, pates and reindeer sausage, then the hot dishes including the heavenly Janssons Frestelse (creamed potato, onion and pickled sprat dish), hot meat stews, cheeses and sweets. A die-hard, always-on-the-menu-but-seldom-ordered Julbord traditional food is lutfisk (ling fish). It is a simply seasoned ‘husmanskost’ (home cooking style) speciality stemming from hard times when fish was preserved via drying and then soaked before cooking.


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