Dinner party

Swedes like house parties, the grown-up version being dinner parties. Here’s how to pull off your very own Swedish dinner party.

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Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Relaxed – but with formalities

A Swedish dinner party is often a casual and relaxed event, a chance for friends to socialise and share a few laughs. But you can be certain that the host will sharpen his or her culinary skills and concoct something with a little extra flair for both taste buds and eyes to feast on. It is a chance to break free from the limitations of a hectic working week and focus entirely on food and pleasure.

Keen observers of a Swedish dinner party will notice a few formalities. Shoes, for example, are normally left at the door. Someone might bring indoor shoes for the occasion. Toasts follow a careful ritual, with each person making eye contact with everyone else before drinking. Clothing varies according to personal choice, and it is not unusual to see denim next to a suit and tie. That Swedes need a little time to warm up is evident in the more liberal distribution of hugs at the end of the party compared to the beginning.

The following recipes will set you up for a truly Swedish dinner party.

Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

This text and recipe come from the Swedish Institute publication The Swedish Kitchen – from Fika to Cosy Friday. Order the printed publication from swedenbookshop.com.

Last updated: 8 May 2014

Liselotte Forslin, Rikard Lagerberg & Susanne Walström

Liselotte Forslin is a freelance food writer, food stylist and author of several cookbooks. ||| Rikard Lagerberg is a Swedish writer with roots in San Francisco, Stockholm and Sligo, who, after years of a typical Swedish diet, chose a vegetarian direction for himself in the 90s. ||| Susanne Walström is a photographer based in Sweden. Her personal documentary style has been applied to a multitude of subjects, including several books about food.