As the summer draws to an end, crayfish parties with schnapps and singing are very popular.Due to the risk of over-fishing, restrictions on river crayfishing were introduced back in the early 1900s. The season was limited to a couple of months from August. Crayfish thus became an exclusive and much sought-after delicacy.

Today, imported crayfish are on sale all year round, but few Swedes are prepared to abandon the seasonal tradition. In some years, Chinese crayfish are deemed best, in others those imported from the US. But Swedish crayfish − needless to say − always win. Whatever their origin, crayfish in Sweden are cooked as the Swedes like them – in a brine, with plenty of crown dill.

Crayfish are to be eaten outdoors, and gaily coloured paper lanterns should be hung round the table. The most popular type of lantern shows a smiling full moon. People wear bibs round their necks and comic paper hats on their heads. You eat crayfish cold, with your fingers. Sucking noisily to extract the juices is perfectly acceptable behavior. People mostly drink beer and the inevitable schnapps.

Surströmming premiär – Fermented herring premiere

Not all Swedes eat it, but the dish has become increasingly popular, even among gourmets. While sour herring is a Swedish tradition, it is also fair to say that those who eat it do so because they like the taste. No one eats it for fun!

The dish is made from the small Baltic herring, which is caught in the spring, salted and ‘soured’ (fermented) according to a time-honored process. About a month before it is due on the table, it is packed in hermetically sealed tins, but fermentation continues, and in time the tins swell, both on top and underneath. As considerable pressure has built up in the tin, it should be opened under water. You then wash the herring before serving it. The tin should be opened outdoors but its contents are best eaten indoors as the smell attracts flies!The taste is simultaneously rounded and sharp, spicy and savory. Accoutrements are needed, however, to maintain a balance. The sour herring premiere takes place at the end of August, when the spring catch comes onto the market. True enthusiasts, however, eat the previous year’s vintage. By that time, the herring is fully matured and tender.(Source: