Swedish Cuisine and Hospitality Etiquette

Swedish food, Credit- daysinsweden.com

Swedish food, Credit- daysinsweden.com

by Venice kichura,

Sweden is known for certain foods such as Swedish meatballs. Before visiting this country, be prepared regarding Sweden’s customs and culture.

When choosing an overseas trip in the summer many Americans want to escape the summer heat so they plan a trip to Sweden or other Scandinavian countries. Before they leave home, first-time tourists to Sweden should be prepared for what to expect in Swedish culture, as well as be aware of the country’s cuisine and social mores.

Facts about Sweden

Although Sweden is often linked with Scandanavia, it’s has distinctive features of its own.

  • As the fourth-largest European country, Sweden is also the largest of the other Scandinavian countries (which includes Finland, Denmark and Norway).
  • Roughly 15 percent of the entire area of Sweden is north of the Arctic Circle.
  • This Scandinavian country with its northerly latitude is somewhat warmer than expected because of the warm ocean winds that blow on the country. It has a slow population growth.

Swedish Seafood

Because water surrounds Sweden on all sides, it’s understandable why Swedes love seafood. The most popular seafood is salmon, which is usually marinated, smoked or cured. Sweden earns the reputation for the most ways to prepare fish than another other country in the world.

Herring is a favorite seafood that is eaten with cheese, breads and eggs. Fish is even served at breakfast. Jellied fish is a common food. Other popular seafoods include eel and crayfish.

Swedish Cuisine

Swedish cooking (husmanskost) is considered simple relative to other types of European food. The Swedes are mostly known for the Swedish smorgasbord, which means “bread and butter table”. A Swedish smorgasbord consists of both hot and cold small dishes that are served buffet-style.

Besides fish such as herring or smoked ell, a typical Swedish smorgasbord usually has dishes such as roast beef and boiled potatoes. The country is also known worldwide for its Swedish meatballs.

Swedish Culture and Hospitality

Swedish is known for its warm hospitality. so tourists should check up on some of the country’s “do’s and don’ts of entertaining.

  • Usually only coffee and cake that is served, rather than a meal.
  • When invited to a home, whether for snacks or for dinner, don’t ask for a house tour, as most likely, guests only see the dining room or sitting room.
  • Punctuality is important, but don’t arrive too early. Interestingly, it’s common for guest to remain in their car until the time the exact they’re supposed to arrive.
  • It’s important not to make a toast to anyone at a table who appears to be older. And, when offering a toast, lift a glass, nodding at everyone.
  • Thank you notes are expected to be written to the host or hostess a few days after the dinner.
  • Swedes value their personal space, so don’t get too close to someone and don’t do any needless touching.

Warning about Swedish Sunbathing

Tourists should stay clear of certain beaches if nudity offends them. As Swedes are open-minded people, tourists shouldn’t be shocked because it’s not unusual to see many sunbathers or swimming sunbathing or swimming in their birthday suits.

In this country nudism is common, but the Swedes consider nudism (which they call naturalism) non-sexual. Tourists uncomfortable with nudity should know beforehand which beaches are nude beaches to avoid them.

Finally, it’s helpful to keep a travel journal, besides taking plenty of photos. This doesn’t mean for a tourist has to write in it every day of the trip. Just be sure to take notes on details that are considered unique to the country. Once home, travel notes could easily be turned into an internet blog that can help other future travelers to the land of Sweden.


Food By Country: Sweden (date accessed 6/11/2010).

Kwintessential: Swedish Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette(date accessed 6/11/2010).

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