A few weeks ago, our friends Per (Swedish) and his lovely wife Diana (Latvian) invited us to their beautiful seaside home for a traditional Swedish end of summer crayfish dinner.
A bit of research tells me that crayfish have been eaten in Sweden since the 1500s. Originally, the delicacy was only enjoyed by the Swedish aristocracy and was used in sausage, ragout, patties or puddings.*
In the 1800s, the general Swedish population began masticating on crayfish too and by the 1900s, crayfish consumption had spread to the middle class. Soon crayfish were a national delicacy. Today, the crayfish feast is a typical Swedish festivity that marks the end of the summer.
The little freshwater lobsters are cooked in brine with dill. After peeling the crayfish, the brine is meant to be sucked out of the body. Then you eat the meat with cheese, bread and aquavit, an alcohol flavored with caraway or dill. And wine, lots of wine.
A great big thank you to Per and Diana for sharing this tradition with us!