CulturallyOurs How to build a swedish summer Smörgåsbord for your next outdoor picnic

Assemble A Swedish Summer Smörgåsbord

CulturallyOurs How to build a swedish summer Smörgåsbord for your next outdoor picnic

Learn how to assemble an easy and refreshing Scandinavian cold table, also know as a Smörgåsbord.

The Websters dictionary lists the smorgasbord as a lunch or a buffet that is made up of a variety of foods and dishes such as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads and relishes. It is often a large heterogeneous mixture of foods. Smorgasbord works well in large gatherings as well as for outdoor picnics. Because of the variety of foods available they are bound to pleasure everyone.

Smörgåsbord became internationally known at the 1939 New York World’s Fair when it was offered at the Swedish Pavilion’s Three Crowns Restaurant. Hence they are always associated as a Swedish Smorgasbord. It is typically a celebratory meal and guests can help themselves from a range of dishes laid out for their choice.

In Norway and Denmark, the generous buffet table is called a koldtbord which literally means ‘a cold table’. While traditional smorgasbords are usually reserved for Christmas and other holidays, in summer it makes sense and is far less work to offer a wide selection of easily prepared cold dishes – perfect for a summer picnic. Variety, complementary flavors, textures, and a colorful presentation are key to the pleasure of a well-laden koldtbord.CulturallyOurs How to build a swedish summer Smörgåsbord for your next outdoor picnicThe really nice thing about a smorgasbord is there aren’t a lot of cooked things. So if you don’t have much time for meal prep, try the smorgasbord approach. These sturdy foods hold us well in the summer heat. A smorgasbord is not like a cheese board where everything is placed on one tray and hence needs to somewhat go together. A smorgasbord is instead a collection of food items that pretty much fancy everyone’s palette. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things that work for you.

Here are some study foods that hold up well in the summer heat and can be an easy addition to your summer Swedish inspired smorgasbord.

#1 Roasted vegetables

They are great at room temperature and wonderful sprinkled over a salad or even used as a taco filing. Roast them at home or if you are feeling really adventurous, over an outdoor fire pit or grill.

#2 Smoked or cured meats and fish

Salami, ham, smoked fish and sausages are easy safe options for the outdoors. When possible select wild caught or grass-fed meats without added MSG, artificial flavorings, colors or preservatives.

#3 Hard cheeses

Parmesan, aged cheddar, gouda and wax -wrapped cheeses travel better and will not melt in the warm weather, as softer cheeses will. Pair them up with some fruit for an easy snack.

#4 Crackers

Look for sturdy crackers, crisps and flatbreads made from whole grains or rice. Include some gluten free options to cater to people with dietary restrictions. Choose varieties that will hold up under transport and humidity and less likely to break in travel.

#5 Olives and pickles

Marinated vegetables travel well and don’t require any refrigeration to hold their texture. If they are canned and sealed tight, you can open them just when you are ready to eat.

#6 Hearty greens

Kale, collard greens, spinach and arugula are great for the outdoor salads because they will not wilt as quickly as the more delicate  lettuce will. Precut your greens and transport them in a greens specific container if you want to serve a salad.

#7 Nuts and dried fruits

A satisfying alternative to sugary deserts are dried fruits and nuts that are healthy and also easy to transport. They can also be paired with dark chocolate for satisfying that sweet tooth.

Have you built a smörgåsbord before? What other items did you include in your smörgåsbord?

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