August is a great month in Sweden, relaxed, great weather, happy people and of course the famous crayfish festival.
Huge great vats of steaming red crayfish are cooked outdoors and the whole family comes together by the swedish lakeside.
The tradition originates in Sweden, where a crayfish party is called a Kraftskiva.
Everyone gathers outdoors wearing colourful paper hats and coloured bibs to add to the general air of jolity. Bright paper lanterns are hang from the trees, and long wooden trestle tables are decorated ready for the feast.
All the shops go crazy and are full of brightly coloured paper lanterns and tablecloths printed with brightly coloured crayfish or prints of the man in the moon. If you want to invest in crayfish decorated plates, china and glass tableware you can find them in the shops too along with glasses, cups and anything else you can think of. I have collected a few old pieces through the years at vintage markets and Loppis in Sweden.
The atmosphere is usually boosted with plenty of fruit flavored and very strong schnapps.
Each area of Sweden does it slightly differently & if you go over to the west coast, you can actually lay out out your nets and catch the crayfish yourself. (If that’s your thing).
You then boil your crayfish in salt water and add luscious fresh dill, preferably the ‘crown dill’ harvested after the plant has flowered.
The crayfish turns from its natural black to red whilst boiling. It tastes delicious too and it is traditional to suck the juices out of the crayfish before shelling it.
A buffet style feast of bread, cheese, surstromming ( if you have the stomach for it – thats the famous Swedish rotten herring) goes with it . And so the party begins…..
My brother in law is great at arranging these parties …. if you are reading this Mikeal ….. I am arriving next week …. get those crayfish out of the water ….