A Free Lunch – in the Grocery Store!

Today, I spent extra half an hour in my favorite grocery store, eating a complimentary lunch from their julbord, which they put up one day every year a few weeks before Christmas. (Please see explanation of julbord below.)

The julbord is open for all customers, free of charge. You’re invited even if you haven’t been in the store before… you don’t need to buy anything either. Come in and have lunch!

julbord at the grocery store

Store attendants, dressed in red caps and plastic gloves, busy serving up on cardboard plates

julbordI accepted a plate from the attendant with homegrown beard and found two different herrings, a slice of ham, a piece of pate, meatball, wiener, a few more meat dishes, a slice of smoked sausage, a beetroot salad, a cabbage dish, a spoonful of a dish called “Jansson’s temptation”, and a buttered slice of bread. Condiments such as mustard were at the end of the table together with non-alcoholic beverages and a small dessert of rice pudding with raspberry jam. All excellent in taste, premium quality! Yummy!

Munching on jul foodLooking around, there were of course customers munching everywhere, young men eating and trying to maintain a cool and laidback attitude while leaning against the cheese display cabinet, elegant housewives manging their plate and purse with one hand, daddies with cardboard plates on the stroller top, little old ladies with a desperate look trying to balance their plates, handbags and shopping baskets to some place where they could put things down and start eating!

Short explanation of concept:

The Swedish word smörgåsbord is worldwide known as smorgasbord – a buffet of cold dishes, however often with a section with a few hot dishes at the end.
[smörgås = sandwich, bord = table, i.e. smörgåsbord = sandwich table]
For instance, a typical smörgåsbord at a gästgiveri (˜ inn) in Skåne offers at least half a dozen saucers with differently marinated herring, 3-4 salmon dishes (cold smoked, hot smoked, baked, marinated, poached), a few saucers of eel (smoked, grilled, poached), shrimps au naturel, shrimps in eggs with mayonnaise or aioli, a number of meats (lamb, beef, pork, smoked, grilled, sauteed), a number of patees, a number of veggie dishes, … oh yes, there’s also breads and cheeses and potato dishes. If you are really hungry, try real hard and take very small servings of every dish, you might get to taste it all… or no, I don’t think so.

At Christmas time, the smörgåsbord is supplemented with some dishes typical for the season, and renamed to julbord.

[jul = Christmas, bord = table].

little old Swedish ladies

Fridge counters were used as tables by little old ladies.


One Response to A Free Lunch – in the Grocery Store!

  • Leslie says:

    Never heard of this custom before but needless to say it sounds great! I’ve experienced some fantastic smörgåsbords in hotels, though!

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