Although I spent a happy Summer in Sweden many years ago, acquiring a bit of a taste for Swedish flavours, these days my craving is only occasionally sated by buying salted liquorice in IKEA's food hall - so it's nice to finally have a cookbook dedicated to Scandinavian cuisine and even nicer that it's focussed on Christmas. The book is nicely presented with lots of photo's throughout, mostly of the dishes themselves or table settings and decorations interspersed with some suitable snowy and atmospheric shots of Nordic landscapes. For a Christmas book it has an unusually downbeat feel with restrained, even Spartan, decorations and styling, so if you're looking for a tinsel and glitter Christmas then maybe Scandinavia isn't your first destination.
The cuisine itself is also relatively austere, but made up of delicious and unexpected combinations of available ingredients - like Chocolate Salted Popcorn, Beetroot-Cured Salmon, Kale Bruschetta and Caramel Potatoes. The book does have a chapter focussed on producing an entire Christmas Smörgåsbord but mostly the recipes are for a varied selection of Christmas treats or dishes. There are lots of simple but moreish cookies and pastries, some dipped or decorated with chocolate and mostly flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. There are also recipes for seasonal chutneys, cordials and dressings that could also make great gifts. Of course there's a clutch of pickled herring recipes too. If you're looking for a different take on Christmas fare, food of substance made with real produce and robust flavours, then this book is a treat.
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