Scandinavian Dishes & Desserts
The region commonly called Scandinavia encompasses the northern European countries of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Each of these countries has its own national cuisine, but because of common factors in geography and culture, there are many similarities from one country to the next.
From Copenhagen to Oslo, Scandinavian dishes often centre on a limited number of main ingredients. Entrées are frequently based on the many types of fish that inhabit the coastal waters of the North and Baltic Seas. Other types of seafood that come from further afield are also popular in the region, including the Norwegian specialty of grilled whale steak.
It would be a mistake, however, to assume that Scandinavians eat fish nearly exclusively. Although seafood is often an economical choice in a Scandinavian restaurant, pork and poultry are also common entrées. Pork loin glazed with lingonberry is a popular preparation, as is Danish pork with cracklings.
Side dishes served with Scandinavian food tend to incorporate the fruits and vegetables that grow well in the region. Root vegetables such as beets and potatoes frequently accompany entrées, but one of the most prevalent ingredients in side dishes is apple, which is served in a great variety of ways and may arrive on your plate smoked, broiled or baked.
Apples also feature largely in desserts across the region. In Sweden, for example, a specialty is the ‘crust less’ apple pie, so called because the apples are mixed directly with batter and then baked. Common dessert seasonings in Scandinavia include the ‘sweet spice’ of cardamom, as well as almond and vanilla.
Cakes are a particular specialty in many Scandinavian nations. Kardemummakaka, for example, is a variety of coffee cake spiced with cardamom and dusted with almonds. Many desserts and even fruits such as apples and oranges may be served with vanilla sauce as a topping.
Tourists already abroad in Scandinavia can easily venture to other parts of the region by taking a ferry. The Copenhagen to Oslo route, for example, runs several times during the week and allows visitors to enjoy a leisurely cruise during their holiday in Scandinavia.