Christmas dinner in Gothenburg

Christmas dinner in Gothenburg

Gothenburg, a city og over half a million inhabitants, is a second largest city in Sweden, and the closest big “foreign” city to Oslo. There are frequent bus departures throughout  the day, and the bus takes about 3 hours 45 minutes. Since Sweden has always been a cheap shopping destination for Norwegians, and has lately become cheaper still, due to financial crisis, the week-end buses tend to fill up quickly with Norwegians going shopping, and the Norwegian language is heard everywhere in the city.
Image result for One of the main streets in Gothenburg
During the last 4 or 5 years we’ve visited Gothenburg at least once a year, usually in May. The trips were usually stressful shopping trips, with a marathon run between shops. This Christmas however we wanted to visit the city in a more relaxed manner. We browsed the Internet in search of the best Christmas dinner and ended up booking a Christmas dinner package at Elite Plaza Hotel and Swea Hof restaurant.
Christmas dinners, or julebord (in Norwegian)/julbord (in Swedish), are an important tradition in Scandinavia. Already in late November, most traditional restaurants get a special Christmas dinner menu on week-ends. In Norway, the restaurants serve lutefisk, ribbe and pinnekjoett (more about those in my next post) – traditional dishes served on Christmas Eve. The food is good, but not something you’d want to eat more then once or twice a year. On the other hand, we expected the Swedish version of julbord to be different from the Norwegian one, and now was the time to try it.
We arrived in Gothenburg at noon, Saturday 19 December. Even though it was not meant to be a shopping trip, we headed for the shops. Unfortunately, so did everybody else. It looked as if all the 500 000 inhabitants decided to do their Christmas shopping at the same time. The huge shopping mall, Nordstan, and the streets around it were filled with people, and it was impossible to walk in a quicker pace then the rest of the crowd. Getting from A to B took hours. The queues to the cashiers were long, and the atmosphere was charged with stress. There was a huge queue in front of the government wine and spirits monopoly shop, and the guard at the door made sure no one entered without permission. Luckily, most Swedes are extreme introverts, so there were no public displays of anger or aggression.
Having done our Christmas shopping, we went to a British pub, Bishop’s Arms, situated in the ground-floor of our hotel, and killed the two hours we had until dinner there. The place was filled beyond capacity, and it took all the patience and energy to get served. Also other pubs, bars and cafe shops in the city were crowded, and everybody was drinking as if there was no financial crisis and no tomorrow.
Finally, at 6 pm, after a quick change in our room, we went to the Swea Hof restaurant downstairs. We were welcomed by a cup of glogg – a non-alcoholic version of mulled wine, with spices, sugar and a lot of E food additives, ginger bread, raisins and almonds. Once at our table, we were served mumma – a traditional Swedish Christmas drink of dark ale, beer, gin and Swedish Christmas soda called julmust. The dinner itself was buffet-style. This being Sweden, the buffet comprised 13 types of herring and 7 types of salmon,  in addition to more traditional buffet foods as ham, pates, warm dishes, and shrimp salads. After all this plus several types of home-made pralines, I could hardly move, and promised myself to not to eat anything for another year or so. The promise lasted all the way to breakfast the next day.

Of the 13 types of herring, only one wasn’t too good, the rest was delicious!

7 types of salmon, accompanied by 3 types of shrimp salad.

One liter of mumma costs 220 SEK, but it’s worth a try.
On Sunday, we got up late, shopped some more, ate some more, and took the bus home, several thousand crowns poorer and a few more things we don’t really need.
Christmas dinner in Gothenburg Christmas dinner in Gothenburg Reviewed by Zahir Style on August 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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