Kimi from Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House on a Scandinavian Smörgåsbord Christmas

Kimi Eklund from Kimi’s Chop and Oyster House explains the flow of a true Smörgåsbord starting with the cold dishes, “You start off with the fish, a variety of herrings, and cured gravlax, smoked salmon, poached salmon, caviar on eggs and shrimp salads.” We’re already at eight or nine dishes, just with the beautiful fish. “Then you move into the pâtés, maybe a liver pâté, some seafood pâté,” Kimi mentions that there would be at least three. So now our dish count is up to 12-ish. 

Still on the cold dishes, but moving down the table, you’ll find the cold meats. “You will find prosciutto and other cured meats,” she says. The mandatory centerpiece, Julskinka, or a salt-cured fresh ham that is sliced and often (though not always) served cold. If we’re still counting, we’re in the high teens, say 19.  

Ushering in the hot dishes are the much-loved Swedish meatballs. “Along with small little hotdog-style sausages,” says Kimi, “and little short ribs that have clove, cinnamon, spice,”  You’ll also find red and brown cabbage dishes, along with potatoes. Then the desserts, which may need their own table. “So there’s like 40 to 50 different dishes that you have.” Whew. 

A ‘Simple’ Julbord Menu

Still waiting to go all-in on a full Julbord? Here’s a simple menu to get you started.

Swedish Glögg 

Mustard Herring with crème fraiche, minced red onion & boiled baby potatoes

Swedish caviar Eggs

Gravlax with Dill Mustard Crème 

Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries

Jansson’s Frestelse (Swedish Anchovy Potato)

The Perfect Glög For Christmas Eve

One of the unique things about Swedish Glögg, a mull-spiced wine, is the addition of golden raisins, currants and whole peeled almonds. 

Scandinavian Food


  • 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (750 ml)
  • 1 cup orange vodka 
  • 1 cup sugar (depending on desired
  •  sweetness add ½ c more)
  • 3 oranges, juiced + orange peel (minus the pith)
  • ¼ cup mulling spice (or make your own by adding 4 whole cinnamon sticks, 6 star anise, 10 whole allspice, 10 cardamom pods and 10 cloves)
  • For serving: golden raisins, dried currents, peeled whole almonds


  1. Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer. 
  2. Remove from the heat and allow spices to steep into the wine for 30 minutes. Strain the mulling spices and orange peel from the wine using a fine-mesh colander or cheesecloth.
  3. Serve warm along with golden raisins and peeled whole almonds.

Tip: To peel the almonds, place a small saucepan with 4 cups water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the whole almonds to the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain off the water and push the almonds out of their skin. 

Don’t Eat Hot Food With Caviar Eggs

“The difference between how Americans eat at a buffet and how you eat at a Smörgåsbord is that you don’t pile everything on your plate all at once. “You don’t take the whole buffet and go sit down,” Kimi explains. “You start with herring. And with the herring, you will have a beer or schnapps. Then you go get some gravlax and everything that goes with it. And so on. So you probably have like six or seven plates of food. It’s a two to four-hour meal, where you are grazing and drinking.” Lesson: Don’t mix different things. Eat things one at a time or similar things together. And go back a bunch. In the words of Kimi, “You wouldn’t take the hot food with the caviar eggs.”

You’ll find everything from a traditional Donald Duck cartoon in the afternoon to lots of singing, dancing, sipping, and eating if you’re lucky enough to get invited to Julbord.  

Learn about another Utah family sharing their tradition—The Feast of the Seven Fishes!

Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to

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