1. Food

Classic Dishes of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden


Although the Scandinavian countries share several dishes in common, there are many regional specialties that capitalize upon the availability of local ingredients and reflect each nation's unique ethnic traditions, geography, and political history.
  1. The Specialties of Denmark
  2. The Specialties of Finland
  3. The Specialties of Iceland
  4. The Specialties of Norway
  5. The Specialties of Sweden

The Specialties of Denmark

Perhaps the most "international" of Scandinavian cuisines, Danish food reflects strong French, German, and English influences. Blessed with prosperous dairy lands, the Danes use their peerless milk, butter, and cheeses in many varieties of rich pastries, baked goods, sauces, and fondues.

The Specialties of Finland

When, in 1939 and 1944, Finland was invaded by Russia, the Karelian people of eastern Finland left their homes in a mass exodus - every man, woman, and child - and were sheltered by their countrymen in the west, beyond the new political border. Finnish cuisine thus benefits from both Scandinavian and eastern European influences.

The Specialties of Iceland

An easy yet elegant Scandinavian appetizer

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, has long faced the challenge of feeding its people from an environment where fuel is scarce and grain cannot grow. Sheep, however, thrive (there are more sheep than people), the oceans are bountiful with fish and edible seaweed, and a wide variety of game birds such as puffins, ptarmigans, and guillemots abound.

The Specialties of Norway

Norwegian Cardamom Crackers

Even today, Norway is a land of hunters and of fishermen who live close to nature, taking pride in their ability to harvest and prepare fish, venison, and other wild game. It is also a land of tradition, where families gather to prepare intricately crafted baked goods, lefse, and specialty breads using decades-old methods and techniques. Ask a fourth-generation Norwegian-American why she laboriously rices her potatoes by hand for her lefse rather than using her stand mixer, and she'll say quite simply, "Because it will taste better this way." And it does.

The Specialties of Sweden

Swedish Lussekatter

Swedish Food: it's more than meatballs. From Smorgastarta to Princess Cake, from Hasselback's Potatoes to Biff a la Lindstrom, Swedish cuisine typifies the Scandinavians' gift for turning simple ingredients into elegant dishes as beautiful as they are edible.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.