Kräftskiva: A Swedish Product, That’s NOT a Piece of Furniture


"Crayfish Party" - Sweden's way of celebrating the end of summer

SKÄR, EKBY BJÄRNUM, HOVÅS, POÄNG, MARKÖR” – we’ve all come across these ineffable terms at one point or another, while strolling through a large, maze-like warehouse: Sweden’s world renowned home-furnishing store, a.k.a. IKEA. So naturally, when I stumbled upon the word Kräftskiva, I picture a stylish lamp or a coffee table to go with the white couch, TYLÖSAND.  The last thing I expected to learn was something of or related to crayfish.

Well, my mind imagery couldn’t have been off the radar more, because Kräftskiva is actually an annual end of the summer eating and drinking celebration, traditionally held in Sweden that centers around the aquatic animal, crayfish.

Early in the 20th century, crayfishing was legally restricted to a few months starting in August. Therefore, crayfish became a much sought after (and pricey) delicacy in Sweden. Though readily available today with the help of imported crayfish (e.g. from China and U.S.), the Swedish population celebrates the ending of summer with crayfish parties all throughout August. By tradition, the fish is prepared cold with brine and crown dill and the dining scene takes place outdoors (given that the weather holds up) with picnic tables covered in paper cloths and colorful decor (paper lanterns printed with a smiling full moon.) Crayfish are consumed in large amounts and are usually accompanied by cheese and bread (and the occasional schnapps.)

Smaklig måltid! That’s Swedish for “enjoy your meal!”

Can’t join in on the festivities in Sweden? Keep a lookout for your local IKEA store as some are hosting an all-you-can-eat crayfish festival (attention: tickets required.)

FYI: It is culturally accepted to suck the juice out of the crayfish before shelling it.

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