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Seven succulent sauces for Swedish meal time

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Swedish meatballs doused in sauce. Photo: Maia Brindley Nilsson
15:03 CET+01:00
You can't get a meal in Sweden without some kind of sauce on the side, and it can be baffling at the best of times, claims Food blogger Maia Brindley Nilsson. She sets the record straight about Sweden's essential sauces.
It wasn't long after moving to Sweden that I started taking Swedish classes. Each week a kindly Swede would volunteer to speak to a small group of us about current events to help us practice our speaking skills. Before we even got started one evening, an Argentine student insisted on asking:
 
"Why does all meat in Sweden come with sauce?"

Silence and pondering…

IN PICTURES: A guide to Sweden's top seven sauces

Whether it be beef, chicken, pork, or game, we couldn't think of examples of Swedish meat dishes served without sauce. Neither could our kindly Swede volunteer.

It's been five years since that question was posed, and during that time I've come to understand the importance of sauce to Swedes.

Sauce is the rule, not the exception, and it goes beyond meat to encompass fish dishes, appetizers, and desserts. In some instances the Swedish use of sauce is a bit baffling, and in some cases, sauce is downright necessary. Of course there are a myriad of sauces, but some are key to Swedish cuisine such as the following seven sauce classics.

And lastly, if you happen to be hosting Swedes for dinner, don’t be shy with the sauce(s). From the appetizer to the dessert, a Swede will feel right at home with the option to slather the courses with sauce. As a sauce fan, I'm 99 percent on board with this approach.

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Perhaps after another five years here I will convert to full acceptance and welcome béarnaise on my pizza. But for now, count me out.

Maia Brindley Nilsson is a designer and food enthusiast based in Malmö, Sweden. Her food blog semiswede is "sort of about Sweden, and sort of not."

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