No matter what your family celebrates during the holiday season it is very likely that your festivities are built around food. And, if there is any occasion to spend some extra cash and effort on food then this is it.
This year more than ever, food and foodies are in focus as the HUI Research (formerly the Swedish Retail Institute) recently declared that 2011's official Christmas Present is a bag of freshly delivered groceries and recipes, otherwise known in Sweden as “Matkasse”.
Below is a list of delicatessens and food shops that will ensure a successful celebration whether served on your Christmas table (Julbord) or to put in your "matkasse".
Bröderna Axelssons Fisk (Dalagatan 78, Vasastan)
This small fish store in Vasastan has remained a local favorite due it's close contact with reliable suppliers and commitment to personal service. At Bröderna Axelssons, quality reins over quantity and while they don't have the largest selection of fish, they are a dependable stop for Maine lobsters, Norwegian crabs and shrimp from Sweden's west coast. They also have locations in Sollentuna, Kungsängen and Bromma so stop by before you plan your New Year's Eve party!
Other fish stores worth noting....
Gamla Stans Fisk (Gamla Stan)
Melanders Fisk (multiple locations)
Taylors and Jones (Kungsholmen)
Meats and sausages from Sweden as well as cheeses and groceries from the UK is what you will find when you walk down the stairs into this basement butcher shop. Got a family full of meat lovers? T & J is smartly following this year's trend of groceries-in-a-box by offering a meat box for 2, 4 or 6 people. If that isn't enough of a reason to check out this shop then stop by and inquire about their sausage making class. It is the perfect gift for the uncle who has everything.
Other meat shops worth noting....
Sandstroms Kött (Nacka)
Cheese and Deli foods
I can't help but pop into Vasastans Ost every time I pass by it. It's a true food-lovers paradise. They have cheeses from all over Europe as well as locally produced delicacies from Sweden and their freshly made sandwiches are heaven on earth.
Vasastans Ost offers cheese tastings, ready-made gift boxes and gift certificates for the holidays.
Planning a Glögg Party? The experts here have a pre-set Glögg Buffet Menu (minimum 10 people) that includes Stilton cheese, duck paté, smoked salmon and much more. Pick it up on your way home from work and your party is a guaranteed success, without the stress.
Winjas Ost Butik (Kungsholmen)
It would be easy to walk by this cheese store if it weren't for the pungent smell of cheese wafting out to the sidewalk.
Winjas isn't fancy but it is one of the best shops in town. They have an enormous selection of cheeses; most of which are already pre-cut so you are stuck buying rather large quantities. In addition to cheeses they also have meats, sausages (I recommend the wild boar salami), and other delicacies from around the world.
French food lovers will appreciate their selection of patés as well as duck confit from Castelnaudary. Their staff are pros at helping you put together a gift box that will impress even the pickiest foodie in your family.
Other cheese shops worth noting....
A Tavola (Vasastan)
Gamla Amsterdam (Södermalm)
Chocolate and Confectionaries
Choklad Fabriken (Multiple Locations)
It's not surprising that there is a shortage of good chocolate stores in a country where the dessert culture is influenced by bulk candy, licorice and sourdough.
Stockholm could use a few more chocolateries, but in the meantime Chokladfabriken does a good job of satisfying your chocolate cravings. For a cozy cup of hot chocolate try their small store and cafe on Regeringsgatan. If you are Christmas shopping then their flagship store on Renstiernas gata is a must where countless beautiful chocolate goodies await you behind the glass counters.
If you don't know what to buy then why not purchase a gift certificate to a dessert making class so that your loved ones can make their own favorites!
Other chocolate stores worth noting....
Boutique de Chocolat (Gamla Stan)
Middle East/Asian delicacies
Japanska Torget (City)
Stockholm's largest selection of Japanese tea kettles, cups and accessories and cookware lines the walls of this Japanese store. Regulars often stop by Japanska Torget to stock up on Japanese seaweed cakes, rice cakes, rammen and udon noodle bowls, sauces and sweets.
Indian Food Center (Kungsholmen)
The Indian Food Centre doesn't look like much from the outside, but it is a treasure of spices on the inside.
You can buy chili powder, curry seasoning, turmeric and plenty of other tear jerking spices along with lentils, nuts, seeds in bulk (500 hg – 1 kg). Perfect for stews, soups and curries that can feed the entire family while ensuring leftovers.
Hötorgshallen is a mecca for food lovers, but what makes this market unique from the others in Sweden is the concentration and assortment of specialty foods from all over the world including, South America, Philippines, Eastern Mediterranean, Hungary, Poland, The Balkans, Finland, Germany, Middle East and more.
No time to cook due to the holiday rush? Treat your family (and yourself) to a quick and delicious mid-week meal by picking up a freshly made and ready to eat family meal on your way home from work. The grocery stores and eco-markets listed here offer an exceptional assortment of organic food stuffs and local produce.
Saltå Kvarn (Södermalm)
Urban Deli (Södermalm)
ICA Baner (Östermalm)
Kajsa Warg (multiple locations)
Eat Ekoaffären (City)