Food and Drink For Members

Goose blood? Five Scanian specialities you may or may not want to try

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Goose blood? Five Scanian specialities you may or may not want to try
Crown Princess Victoria presumably wondering what on earth she's supposed to do with this Scanian 'spit cake'. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

With its warm climate and fertile land, the southern county of Skåne has some of the best ingredients in Sweden. Here are five of the most famous Scanian delicacies.


Perhaps the best places to sample Skåne's delicacies are in the traditional gästgiveri or gästis found in the country towns of Sweden's most southerly county. You will need a healthy appetite!


This artery-stopping, blubbery pancake, fried in pig fat and butter, and served with slices of fried smoked pork, is something you should only really eat if you're going to spend the rest of the day harvesting the fields. And indeed, it was originally given to labourers to keep them going during the autumn harvest.

With five eggs to 400ml of milk, and just 100g of flour, it's almost an omelette. It is traditionally served with smoked pork or bacon, chopped white cabbage, and jam made from lingonberries. Some of Skåne's gästis restaurants celebrate harvest-time with all-you-can-eat äggakaka. Be very careful.

If you want to try making it yourself, here's our favourite recipe.

The Eel dinner or 'Ålagille'

Ålahue, or "eel-head", is perhaps the best of Skåne's rich stock of insults, and it reflects the eel fisheries which used to abound on the east coast around the town of Åhus, and in the county's inland waters.

The abundant fish used to be the centre of traditional eel-eating parties or ålagille, where people in Skåne would gather to scoff as many of the slimy, snake-like fish as they could. A traditional eel dinner features the fish cooked in just about every way you can imagine: fried, boiled in soup, hot smoked, salted, and more.

A dramatic decline in eel stocks in 2007 led to a ban on fishing eel in Sweden, but the regulation allowed fishermen "for whom eel is an important part of their economy" to apply for a permit, meaning eel fishing still continues.

Be aware that the eel is considered a critically endangered species, so you may want to take that into account before you feast on them. That said, you can still see plenty of smoked eel advertised at smokeries around the lakes and coasts of southern Sweden.


St Martin's Day Goose

In the weeks around November 10th, Skåne, like France and other countries, celebrates the festival of St Martin with lavish goose dinners which use everything from the goose except the beak.

Perhaps the most famous St Martin dish is the sweet and sour svartsoppa, or 'black soup', made from the blood and stock of the goose, seasoned with mashed fruit, spices and brandy. Aficionados buy frozen goose blood in plastic bags to make it at home. The soup is traditionally served with offal such as the liver, the heart, the neck, and also with the wings.

READ ALSO: Why southern Swedes feast on goose blood in November



Spettekaka, which literally means "cake on a spit", is a sweet, meringue-like cake, made and sold all over Skåne.

It is made by dripping a batter made of eggs, potato flour and sugar onto a skewer which is then rotated over a heat source, traditionally an open fire. The resulting confection looks spectacular but is extremely fragile and needs to be carefully cut with a hacksaw to prevent it shattering.

For big festive occasions, you might see a spettekaka a metre or more in height. The record, baked in Sjöbo in 1985 was 3.6 metres high. Versions of spit cakes can be found across Europe, with varieties in Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

It is very dry, so is best washed down with copious cups of powerful coffee, ice cream or port wine.


This hearty winter soup is surprisingly healthy, with hefty quantities of leek, carrots, parsnips and cabbage far outweighing the ham hock that gives it its flavour. It is served with grainy Scanian mustard, grated horseradish and chopped parsley.

It can really demonstrate the quality of vegetables grown in Skåne and is probably best consumed at the home of a friendly Skåning.



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Anonymous 2019/08/07 16:04
Good tip, Carl, thanks!
Anonymous 2019/08/05 20:55
Äggakaka is absolutely wonderful! The key is finely chopped apples; ideally a bright or sour variety, combined with the cabbage. It balances the heavy, velvety äggakaka, and smoky grease flavours (we use bacon).

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