Here at G&T Weekends, we are big fans of any celebration, and one that involves mountains of cheese, piles of seafood and never-ending frivolities is right up our street.
It is tradition in Sweden to throw a crayfish party during August. For most of the 20th Century, crayfishing was limited throughout the summer months, in order to promote sustainability. The legal limitations would be lifted at the end of August and a crayfish party or kräftskiva, was the perfect way to celebrate. Plus, it’s a brilliant excuse to make the most of the last rays of Summer Sunshine.
We had the time of our lives at our Crayfish Party in a Swedish Lakehouse in August and can officially say that these Scandinavians have got the right idea. If you want to jump on board and throw your very own kräftskiva, we have the advice you need to set yourself up, even in a decidedly UN-Nordic city like London.
As the name suggests, you’re going to need crayfish, and lots of them, so best to get your local fishmonger to order some in. The crays are traditionally boiled and served with copious amounts of dill to garnish.
While they are the crowning glory and guests or honour at a kräftskiva, crayfish are not the only delicious delicacy offered. Strong cheeses are served to balance out the sweetness of the crays. A particular favourite is Vasterbotten, which is often served as a quiche or pie. Other accompaniments include fresh tomatoes, plenty of potatoes, knäckebröd (crispbread) and Inlagd sill (pickled herring).
SwedishFood.com and Peter’s Yard have some super easy to follow recipes. Alternatively, if you’d rather have the hard work sorted for you, be sure to check out Scandinavian Kitchen for all your foodie needs. You can order fresh produce, Scandi sweets and even have the whole affair catered for you from start to finish. Amazing.
Get ready to SKÅL! The Swedes certainly know how to drink. You’ll need lots of cold beer. We added a little personal touch to ours to compliment the festivities.
The drink of choice though is Aquavit, or Akvavit. Like vodka, this spirit is distilled from potatoes or grains, but is distinct in it’s strong aroma and taste of herbs and spices- in particular, caraway and dill. You can order a wide variety online from Amathus Drinks.
What to wear.
An important question at any party, but at a crayfish party it’s all about the accessories. Bright paper hats adorned with the little critters are a must. The amazing team over at Peter’s Yard have been kind enough to supply us keen partiers with a template. You can find that here.
It is a tradition to sing crayfish songs at any kräftskiva. There are a number of traditional snaps visa that you can find online, but we were lucky enough to have our sensational toast master DJ Fanacy write some bespoke tunes for us. (More on that soon! Keep an eye on our Blogs page and be sure to sign up for our newsletter.)
Understated is NOT the word you would use to describe the décor at a crayfish party. You’ll need to get your hands on a good number of tea-light candles (usual cautions regarding open-flames apply) and fairy lights to build the atmosphere.
Bright garlands and lanterns are a MUST. Once again, Scandinavian Kitchen comes to the Brits’ rescue. You can by your Hedlund Kraftgirland (crayfish garland), Hedlund Festlykta Måne (a large moon-face lantern) and other colourful adornments at a very reasonable price.
We had the best night. We hope you do too!