Sweden is located within 3 climate regions and enjoys a great variety of plants and animals. It has 4 seasons year-round within its territory but 2 of them determine its culinary identity: winter and summer. All of the tendencies and fancies in the traditional cuisine are a result of the absence or presence of sunlight and warm weather.
Preserving and storing food is vital to this cuisine, as a way to have it last most of the year. Smoking, marinating, salting, drying, fermenting - all culinary processes that extend the shelf life of the products and that are still followed today.
All Swedes have free access to their forests and rural areas and constantly travel far and wide around the country to collect strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, elder, mountain-ash, apples and all sorts of fruits, herbs, spices and mushrooms.
The main part of the Swedish menu is represented by differently prepared fish dishes, molluscs, meat (including deer), birds (mainly chickens), vegetables and fruits.
At lunch they usually serve cold dishes or simple warm dishes of meat and eggs, complete with potatoes or bread. The main meal of the day is dinner. It consists of soup, fish, meat, birds or a stuffed omelette with small servings of differently prepared potatoes, boiled pasta, beans with white sauce, roasted mushrooms and large servings of cooked vegetables or vegetable salads.
Swedish cuisine is world famous with its buffet of warm and cold dishes or "smorgasbord" which can be had year-round. Usually it starts off with fermented herring with mustard, marinated red onions and crushed black pepper, or with sherry and tomatoes. The herring may be served with fresh potatoes seasoned with dill. Crunchy bread is served with brie, emmental or gruyere. Then it's time for salmon - canned or fresh, again with fresh baked potatoes.
In Sweden, each meal ends with coffee. It helps better highlight the qualities of the pastries. Plus a break is more fulfilling with a cup of coffee.
Some recipes from Swedish cuisine: Swedish meatballs with sauce, Swedish liver pâté, terrine with smoked salmon, Swedish salad with potatoes, Swedish chocolate pudding, caramelized onions, Swedish-style turkey, cinnamon scones, Swedish cream soup with beer.