Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord

My Christmas posts have been a lot about food, but then again it is an important part of Norwegian Yuletide. This will be the top of the cream as I will share some old home made food traditions. These are recipes passed down for many generations and I consider myself lucky having a mom who still holds on to them. From my childhood I clearly remember the smell of Christmas in our house weeks before the Holiday. It was a hectic period of course, as everything should be ready, clean, fresh and prepared. My mom and grandmother did most of it in the kitchen with fresh meat coming directly from the butcher. And then of course the cookies – 7 types at least – and the marzipan and other types of confect. It all shows up at our First Christmas Day smorgasbord at the traditional family gathering. Smorgasbord is actually a Swedish word so in Norway we call it buffet (or actually cold cuts table). Let me give you an overview and then to the details, hoping that pictures say more than thousands words:

Bone appetite – click to enlarge!

We start this buffet around noon and it lasts until 6PM at least. We are eating all the time, but most of all talking and enjoying each others company. This is the time when we share and remember the passing year and keep each other updated on plans for the year to come. Grandpa and Grandma is curios about their grandchildren’s future dreams and ambitions as well, of course:-)

Roasted ribs – Salted ham and pressed layered pork

Rolled lam and tongue of beef – Liver pate

Fried pork patties – smoked salmon

Home baked bread

You might think that we are finished with the food shown above, but no. There are all the cookies and sweets you know – an important part of Christmas treats too, especially appreciated by the children. On the left, you see Kransekake (literally “wreath cake”). It takes the form of a series of concentric rings of cake, layered on top of each other in order to form a steep-sloped pyramid. It is made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites (marzipan) the ideal Kransekake is hard to the touch, yet soft and chewy. Obtaining such a consistency can be difficult, because, although simple in theory, the preparation of a Kransekake is very delicate. Normally it is decorated with Norwegian flags and “crackers” (a toy which you pull on and it pops). This year mom did it differently as she loves to surprise us, and here is the coffee table with all the Christmas cookies:

Dessert table with home made marzipan e.g.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas food feasts as much as I’ve had eating and sharing them. It reminds me of a saying: ‘You are what you eat’, but don’t judge Norwegian only from Yuletide! and also, as I hope you’ve noticed; it’s an important part of our culture and traditions.

Soon it’s New Years Eve and we will shoot up our own fireworks. Tomorrow I’m gone to buy them and soon I’ll show you – so stay tuned!

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  1. Renny, I’ve found that holiday traditions are much the same around the world…food, family and love! And fireworks are a tradition here as well to usher out the old year and welcome in the New Year.


  2. Wow, when I send my girls down to you next year, is it okay that I come with them :-)
    This looks gorgeous.

  3. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing this. I also admire the care taken in the presentation and the garnishes. Wonderful!

  4. Renny, the spread of food you have there looks like something out of a magazine. It is all so beautiful.
    I love the wreath cake the most!

  5. Actually looks pretty healthy! What a lot of prep..I wonder how they did it all while watching kids?
    We call it buffet too.

    If I made wreath cake it would look like The Leaning Tower of Pisa!!!

    I’d love all the breads and cakes and marzipan!
    Will Diane be learning to prepare some of these things to keep the tradition going?

    Enjoy the feast and fireworks!

  6. All the food looks wonderful and very festive. The most important part is that you are celebrating with your family!
    Happy New Year!

  7. How special! The way a festive celebration should be. I wish I can taste some of them!

    Happy New Year to you and your family

  8. OMG! Those food starts from noon to 6pm??? Don’t ever get finish???

    Can I pack some home if there’s leftovers ;)

    Happy New Year Renny and thanks for sharing those food yum yum!

  9. Great pictures of the smorgasbord! Thank you for your hospitality during our stay in Mariestad. I enjoyed every minute,fine town, fine flat and very good people. Hope you had a nice Christmas Holyday there!
    Hugs and LOVE from Anna!

    PS.: Looking forward to seeing you again in 2007!

  10. Hurra, first time Anna commented a blog. And it’s yours Renny. You know why. I say no more.

    We have been to and from, which means no time to relaxe and making a smorgasbord as you showed in this posting.

    I tell you frankly: Who are better than you to tell the World about Norwegian traditions?

  11. well what do you know?? i had a norwegian style christmas meal and didn’t even kow it. since we visited my parents a few days before and were holding the big meal until a few days after when my husband’s family came to visit, i just put out a buffet on chrustmas day and we munched all day. fruits and veggies and other goodies to pick at. not the same menu but the same idea.

  12. Comme c’est beau !!!
    And certainly must be good also!

    I hear the Winter is not too bad (cold) this year up there?

    Happy holidays from Paris !!!!

  13. Happy New Year!!

    Year-end quotes for you too:

    1) G. K. Chesterton
    The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.

    2) Otomo No Yakamochi
    “Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.”

    3) Sicilian Proverb
    “Only your real friends tell you when your face is dirty.”

    4) Edgar Watson Howe
    “When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.”

    5) W. M. Lewis
    “The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”

    6) Joan Crawford
    “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.”

    May you have a blessed 07 ahead of you. *hugs hugs*


  14. Rennie:
    Now I’ve got my wife, Moose, pining after you, and it seems my daughter, Esmerelda, wants to know more about you, as well. She’s also now a regular reader of your blog, and we all think you’re the greatest! In fact, we increasingly think of you as part of the family. Indeed, at Christmas we set a place for you at our table. Too bad you weren’t there to enjoy it! We had moose (not my wife!), deer, and even some yak. We also enjoyed lots of terrific vegetables and some marvelous wine from Austria (NOT Australia, but the country WITHOUT the kangaroos). I know you know that we were thinking of you and toasting you the entire meal!
    Happy New Year, “Cousin!”

  15. Wowow! Those foods are looking great, makes me drool! Nice food preparation Renny. You’re right, the pictures speaks a thousand words.

    Wishing you a Happy New year and more blessings to come!

  16. Yes that is a lot of food. How do you not grow your waist lines? I keep wondering how much of those traditions my dad had. I know he had a few from his grandparents who I think were from Norway. We don’t have too much family here so that wouldn’t do us good to make so much food!

  17. That is just lovely!
    My sister is visiting me right now and she brought me some Norwegian chocolates that she got at some Norwegian fair in Texas. I took a picture of them and will post them later on.
    Happy New Year, especially as you get it before me!

  18. Oh, food, food, and more food. Yuletide season is fabulous. You’ve served so much in the buffet… I’m gonna get chubbier if I were invited in that feast…


    Manigong Bagong Taon, Renny!

  19. @Diane: Yes food, family and love is an important ingredience of life:-)

    @Britt-Arnhild: Can hardly wait for all of you!

    @Balou: Your welcome!

    @Lisa: Yes, and this year my mom had good help from her grandchildren.

    @MotherOfInvention: Well, the older onces looked after the younger I think.
    Yes, Diane picks up things, but the best: she does it her way:-)

    @Susie: Yes, my family is the most important to me!

    @Liza’s Eyeview: The very best way, yea!

    @CheH: Happy New Year to you too my friend!

    @Shionge: Yes, there are left overs for days!

    @Grish: Happy New Year Grish:-)

    @TorAa: Your very welcome Tor and you are welcome back any time!
    Thanks Anna, always nice with the first time:-)

    @Lime: Call it a Norwegian cold cut table next time and bone appetite!

    @Cath: Well, it’s bad course it is to warm and no snow:-( LoL
    Great to have greetings from Paris! Bonne Annee!

    @aiRah: what lovely quotes – thanks for sharing – New Year hugs to you too:-)

    @Ano: Happy New Year to all of you!

    @Raquel: Well said and Happy New Year to you too.

    @Teena: Yea, and no pizza! LoL

    @ET: It’s impossible not to grow your waist, so you don’t need more food before next year LoL
    Find out more about your grandparents!

    @karen!: Looking forward to your Norwegian chocolate post!

    @Estupidormitorian Neil: Your welcome next year!
    Godt Nytt År:-)

  20. I am sure your blog is a source of my weight gain – so much good food.

    I wonder if there would be a market for a Norwegian restaurant in Canada?

  21. wow,that’s a lot of food :) I would love to take part in such a feast .. yummy .. just looking at all makes my mouth all watery.. well it is the 25th today and I am sure you are still having your Smörgåsbord..

  22. Thanks. I found loads of fast food recipes here at this home made recipes site (the link is on the sidebar if that didnt work). I never knew you could do that! Anyway I tried some and they taste exactly like the original, which is frankly mind blowing! Not sure if it actually saves you money though….

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