17 December 2009


As you may have noticed I haven't posted for a while here. And I'm sorry about it. I had a lot more ideas about Christmas food both in Sweden and in France. But I simply don't find the time right now. There's quite a lot happening in my life: happy, sad, annoying, exciting...

So I will try to stop having bad conscious about not posting here. Now you know why there's nothing new. But I will be back soon. Probably after Christmas but maybe even before that.


09 December 2009

Advent: Julöl

For those who haven't followed since the beginning of December, I am writing my own kind of Advent calendar by trying to tell about Advent & Christmas traditions in Sweden and in France. You can scroll down to see the previous posts.

For those who have been following you will know already that Jul means Christmas. And öl means beer. Christmas beer then. Indeed, Sweden as well as Denmark or even France are brewing special beers for Christmas. I haven't tried many, just he Tuborg I think but I remember it was more bitter than a normal beer.

I am not a big beer drinker and I don't know if that is because of that or if that is because I don't like julöl but I don't really see the point of a drinking a different beer at this time of the year.

Anyone liking julöl or Christmas beer or bière de Noël that could explain, please?

06 December 2009

Advent: St Nicolas

Today is St Nicolas' day. This day is not much celebrated in Sweden but in many countries in Europe: Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, UK, some Eastern Europe countries and in the northern parts of France. And especially in the Lorraine region because St Nicolas is the Patron Saint for Lorraine.

My name as you know is Lorraine and I was named so by my parents as an homage to my grand-father because our family (on my dad's side) comes from Nancy in Lorraine. As a result, although I grew up in the South of France, we celebrated St Nicolas when we were kids.

Celebrations can be slightly different from one country to another but in Lorraine St Nicolas is coming with his donkey to distribute sweets and oranges to kids that behaved well during the year. Some families even give presents as a complement or instead of Christmas.

At home we didn't do much and didn't get any presents but we got a special gingerbread shaped as St Nicolas as on the picture. Oh I loved it! I remember how happy I got every year. Those gingerbreads have a taste that is very representative of northern France and even northern Europe I would say. It can be compared to some tastes I have encountered here in Sweden. But it was very different from all the food we have in the South of France. It really was something different, something that made me travel far away to a region I had never been to. I loved it!

05 December 2009

Advent: Chocolate

As you will be able to read here this month, Christmas in Sweden is not only about giving presents but a lot about food. And there is a lot of food that is special to the Christmas time (ham, bear, bread, cookies...).

Swedes are very proud of their traditions and are keeping them year after year and I love that. Unfortunately in France, we are loosing these traditions and it seems now, nothing is happening during the whole month and people are waking up on the 23rd and are forced to go and buy all the presents at once and because everyone is doing the same, it results in a nightmare with overcrowded shops. When it comes to the food, turkey is a traditional meal for Christmas in France but not everyone is cooking it. Some families are just buying "expensive" food, things you may not be able to afford during the year: smoked salmon, foie gras, oysters, lobster, etc...

But Chocolate is equally important in Sweden and in France I think. In both countries you have several kinds of boxes but with some favourites.

In Sweden, people's favourite chocolates are without a doubt, Aladdin. It was created in 1939 and is now so popular that it sells a box per household during the Christmas time. That's around 6 millions boxes for 9.3 millions inhabitants. It is distributed by Marabou/Kraft foods.

This year they have a campaign called "Rädda julen", Save Christmas. They are planning to introduce a new pralin next year and therefore they have to take away one existing, one in = one out. And instead of chosing themselves, they ask the Swedish people to go and vote for the ones they want to keep. And of course, they are doing it right now, a way to advertise both for this year and for next year. Smart!

In France we also have many sorts of chocolate boxes such as the escargots de Lanvin, belgian chocolates (shaped as sea food) and more but my favourites are the Pyrénéens by Lindt. I admit it's a bit chauvinistic as it comes from my region and the factory is only a couple of kms from where I grew up (was about to write from where I live).

03 December 2009

Advent: Julskinka

If you read yesterday's post, you know Jul means Christmas. Skinka means ham. Julskinka is a special kind of ham cooked with mustard.

Julskinka is considered a must for Christmas Eve (the most important day) and lies on the tables both on this day and the days before. Every year, 7000 tons of julskinka are sold.
Source: Wikipedia.

This year, the situation might be a bit different and some people may want to break the traditions though. A couple of days ago, a big scandal happened here with consequences still today. Many farms with pigs have been accused of bad treatment on the animals: too little hay on the floor, not enough space and the most disgusting: leaving dead pigs to be eaten by the others. Usch! Consequence: people want to buy ecological julskinka this year.

02 December 2009

Advent: Julmust

Is there anything more Swedish that julmust? I am not sure. Jul means Christmas and Must is a soda. Julmust is the Christmas version of it (for Easter they have Påskmust). It belongs to the Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola family. Personally I hate it. My syster loves it.

And the Swedes? Ah they love it! Yesterday my friend Andreas saif we should get married because he had always dreamt of someone who would let him drink all the julmust.

Coca-Cola started to produce their own at the beginning of the 00's but it didn't really work. There's several brand, mostly small local brands but if you listen to people in Göteborg, there's only one brand: Apotekarnes. Right Andreas? ;-)

If you want to read more about it: Wikipedia of course!

01 December 2009

Advent Calendar

Today is the first day for advent calendar. And there's all kind of of these calendars. Both for kids and for adults, eatable ones or on the Internet...

The most traditional ones are the chocolate or sweets ones. I used to buy some of these a couple of years ago but then I had to eat the last 5 or 6 at once before I was flying to France so it was kind of cheating. Then the chocolate is usually not the best. And I am not perfect enough to make my own one...

This kind is supposed to be for the kids too but I suspect many adults to watch it too as it is apparently a tradition. This year the theme is as you can see "Superheroes".

Then you have new forms for advent calendars. On the Internet, mainly on blogs. And lots of Swedes are apparently fond of them. You have the ones with charades, the ones with pictures, the ones with Xmas recipes, and probably many more forms.

EDIT: Just found another one. About decoration & design with different prizes to win every day.
Source: www.trendenser.se