I wanted to tell you about the history behind the crayfish party tradition...&...look out for the next post where Madsens will show you how to 'make your own'...coming shortly :)

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

Swedish Crayfish parties - Kräftskiva

Kräftskiva, or Crayfish Party, is a Swedish traditional summertime eating and drinking celebration. Crayfish parties are generally held during August and the celebrations are a vital part of Swedish summer, where dining is usually outdoors. Customary party accessories are comical paper hats, paper lanterns and bibs.

Crayfish have been eaten in Sweden since the 16th century. For a long while, only the aristocracy partook of these delicacies, but in the last 100 years, crayfish became a national delicacy and all Swedes began celebrating the occasion. In the mid-19th century, people started eating crayfish as they are eaten today. The very few who have private access, of course, catch their own crayfish. The little creatures are night animals, so fishing has to be done after dark. They are caught in wire traps and the bait is often rotten or raw fish. Crayfish must be alive when placed in the saucepan of boiling liquor.

A traditional Kräftskiva

The preparation of the crayfish involves the crayfish being boiled in salt water and seasoned with fresh dill — preferably “crown dill” harvested after the plant has flowered — then served cold and eaten with the fingers. Bread, mushroom pies, strong Västerbotten cheese, salads, and other dishes are served buffet-style. Akvavit and other kinds of snaps are served, as well as beer. At Madsen we stock two kinds of Aalborg Akavavit, as well as the Swedish OP Anderson and Skåne Akvavit.
You eat crayfish cold, with your fingers, and sucking noisily to extract the juices is perfectly acceptable behaviour!

From 20 August to 25 September 2011 Madesns will be celebrating the Swedish tradition.  Head Chef Esben has created an authentic Kräftskiva menu that is available for a minimum of 4 people. Please make sure to book your table 48 hours in advance, and let them know that you would like to book this menu.


Dill marinated crayfish (500g per person)

Handmade smoked salmon canapés

Swedish Västerbotten cheese
with homemade berry compote

Onion marinated herring
with house curry salad
New potatoes
Seasonal mushroom quiche (v)

A selection of freshly baked bread
as well as artisan crisp bread

£ 39.50 per person

* Best enjoyed with a shot of our O.P. Anderson or Skåne Akvavit, not to forget the refreshing Nils Oscar beer from Nyköping.

To reserve a table please call us on  020 7225 2772  or send an email to reservations@madsenrestaurant.com

.....and a special offer to Lovenordic readers...whoever books (and shows up!) a table of 10 for a crayfish party receives a free bottle of Champagne!



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