Smørrebrød and Aqvavit (called Snaps in Scandinavia)

Smørrebrød and Aqvavit (called Snaps in Scandinavia)

Scandinavians love their food, and in our home, we were introduced to Smørrebrød and Aqvavit (known as Snaps in Scandinavia - Schnapps in Germany) when I was very young, when we had our Danish exchange student sister Lone live with us in 1978. 

Simply, this experience changed our lives, and we've adopted many Danish food traditions since then, and we generally have a Danish meal (hot and cold) for our birthdays and unique to us, we enjoy a fusion of traditional Australian Christmas celebrations with our Danish ones. Of course we have Smørrebrød at other times throughout the year too because it's too yummy to not! 

Smørrebrød is a Danish open-faced sandwich, normally on a dark sourdough rye bread. Traditional toppings include pickled herrings with a curry/apple sauce, cheese, pickled cucumber, boiled eggs and then different types of cured or processed meat in thin slices, smoked salmon and red onion.

There is usually mayonnaise, remoulade or other thick sauces put on top of the open sandwich, which is usually eaten with a knife and fork.

For festive meals, they can generally be across two courses - fish (herring, shrimp, or smoked salmon) followed by cold meat and salads, and finally cheese with bread or crackers.

One or several warm dishes are often served with the meats on special occasions, for example frikadeller with pickled red cabbage.

Toppings change with the seasons and some are mostly associated with Easter or Christmas lunches.

Smørrebrød always includes Aqvavit (Snaps), translated as 'water of life', which is a spirit distilled from potatoes and herbs (similar to a gin or a vodka).  It's traditionally served in small shot glasses, and ranges from crystal clear to a light golden colour, which comes from the barrels that it is aged in. Each Scandinavian country has their own brands - we enjoy Aqvavit from Denmark, Sweden and Norway.


One of the best things about Smørrebrød is that you can eat as much or as little as you like, and make up the open-faced sandwich with your favourite toppings, all washed down with Snaps.....simply heaven!