Summer might officially begin June 21, but the longest days of the year in Sweden are truly celebrated during the weekend after the solstice - this year, June 24 - 26. The days are incredibly long - the sun barely goes down around midnight - so locals celebrate with lots of schnapps and pickled herring. Revelers party until the wee hours each night, while most families will leave the city and escape to their country homes. In Stockholm, locals celebrate by raising a traditional Maypole, then dancing around it while singing folk tunes. They've been partying like this since 1892, and it's quite a site to behold.
I filed a brief report about Midsummer for P.R.I.'s "The World" last Friday, but thought I would shoot some extra video and share some of my photo album with you. We packed a ton of eating in, of course, and so I tried to take notes where appropriate. Among the many other things I've fallen hard for (besides the ubiquitous herring and knäckebröd, or flatbread), I'll happily go on the record as saying Sweden has the best bread and butter service in the world, due in part to the vast array of sizes, shapes, artisanal ingredients, techniques and range of always-served-soft-at-room-temp butters (sorry, France). I also ran into a couple of Chicagoans while I was here, and I'll have that story tomorrow afternoon in another post.
Here's a partial list of some of the places we ate: