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The Swedish Crayfish Party: Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

By admin | August 12, 2011

Photo: Robert Young

As you may know by now, Red Rooster is hosting a special “Krawfish + Kraftor Party” on August 15th to celebrate the start of crayfish season in Sweden. The night will be filled with plenty of crayfish, beer, and aquavit and the event is not to be missed. But with our party falling right in the middle of Harlem Week (or better said, Harlem month) and our Harlem Week Menu, you may be wondering why have a crayfish party at all? Since the Swedish Crayfish Party is so important to the Scandinavian tradition, we wanted to share with you the meaning of this beloved tradition and give an insight to our first crayfish party at Red Rooster.

Who: Swedes throughout the country celebrate it in the beginning of August, at the start of crayfish season. Since the Swedes love their summers, the crayfish party is a great excuse to stay outside and enjoy this joyous event with all of the family and friends. Warning: if you find yourself in a crayfish party, you will be asked to wear a crayfish party hat and bib! Not very flattering for most people!

Photo: Andrew Crookston

What: A festive foodie party where Swedes enjoy home-infused aquavit, beer, and of course- tons of boiled crayfish! To get its unique Scandinavian flavoring, the crayfish is boiled in water with lots of salt, a little sugar, beer, and flowering dill. The flowering, or crown, dill is dill that is harvested after blossoming, which has a very distinct flavor compared to fresh dill. The crayfish is also served alongside boiled potatoes, bread, and cheese.  Also the decorations at the party are adorable, to say the least! Smiling-face lanterns are hung outside, as well as crayfish-themed table cloths and cutlery.

When: Traditionally, the first crayfish party is held right at the beginning of crayfish season during the first week of August. Crayfish season starts on the first Wednesday of August. Crayfish are always caught at night, after it gets dark. So that first Wednesday that crayfish are caught leads into the first crayfish party the next day on Thursday, after the first catch is cooked.

Why: The traditional Swedish Crayfish Party first originated from a restriction in Sweden on the crayfish fishing season. Swedes were consuming so much crayfish that the crayfish population was being depleted in the area. Hence, there was a restriction put on the season to just a period of a couple of months, starting in August. When the season finally came around, the Swedes were so elated that crayfish parties started popping up everywhere.

Where: Since crayfish is so popular in Scandinavia, crayfish parties can be found all throughout Sweden and in a few other Scandinavian countries. We’ve even brought the crayfish party here to NYC and are hosting our first crayfish party at Red Rooster Harlem. For more information of our special event, click here.

We hope you all join us on August 15th at our “Krawfish + Kraftor Party.” It should be one great Swedish party!

Photos: 1: Robert Young
2: Andrew Crookston

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