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Crayfish party- a fun and tasty Swedish tradition!

Updated on September 30, 2011

Crayfish party is a Swedish tradition that most Swedish people look forward too. It takes place in late summer, autumn, and the main course is of course crayfish, sea crayfish or freshwater crayfish. Which one that is preferred depends on were in the country you live and what people are used to. Personally I live on the west coast of Sweden and I prefer sea crayfish. Normally the party and dining takes place outside, but if the weather is bad, it can be held indoors. Apart from crayfish there is e.g. bread, baugette, butter, dip sauce, cheese pie and shrimps.

Previously cray fishing prime day was on a special day in august. That isn't the case today, but the second Thursday in August still counts as the culinary crayfish premiere even though it has no legal significance. From the beginning it was just cheese, bread, butter, crayfish and snaps. Crayfish party has since then expanded with more dishes and accessories, and that is probably good, because it isn't so much food in crayfish. Most people celebrate the crayfish party the same way year after year, but some tries new dishes or accessories.

Some other vital ingredients and assecories!

On a crayfish party it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol. And because crayfish is rather poor in nutrients and it takes time to peel them it can sometimes become too much alcohol in relationship to food. Traditionally aquavit or some other snaps and beer is served. Aquavit is a flavored alcohol that is produced in Scandinavia and typically contains 40% alcohol by volume. It is also common to flavoring the alcohol yourself.

One can start the party with snacks and drinks before the real dining begins. The trick is to serve something good into tiny portions. It can be as simple as bread with mackarel Luxurious champangne adds a little class to the cray fish party before the more pagan drinking begins.

For each snaps there must bee traditional drinking songs, which tend to raise the atmosphere at the party. A crayfish party is often a loud party, both in singing and eating, with much slurping and smacking because it is culturally correct to suck the juice out of the crayfish and the claws before shelling it. A real crayfish party also needs some important accessories, like fanny paper hats, paper tablecloths, paper lanterns, (mostly the man in the moon), and other lamps and lightning that illuminates the nightfall and night. The common colours is red, blue, green and yellow. Often the guests bring one dish each, and pies and cold dishes as lobster salad are practical dishes to bring. When the last claw is cracked later at night, it is time for coffee and something sweet. It usually is a great idea, in order to come around after all that snaps!

Crayfish recipes

This is a common traditional recipe

Crayfish should be boiled in salt and water and with fresh dill to get really tasty. This Crayfish recipe counts for a pound of crayfish per person. Rinse the crayfish thoroughly before cooking.

4 servings

2 kg crayfish
20 dill crowns, stalks crush in a mortar for more flavor
A bottle of beer

a little more than 1/3 cup salt (1dl)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 liters of water

Boil dill, porter, salt, sugar and water in a large saucepan and boil a few minutes and then let it simmer.
In another saucepan, boil only water. This will quickly boil the uncooked and living crayfish. Take a few at a time, about 80-10 pieces, starting with the largest, one half minute until they change color. Then transfer them to the first saucepan where they can simmer. When all crayfish are in the first saucepan, let them simmer for a further 5 minutes, skimming with a ladle. Remove the pan from heat and let cool. Be careful and don't put any fingers or a similar in the water in order to avoid bacteria. When they have cooled a bit, transfer them to the fridge, preferably in a suitable bowl. Make sure that all crayfish are covered. If desired, add more dill crowns upside down in the bowl and let stand overnight. When it is time for party, lift them up and serve on a big plate or lower bowl. Garnish with new dill crowns just before it is time to eat.

Crayfish salad with dill, youghurt and cucumber

This cold salad suites well on a crayfish party. It is a low fat dish if you use yogurt. Diced tomato, avocado, yellow or red peppers boiled potatoes is also suitable in the crayfish salad.

  1. 250 gram crayfish tails
  2. 2 decilitre yogurt, Turkish yogurt (A little less than 1 cup)
  3. 1 cucumber
  4. 3 tablespoon chopped dill
  5. 2 tablespoon vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. half a red onion
  8. pinch salt
  9. half a pinch white pepper
  10. a few lettuce levees, as lettuce, green lettuce, rocket

Pour the craw fish tails in a bowl. Wash and dice the cucumber and add it. Peel and chop the onion and add it. Mix in yogurt, chopped dill, vinegar and olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper. As far as this you can prepare the crayfish salad and keep in the fridge. If it is long time in advance, be sure to wait with mixing in the diced cucumber (which would otherwise soften). Wash the lettuce leaves.
Put lettuce and lobster salad on a serving dish and enjoy.

Cold sauces to crayfish

Aioli - Homemade mayonnaise with garlic. A hot and fast crayfish mayonnaise

4 servings

  1. 2 tbsp lemon juice to
  2. 1,3 cup mayonnaise (3dl)
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 4 pinches of cayenne pepper
  5. salt and pepper

squeeze the garlic and mix with lemon, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.


Homemade mayonnaise with saffron, chili and garlic.

4 servings

  1. 3 clove garlic
  2. 1 pinch salt
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. a little less than 1 cup oil, e.g. canola oil (2 dl)
  5. 0,5 pinches of saffron
  6. 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Peel and crush the garlic i a bowl. Add salt and egg yolks. Stir it together by hand or with electric mixer or food processor until it is fluffy, about a minute. then add the oil, start with only a drop of oil, then gently add the rest of the oil by drops. Stir constantly. Gradually thicken the mixture to a garlic mayonnaise. add saffron and cayenne pepper. Taste it. Add salt and pepper if necessary. A few drops of lemon is also tasty.

Yogurt with dill
Cold yogurt sauce with dill and lemon or lime juice. A light but very tasty cold sauce.

4 servings

  1. 2 cup yogurt, Turkish yogurt (4-5 dl)
  2. 4 tbsp shopped dill
  3. 1 lemon or lime
  4. 1 pinch salt
  5. 0.5 pinches of white pepper

Mix yogurt with shopped dill in a bowl. Divide and squeeze the juice of one lemon or lime. Add salt and pepper and maybe more lemon or or lime.

All sauces is tasty with bread to toast and shrimp but also cray tails.

Cheese pie with Vasterbotten cheese

Vasterbotten cheese is a strong cheese from the Vasterbotten region of Sweden. Of course it will taste as good with other sorts of cheese that is well ripe and have strong taste.

8 bits.


  1. 125 g butter
  2. 1 cup and 2 tbsp flour (3 dl)
  3. 1 tbsp water
  4. 0,5 tsp salt

Cheese filling to the pie

  1. 3 eggs
  2. a little less than 1 cup cream (0,8 cup or 2 dl)
  3. 150 gram grated Vasterbotten cheese
  4. 0,5 tsp salt
  5. 1 pinch pepper

Preheat the oven to 250 º C. Divide the butter into rough pieces and run with flour and water in a food processor until a dough. Or knead it togheter quickly in a bowl by hand. Roll out the dough on flavored breadboard or press out the dough in a 24 cm diameter pie plate. Let it rest in the freezer for 5 minutes. Press holes in the bottom with a fork. Pre-baked crust for 5 minutes. In the mean time, whisk pie filling together, eggs, cheese, creme, salt and pepper. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust and and bake for 25 minutes or until filling is set and the pie is golden. Remove pie from the oven and let it cool. Vasterbotten Cheese pie harden more after a few hours in the fridge.

More assecories for crayfish party

Here are some more tips that suit the cray fish party. For example, crayfish salad or omelet with seafood stew. Salmon, dill or potato casserole, which is like a Spanish omelet to be served cold or a little bit warm, pie with cheese and ham, chicken mushroom and peppers pie, pie with feta cheese broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. Potato salad is liked by many, and perhaps you can serve strong chorizo sausages to add another taste than just seafood. Chicken skewers with peanut sauce is another guaranteed success among hungry guests.

Other given accesoaries is bread, butter, ripened cheese and salad.

Later in the evening, or night, it is time for coffee and something sweet and tasty. It can be a cake like a meringue cake with berries or a cheesecake.

And the most important: hungry guest in a very good mood! Then the crayfish party is a given success!


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