The crayfish party is a highlight of the Nordic calendar, with the season running from early August into September. Most crayfish parties take place outdoors, making the most of the last days of a Scandinavian summer, and are celebrations for families and friends of all ages.
The crayfish are cooked in water, salt and sugar, often laced with ale and always with plenty of crown dill. They turn from black to red when cooked, ready to be served with fresh lemon, piled high on large platters. Along with the crayfish, various favourite side dishes include creamed chanterelle mushrooms on toast, freshly baked bread, topped with butter and slices of ‘Västerbottenost’ – a delicious cheese made in the Västerbotten province on the northeast coast
Crayfish are eaten cold, with one’s fingers, and sucking noisily to extract the juices is perfectly acceptable behaviour. To drink, one should expect plenty of beer and schnapps, which are downed with an accompanying song, ‘Helan Går’ being the most famous.