With August lurking around the corner, I feel it is my duty to fill your diary. As some of you may not be travelling to India to ‘find yourself’ or trekking the Inca Trail to capture the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ this summer, I thought I’d offer a helping hand.
Let’s talk all things Cray……fish.
Us Brits love a good ole barbecue, but what about a crayfish party? Don’t raise your eyebrows just yet. Back in the olden days, Sweden's crayfish were nearing their end - it was a sad time. To preserve these dear little shell-fishies, restrictions were put in place to prevent over-fishing, leaving August the exclusive month for crayfish catching. These little crustaceans soon became a national delicacy to be celebrated with schnapps and songs marking the end of summer. Bringing in the Autumn with style. If you are completely new to the Swedish way of partying, now is the time to grab it by the horns. Here are a few things to bear in mind for hosting your own crayfish party...
How to host a crayfish party?
So number one, you guessed it, crayfish. The name really is in the title here chaps. If you end up throwing your own party, you will need heaps of crayfish and I mean HEAPS. Don't shy away from them ladies and gents, as you will be eating with your hands - embrace it. Also don't forget some cheese, Västerbottensost is a particular fave among the Swedes, accompanied with some rolls or knäckebröd (cripsbread). For once, put the cheddar down, just trust me on this one.
2. Long table
The long table, seems an odd one, but it keeps that group morale ready for the sing-along. Obviously if you aren't in possession of a long table don't feel distressed, merely gather your nearest and dearest and prepare for what is likely to be a messy night regardless of table length.
As I said, it gets pretty messy. One of our drinks of choice was Akvavit a Scandinavian spirit between 35 - 40%. Pretty darn deadly. So whatever your boozey beverage of choice, grab some shot glasses as these will accompany you through the evening and become your best friend or arch enemy - depending on which way the night turns.
4. The songs
This is almost as important as the crayfish themselves. The singing is big, bold and beautiful, appearing sporadically throughout the evening, with additional dancing and standing on chairs because... well, why not? Such fun.
Here is an example of one typical Swedish tune...
sjung hopp falleri faderallan lej,
sjung hopp faderallan lej
Och den som inte helan tar
han inte heller halvan får
sjung hopp faderallan lej.
Once you've sung your heart out, follow it with 'skål' - cheers in English. If you don't fancy attempting the Swedish hits, do as Ikea do and shove on some Abba, you can't go wrong there. We all love a bit of Dancing Queen.
So I realise we don't all have the luxury of living on a secluded island only accessible via boat, but I would say make sure your party is outside. Stick out some candles, or lanterns. Give it that outdoorsy vibe, after all we are celebrating the end of summer, so now's the time to make the most of it.
What if I don't want to host my own party?
If you don't fancy the hassle, simply don't. The big news here folks is crayfish parties are on route to London. Yeaaaaaaaah they are. Thanks goes to the wonderful people behind Fika. If you have no idea about what I'm talking about, Fika is our Scandinavian haven. Set in upper Brick Lane this restaurant serves all kinds of traditional Nordic delicacies. BUT this August these cheeky chappies are popping up for one reason and one reason only: to show us how to crayfish. For three weeks Fika are transforming their quaint terrace into a boisterous barrel of laughs, with tables filled with flowing crayfish, party hats and all the sings.
For £35 a head you can bag yourself a seat including all the crayfish, herring, gravadlax, bread & butter you can stomach. Drinks are not included, but fun most definitely is. Sing your way through supper and devour more crayfish than even Ikea can stock. Running from July 30th to August 16th it’s cheaper than a flight to Sweden, thats all I'm saying…
Book here - FIKA@FIKALONDON.COM or 0207613 2013
Look forward to catching you all there,