Tag Archives: Swedish christmas

Tjolöholm Castle

Christmas at Tjöloholm Castle

It’s officially 30 days to Christmas! I’m starting to learn that no one does Early Christmas like the Swedes do. Shop windows are laden with Christmas wreaths and mistletoe and lights are strung on trees across the city. It’s easy to be carried away with the spirit of Christmas.


Clarion Hotel in Gothenburg during the Christmas opening

In this festive mood, the Welcome Services at the University of Gothenburg decided to take an eager group of international students on a day trip to Tjolöholm Castle also knows as Tjöloholms Slott in Swedish to experience a little Swedish Christmas magic.

Tjolöholm Castle

The Castle is open to the public for tours during the summer and over all weekends throughout the year. It has gardens that face the Sea which make for a breathtaking view.

 Tjöloholm castle view

The view from the Castle looking out to the Sea

Interesting Fact: The castle was built for James Fredrik Dickson and his wife Blanche in 1904, but sadly James never lived to see its completion as he died from blood poisoning shortly after construction began.

The tour takes you to various parts of the castle and my favorite part of the tour was seeing the instant hairdryer that was used by Blanche, Frederik’s wife and the shower that sprayed water from all directions. I noted that Blanche had a flair for the most interesting contraptions even if it was the 1900’s. She must have been one cool lady.


Blanche’s instant hair dryer

Christmas fever

After all that walking a hot cup of cocoa and some churros covered in chocolate were in order. The atmosphere was enchanting with all the Christmas trees and lights strung on the trees and all over the castle, however if you’re not such a fan of the cold, I suggest visiting during the summer.


My first Churros

However, despite the weather, I loved the authentic feeling with horse carriage rides for the kids and the Christmas markets filled with all sorts of wares from animal hides, handmade chocolate, home brewed Julmust to baubles and tinsel.


Keep warm and keep checking in to learn about all the fun Christmas and Lucia festivities in the weeks to come!

Christmas fever

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From Sweden with Love!

Have yourself a Merry Swedish Christmas

In Sweden, Christmas isn’t Christmas without saffransbullarpepparkakor, glögg and julmust.

Last year, I blogged about the Swedish Christmas flavours: Pepparkakor, Glögg & Julmust. With IKEA all around, you don’t need to travel all the way to Sweden to enjoy a Swedish Christmas – there you’ll find the pepparkakor, glögg and julmust. However, the list is still not complete.

What is missing is the freshly baked Saffransbullar.

Saffransbullar or Lussebullar  are saffron buns flavoured with golden saffron and dark raisins and often shaped into ‘Lucia cats’. I started to bake my own lussebullar since I first learned to bake it in school last year. I use the saffransbullar recipe from Sweden.se, tried, tested and recommended. This is a good ‘get-baking-together’ activity with your friends, whether you are in Sweden or not. Well, let’s get baking.

Saffransbullar – Ingredients 

(25 buns)
1 g saffron threads
50 g yeast
200 g sugar
300 ml milk
1 egg
150 g butter
1 tsp salt
750 g flour
100 g raisins

1 egg
2 tbs water


To make ‘Lucia cats’, grind the saffron along with a cube of sugar, using a mortar and pestle. Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour on the milk.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the raisins, and knead the dough in a dough mixer for 10 minutes. Carefully mix in most of the raisins, cover the dough and let it rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll the buns in an oblong shape, about 10 cm (4 in) long. Cover them and let rest for 10 minutes, then roll them twice as long and twist the ends of each bun in opposite directions to form a sort of figure 8. Put one raisin in the middle of each half figure 8.

Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise under a towel for about 90 minutes, or until the buns have doubled in size. Bake in the oven at 220°C (425°F) for 5 minutes. Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture on the buns. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Da-dahhh, baking complete. Bon appétit and have yourself a Merry Swedish Christmas.


Swedish Christmas Essentials

It’s December and Christmas is dawning. Here are the essential flavours that without doubt will put you in the right Swedish holiday mood. Christmas in Sweden means the display of lots of lights, presumably in part to counter the ever-longer darkness. These flavours clearly evokes a certain sense of the overwhelming Christmas spirit.

GlšggImage of Glögg: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se


Glögg is a spiced mulled red wine served hot, also comes with non-alcoholic alternatives. It should be served piping hot to stand the freezing winter nights and preferably together with raisins and almonds left soaking in the mug and thoroughly savoured. There’s something very comforting about glögg when you’re hit by ever more chilling winds, as winter makes itself increasingly known, and all in all brings you closer and closer to a warm and cosy Christmas.


Pepparkakor are thin and crispy ginger biscuits with lots of flavour. Cloves, cinnamon and cardamom are the most important and distinct ingredients, with the actual ginger of the ginger biscuit not being particularly prominent at all. Try them together with a bit of blue cheese on top; it will end up proven virtually irresistible, and becomes particularly good when accompanied with a cup of glögg.


Julmust (“jul” meaning Christmas and “must” referring to the not yet fermented juice of fruits or berries) is a soft drink with a taste of hops, malt, and various undisclosed spices. It outsells Coca-Cola during the Christmas period; in fact Coca-Cola’s sales may drop as much as fifty percent as julmust is generally considered the essential and, sometimes only acceptable, non-alcoholic holiday drink and is an undeniable ‘must’ for the Christmas advent fika.

Meet Tomte, the Swedish Santa

Tomte or Nisse is the Swedish version of Santa and can be found everywhere in Sweden. Tomte is a mythological creature that is generally no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red. Below are Tomte from Nordiska Kompaniet window display in Gothenburg. As you can see, the tomote are busy with baking pepparkakor.


Have a great festive season everyone! Cheers and skål!