A man in a party hat beside a woman at a table full of food and drinks; a chain of lights hangs above.

An August feast for everyone

The end of summer marks one of the best meals of the year in Sweden – the crayfish party. This get-together with neighbors, friends and family is traditionally held outdoors in August.

This time of the year used to be the end to the traditional ban on fishing for shellfish in Sweden. Today there is no ban, but few have private access to catch their own crayfish so it is more common to serve imported.

If silly hats and singing are optional – crayfish are not! Any crayfish party worth its salt has piles of them on the table. Are tasty little creatures boiled in brine and dill not your thing? Fill up with cheese pies and bread.

David Johansson and the IKEA Food product developers work on future ideas, innovations and recipe development out of a food lab in Malmö, Sweden. Together they develop food for more than 400 IKEA stores in 49 markets. We asked him about his relation to the traditional crayfish party dishes.

A table set outside for a traditional Swedish crayfish party, with large plates and jars of crayfish and black lanterns.

A man in a party hat beside a woman at a dining table set outside by a lake; a chain of lights hangs above.

How do you take your crayfish, David?

 “Crayfish is one of those delicacies you don’t want to mess with too much. I prefer it as simple as possible: crayfish boiled in a good brine with salt, beer, crown dill and a touch of sugar. I just eat them with a good piece of bread and some homemade mayonnaise. The most important thing is that you eat all the tasty parts, tail, claws and slurp the head as well,” says David.

What will be served at your feast this summer?

“A lot of crayfish of course. Bread, mayo and a cheese pie, that’s the classic setting. I like to save the shells as well, and boil a good crayfish stock or soup the day after to really make the most of this flavourful seafood,” says David.

If you can’t or won’t eat the little bottom feeders, what are your options?

“Then you have more time singing songs!”

A man in a grey apron at a wood table, drizzling oil over a plate of salad beside some glass jars with various food inside.

A cutting board with two crayfish and two pieces of crispbread with spread, beside a black lantern on a wooden table.

Want to throw the summer’s best crayfish party?

Here are the IKEA products you will need for a well-rounded menu.

KRÄFTOR Frozen crayfish in dill brine 1000g. Boiled crayfish in brine with spices.

KRÄFTSKIVA LYKTA Paper lantern for crayfisk party.

KNÄCKEBRÖD RÅG & KLI Rye and bran crispbread.

PAJ OST Short crust cheese pie with a distict but balanced taste of ripened cheese and leek.

DRYCK FLÄDER Elderberry syrup.

KRÄFTSKIVA FESTPAKET Crayfish party pack with hats, bibs, napkins, garland and songbooks.

SJÖRAPPORT Cold-water shrimp with shell, frozen.

SJÖRAPPORT Cold smoked salmon, frozen.

KNÄCKEBRÖD DILL Crispbread with dill.

OST PRÄST Semi-hard cheese with a rich, strong flavour and just the right saltness.

ÖL LJUS  LAGER A golden coloured lager beer with a round taste and with balanced bitterness, 4,7 %.

SNAPS CITRON & FLÄDER Snaps with lemon and elderflower, 38 %.

Did you know?

In the IKEA Swedish Food Market, you’ll find a wide range of ASC certified salmon and MSC certified herring products. This means that when farming and fishing, we have taken great care not to disturb the sensitive marine ecosystems. That’s our contribution to protecting seafood supplies for generations to come.