The warm taste of the cold Swedish winter

In the northern parts of Sweden, winters can be hard. During wintertime, daylight is very sparse and the nights are long, cold and crispy. But Swedish homes are anything but dark and cold.

This is the time when Swedes make great efforts in creating a warm and cosy atmosphere at home. Families spend time preparing Christmas decorations while enjoying good things to eat and drink. And food does bring people together when friends and family gather to share not only gifts but also food.

The julbord is the grandest feast of the year. As Christmas Eve approaches, all food is prepared and ready to be enjoyed. On most Swedish julbord you will find oven-baked or boiled Christmas ham, meatballs, herring, marinated salmon, eggs, variations of cabbage, crispbread, cheese and more.

This is also the time of the year when we take our time, pausing for a leisurely sip of tea, and enjoy the warmth. What better way to pass a cold winter afternoon? The hot tea can be accompanied by a typical saffron bun or gingerbread. With a little help from the EGENTID range of loose teas, the home becomes a comfortable shelter from the winter cold.

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 more than 50 markets. We asked him about the traditional winter tastes.

What are the winter flavours all about?

“Since Swedish winters are cold and dark, the spices used are the ones that give you a warm and earthy feeling. Warm and earthy notes like cloves, cinnamon, saffron, cardamom, orange peel, ginger, red wine, allspice pepper, dark green veggies, dried fruit, sweets like syrup molasses, dark rye bread, mustard etc. That’s the taste of Swedish winter,” says David.

What makes teas good to cook with?

“Teas can basically be used as herbs. Sometimes teas offer even more aromatic and flowery flavours that bring a tasty twist. But it requires a bit of practice may be as it is important to use the right type of teas for the right dishes because really bold aromatic flavours can easily overpower the dish as well,” David continues.

So, David, what is your favourite flavour of the season?

“It’s tough to say but to choose one I have to say the traditional ‘glögg’ spices (mulled red wine). That flavour combination is the essence of a dark Swedish December evening. Glögg is a sweetened red wine that simmers with, orange peel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and more.”

The teas can also serve as an ingredient in a base for a great seasoning, a warm drink or a delicious truffle.

EGENTID peppermint and cacao tea
EGENTID peppermint and cacao tea
EGENTID cocoa & mint tea truffles
EGENTID cocoa & mint tea truffles

Cocoa & mint tea truffles

  1. A classic flavour combination, chocolate and mint are made truly irresistible in these decadent truffles.
  2. Makes: Approx. 16 truffles, time: 15 min + 1–2 hrs to chill
  3. Ingredients:
  4. 4 Tbsp. EGENTID Peppermint Tea with Cocoa, divided into two equal portions
  5. 20 g butter
  6. 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  7. 300 g CHOKLAD MÖRK 70%
  8. 2 dl regular cream or oat cream
  9. Step by step:
  10. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until hot but not boiling and add 2 tablespoons of the tea. Remove from the heat and let steep for 4–5 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into chip-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water to melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat.
  12. Pour the cream through a strainer into the bowl of melted chocolate and discard the tea leaves. With a spatula, fold the cream and chocolate together until you have a smooth batter.
  13. Stir in the butter. Continue to stir until the mixture takes on a glossy sheen.
  14. Pour into a half-litre container and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge until the chocolate sets, 1–2 hours.
  15. Using a mortar and pestle, gently grind the 2 remaining tablespoons of the tea leaves and combine with the cocoa powder. When the chocolate is ready, use a spoon to form small truffles. Roll each truffle by hand until smooth; then roll them in the cocoa-tea mixture. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes if soft.
  16. Note: Truffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Peppermint and cacao tea

  1. Makes 4 cups
  2. Ingredients
  3. 4 Tbsp. EGENTID Peppermint Tea
  4. with Cocoa
  5. 4 Tbsp. cocoa mint tea syrup
  6. 100 ml double cream
  7. 800 ml hot water

Cocoa mint tea syrup

  1. Ingredients
  2. 1 dl sugar
  3. 1 dl water
  4. 1 Tbsp. EGENTID Peppermint tea with Cocoa
  5. Step by step:
  6. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves completely.
  7. Add the tea and remove from the heat. Let cool and pour into a jar or bottle with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week
  8. Brew the tea and water and let chill. To serve, add the cocoa mint tea syrup and double cream. Stir with ice.