Monday, December 15, 2014

A drive north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market

Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Last Sunday we drove north 45 minutes to the tiny island of Biskops Arnö where R's cousin goes to school for their Annual Christmas Market (Julmarknad) and Feast (Julbord). After the urban version of holiday decorating here in Stockholm, it was a treat to experience an un-embellished version (I know I said Stockholm's decorations were simpler—and when I say "simpler" I mean it in a complimentary way—compared to the American  / New York style, but an island in the country is even more so!)

The school had prepared a number of activities for the day, but we focused our wanderings on the few stalls with crafts, foods, and wintry decor outside before heading into one of the buildings with soaring gothic ceilings to walk around all the other tables filled with jewelry, hand-knit accessories and decorations, freshly-baked bread, pure chocolates and jams, natural creams and elixirs, vintage Swedish decor, cheese from local sheep and goats, etc. It was lovely to see the variety of goodies on display and to know that much had been inspired from actual courses available at the school (like the handmade creams from wholesome and unrefined ingredients).

Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market and mistel  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market and gothic hall   |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market and candlelight   |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market and candlelight   |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Julmarknad Christmas Market and bröd bread  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Once we'd made our rounds at the market we headed over to another building where Christmas Caroling was on the schedule. I thought there would be a choir singing, but instead we were handed sheets of lyrics as we walked in and sat down to sing for ourselves to the pianist's playing! Apart from one song I didn't recognize, all the rest were familiar to me, so I was able to plod through following the melody—and surely mangling a little Swedish pronunciation along the way.
Biskops Arnö  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Piano & Fireplace  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Biskops Arnö Julbord / Christmas Feast  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Then it was time to head into the Julbord—a beautiful thing. The Swedish julbord (Christmas table) is a buffet, a smörgåsbord if you will, of traditional hot and cold dishes served around Christmastime. Not being my first, I knew to pace myself as I went around the tables scooping up all the Swedish delicacies that I love.

For my first plate, three different types of sill (pickled herring), cold poached salmon, smoked salmon, poached eggs with caviar, and a red beet salad. Then I went back for my second plate from the other side of the massive table of offerings and topped myself off with smoked ham, köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), Janssons frestelse (Janssons temptation, a type of potato casserole), prinskorv (Swedish sausages) and a stewed spinach dish (which was much more appetizing than its name seems to imply).

During all my indulging I sipped on sparkling water, which made it all the easier to rise after a little pause for a third plate: the desserts. I tried a chokladboll (chocolate ball), wienernougat (a chocolate bar dessert made with nougat and roasted almonds), and, my favorite of the bunch, a saffron panna cotta that was divine.

And of course a strong, delicious cup of Swedish coffee to end the meal.

Biskops Arnö  |  Driving north to visit Biskops Arnös Christmas market on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Thankfully, as we were a group of 9 among our family and R's cousin's "in-law's", lunch lingered on at a leisurely and sedate pace while we chatted and then afterwards took a little walk for some fresh air and to see some more of the school (and, let's be honest, to digest) before climbing in the car to drive off the island back to Stockholm.

We were home by 4 or 5PM, but as no one could possibly even entertain the idea of dinner we decided to skip that altogether and bake pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) using the adorable vintage cookie cutters my mother-in-law had picked up at the market.

Altogether a most perfect Sunday!

One year ago: Thine self, quantified & Rainy Fridays
Two years ago: Trekking in tights & Talisman treasures & Farewell fall

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XOXO,
J.