Christmas buffet Swedish style

To a visitor it may seem like any other buffet or Smorgasbord with loads of different kinds of foods, but the Julbord (Christmas buffet) is sacred to many Swedes. Of course there are differences between the south of Sweden and the north as well as there are themed Cristmas buffets, like the one served by Elaine Asp with a taste of Sapmi and the one at Big River Camp in Storåbränna with a taste of the wild, and of course from family to family.

Santa Claus | Photo: Mats Forslund
Santa Claus | Photo: Mats Forslund

Swedish favourites on the Christmas Buffet table

  • Sill (pickled herring) – Comes in a variety of sauces. The most common is with onions and the second most common is a creamed mustard sauce.
  • Julskinka (Christmas ham – A breaded ham sliced on order, often placed as the centerpiece of the table with a decorated fork for a handle and a knife on the side.
  • Leverpastej (liver paté) – You get better points as a host if you make it yourself.
  • Rödbetssallad (red beet salad) – Creamed with the red beets in little dices. Served with home made (or bought) Swedish meat balls.
  • Ost (different kinds of cheese) – Both hard cheese and soft variations. Preferably local produce. Served with crackers and grapes.
  • Janssons Frestelse – A casserole made-up of julienned potatoes, sliced onions, anchovy fillets and cream, baked in the oven.
  • Prinskorv – Tiny sausages often cut at the ends to make them dressed to the party.
  • Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) – No Christmas without it! In the north of Sweden they are traditionally made from minced moose meat.
  • Kokt potatis (cooked potatoes) – To go with all the salty foods.
  • Revbensspjäll (ribs)
  • Lutfisk – A remnant of the fasting traditions from way back in time. It was common to dry the fish and soak it before Christmas for days to get all the saltiness out. Served with a white creamy sauce and spiced with some ground white pepper.
  • Tunnbröd (thin leavened bread) – A must on Christmas tables in the north of Sweden.
  • Ris a la Malta – Rice pudding with cream and vanilla sugar for dessert along with Swedish cookies, fudge and home made toffee called Knäck. Pigs made from marzipan is equally common.
Julbord Buustamons fjällgård. Foto: Kristoffer Björkman
Having Christmas Buffet with friends and relatives at Buustamons fjällgård in Åre. Foto: Kristoffer Björkman

The Christmas Buffet as a sign of good will

There are lots of restaurants in Sweden serving Christmas buffet from December 1st and up to Christmas Eve. Large companies often treat their employees or customers to Julbord as a sign of good will. It is also quite common to gather friends and family to go out and eat a proper Christmas buffet in a restaurant together even if you later are going to make your own buffet on Christmas Eve. So if you feel like trying the Swedish Julbord, but not cooking yourself, a good way to experience the flavours is to visit a Christmas market in Sweden followed by a Julbord!

One of the best Christmas fairs in Sweden is the one at the regional museum of Jämtland Härjedalen, Jamtli Julmarknad in Östersund. The Restaurant Hov within the museum grounds and market area serves a traditional Christmas Buffet from early December every year.

Hävvi i Glen - Elaine Asp
Elaine Asp at Häävi in Glen. Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson

Hävvi in Glen with a taste of Sapmi

Hävvi means “of course” in Sami and is the name of the restaurant in the Sami mountain village Glen south of Östersund. Their homemade Christmas buffet includes foods from the mountains and forests around Glen. The dishes are both Sami and traditional Swedish Christmas buffet dishes.

Elaine Asp has opened her new restaurant by her home in Lockåsböle in 2020, you will find the latest information on Restaurang Hävvi Elaine here.

Big River Camp julbord
Christmas buffet at Big River Camp in Storåbränna north of Östersund in Jämtland Härjedalen. Photo: BRC

Christmas Buffet with a focus on Wild Meats

Big River Camp is a comfortable hotel & Spa in Storåbränna, 1,5 hours north of Östersund city. It is a place to enjoy hunting and fishing as well as safaris by snow mobile or dog sled. In time for Christmas Big River Camp designs their Christmas Buffet in their own style with wild meats. They serve more than 70 different kinds of delicacies like moose mule, reindeer testicles, pickled moose vom, bear meat, moose meatballs and goodies from the Fågelberget charcuteries. For younger guests there is a surprise hidden under the Chrismas tree for all of those who have finished their buffet!

Julbord Buustamons fjällgård. Foto: Kristoffer Björkman
Christmas Buffet - Julbord - at Buustamons fjällgård. Photo: Kristoffer Björkman

Christmas Spirit in the Ski Resort Åre

The Ski Resort Åre 1,5 hours west of Östersund is all about the Christmas spirit all December. The village is being decorated with lights and there are lots of activities besides skiing to get you in the spirit. The classical day for the shops to show off their Christmas storefronts (julskyltning in swedish) is held at a certain sunday in Advent and shops stay open til late for all Christmas shoppers. Buustamon is a hillside hotel at 732 m. a. s. l. This means you start your Christmas adventure by being picked up in a snow cat to get you to the off road hotel. Buustamons fjällgård makes their own special made mulled Chrismas drink (glögg in Swedish) for guest to enjoy in the cellar distillery and then it is time to enjoy the buffet on the first floor in the restaurant. All the best delicacies from around is chosen including the Swedish favourites which are a must for a classic Christmas buffet.

Julbord Buustamons fjällgård. Foto: Kristoffer Björkman
Santa visits Buustamons fjällgård. Photo: Kristoffer Björkman

Christmas buffet Shieling style

At the center of the Christmas buffet table at Nysäterns fjällgård, a shieling* by the Sonfjället National Park, there is the bowl of “Gum”.  Gum is a product from the last morning of the summer herding period. Raw unseparated milk was cooked and made into rennet.  Then the compressed milk was brought from the shieling down to the original farm. The method was a sophisticated way of making use of every last drop of milk. The material was then used for making butter, cheese and whey butter in the same making. You could say it was like pieces of cheese in a sauce from butter and whey, like a caramel sauce. This mix was then eaten hot or cold with most all different kinds of dishes.

The rest of the summer produce was turned into butter, cheese and whey butter stored in cellars dug into the ground and lined with stones. At the end of the summer this produce was brought to the village by horses.

At Nysäterns Fjällgård everything is homemade or comes from the area around Mount Sonfjället. There is reindeer meat, berries, mushrooms and moose. The ham is from the farm pigs and chicken and lamb is also from own produce. All bread is from the farm bakery and all dairy products have been produced within the farm. Only a few ingredients on the Christmas buffet table are from nearby producers.

*Shieling – Summer farm

A shieling is a collection of cabins/cottages, located in or near the mountains, used primarily in summer for the grazing of livestock. The word Shieling is Gaelic.

Julbord Nysäterns fjällgård, Sonfjället. Foto: Sara Karlin
Christmas buffet at the Shieling Nysäterns fjällgård Sonfjället. Photo: Sara Karlin

On the menu at Nysäterns fjällgård


  • A tasty sandwich made from barley flour ground in the village mill. The spread is made from smoked moose meat from Mount Sonfjället.
  • Cured cheese on ginger bread

Cold & Warm dishes

  • Soft and hard thin flatbread from the farm bakery
  • Butter, whey butter and cheese from the farm
  • 3 kinds of salmon
  • 5 kinds of pickled herring with different spices
  • Eggs from the farm with creamy caviar
  • Pickled chanterelles
  • Jellied veal from moose calf meat and homemade beetrot salad
  • Cooked tongue of a moose in brine
  • Meatballs made from moose meat
  • Smoked moose meat and lambs heart
  • Reindeer and Moose sausage from nearby producers
  • Smoked shank of a lamb
  • Cooked pork sausage from the farm pig
  • Grilled pork ribs
  • Homemade Christmas ham


  • Rice pudding with berry sauce
  • Saffron mud cake with raspberry cream
  • Cloudberry marmalade, fudge and chocolates
  • Swedish cookies
  • Coffee/Tea
Arctura in Östersund serves Xmas buffet (and traditional dishes the rest of the year) with a view of Östersund.
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