Sweden divided by herring at Midsummer – Herring in mustard-cream sauce most popular in the north and onion-pickled herring favoured in the south

Midsummer is a Swedish tradition that Swedes stick closely to. Especially when it comes to traditional Midsummer food, which starts with myriad variants of pickled herring, sour cream, roe, crispbread and cheese. Sales statistics compiled by Hemköp from Midsummer 2005 show that people from the Norrland province stick most closely to their traditional Midsummer dishes, while sales of pickled herring are greatest in south-eastern Sweden. Breaking down the country into pickled herring variants, it is apparent that herring in mustard-cream sauce is the most popular in northern, central and eastern Sweden, while people in southern Sweden buy the most pickled herring in onion brine.

Hemköp's statistics are based on a selection of Swedish Midsummer products from grocery stores across the country during the Midsummer period in 2005. The sales figures have been adjusted for the populations of the respective regions. "As previously, it is primarily people from Norrland, central Sweden and Stockholm who hold fast to their Midsummer traditions," says Fredrik Jakobsson, Marketing Director at Hemköp. "The traditions are the least rigid in the Skåne province. Judging by the numbers, we can see that cakes and pastries are becoming more and more popular in Norrland, and that people in Stockholm have grown more health-conscious since a year earlier. Otherwise, consumption has been constant of Baltic herring and crispbread in the north, pickled herring in Stockholm and sour cream in south-eastern Sweden." People in the north eat the most herring in mustard-cream sauce, crispbread, marinated meats, eggs, beer and cakes, while they are not so fond of sour cream. People in central Sweden like shrimp, crayfish and soft drinks. Sweet-pickled herring and aged cheese are most popular in the Stockholm area and Visby, while onion-pickled herring and cream are less popular. People in Gothenburg celebrate Midsummer with herring, while Baltic herring is rarity. People in Småland and Östergötland continue to favour sour cream with their onion-pickled herring, while the Midsummer favourite of people in Skåne is still "prinskorv" – small fried sausages. Herring in mustard-cream sauce is not high on their list, however.

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