Autumn foods around the world
6th September 2016
As autumn is beginning to set in, we’re exploring the best autumnal foods and dishes around the world.
1. Crayfish in Sweden
To celebrate the end of summer and beginning of autumn every year, most Swedish cities hold crayfish parties called kräftskiva. At the kräftskiva, friends and family gather and sit round a long table to tuck in to fresh, delicious crayfish.
The tradition started because of the strict laws in place prohibiting crayfishing after summer in Sweden due to a shortage. The law has since been relaxed but the autumn crayfish parties are still going strong.
2. Kabocha in Japan
Kabocha is a winter squash also known as a Japanese pumpkin. It’s much like the pumpkins in the UK with a soft, fleshy, orange centre filled with seeds but has a green hard skin rather than an orange one.
It can be used in stews, soups and curries to bulk them out or as a meat substitute and is extremely tasty when made into kabocha tempura (Japanese pumpkin coated in a light batter and deep fried).
3. Mooncake in China
Mooncake is a traditional Cantonese pastry eaten mainly in southern China to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival. The pastries are filled with a red bean paste and are usually cut into quarters and served to the whole family with Chinese tea.
Traditionally at the Mid-Autumn festival, families gather together surrounded by lanterns to celebrate the full moon with lots of mooncake and dancing.
4. Octopus in Spain
Although Octopus can be found on nearly every tapas menu across Spain, it’s at its best in autumn. Galicians are particulary fond of octopus dishes and are recognised for their renowned Pulpo a la Gallega (Polbo á feira in Galician).
Every autumn, the village of O Carballiño in Galicia holds its famous Fiesta del Pulpo (Octopus festival). During the festival between 25,000 and 30,000 kilos of octopus are prepared and visitors can also try out some traditional dancing accompanied by the sound of bagpipes.
5. Baltic herring in Sweden and Finland
Baltic herring is one of Sweden and Finland’s most popular food sources as it can be found in abundance in the Baltic Sea. North Sweden is a large producer of surströmming, which is fermented Baltic herring packed into tins. It has a very acquired taste when it’s prepared, so you’ll either love it or hate it!
Each year in early October, Helsinki hosts a week-long Baltic Herring Festival to celebrate the beginning of autumn and therefore the Baltic herring season. The festival began in 1743 and has a large fish market, cooking demonstrations, music performances and lots more for the whole family.
6. Solyanka in Russia
Solyanka is a thick and hearty stew that’s perfect for an autumnal evening. It’s traditionally made with beef, ham and pork sausages mixed with onions, tomatoes and lots of herbs and spices to give it a sweet and sour taste.
As an alternative to meat, some Solyanka dishes are made with fish and seafood such as salmon and crayfish and vegetarian versions usually contain mushrooms.
7. Schnupfnudeln in Germany
Schnupfnudeln are thick noodles quite similar in texture to Italian gnocchi. They originate from Baden and Swabia and used to be made like pasta with rye, flour and egg. Today, however, it’s much more common to make Schnupfnudeln with boiled or steamed potatoes that are rolled into a thick noodle shape.
These noodles are great in autumnal dishes such as stews and soups or they can accompany roast beef or pork. If you’re heading to Oktoberfest this year they’ll definitely be on the menu as a snack to accompany your beer.
8. Apple trifle from Denmark
And now for dessert… Danish apple trifle.
Apples are very popular and in abundance in Denmark at this time of year and to celebrate their 300 varieties of apple, the town of Ebeltoft holds Ebel Festival every October. At the festival you’ll find every possible food and drink item you can make with apples, including cider, apples schapps, and lots of cakes and desserts.
A Danish apple trifle is a light dessert made up of layers of some of Denmark’s finest stewed apples, hazelnuts and whipped cream.