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Christmas in Sweden: The 10 best julbord in the Malmö area

No matter if you're a meat-eater, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan, there's a traditional Swedish Christmas meal either in or near Malmö just for you. Here are The Local's suggestions for 2021's best julbord.

a julbord christmas buffet featuring herring, christmas ham, bread and cheese
Wondering where you should book your julbord in Malmö? Read on for our tips. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The Swedish julbord is an extensive spread that has evolved from a variety of traditions and today consists of an elaborate buffet of typical Christmas food. It is popular not only to sit down for a julbord on Christmas Eve with family, but also to go out for a special julbord meal at a restaurant in the run-up to Christmas – with family, friends or colleagues. See here for the low-down on the Swedish julbord.

All prices listed are per person, unless otherwise stated.

Traditional julbord:

These julbord are some of the most traditional you can get. With a focus on good quality meat and fish, they cater to those with no special requirements – although they may be able to accommodate special diets with advance notice.

1. Staffanstorps Gästis

Staffantorps Gästis has an impressive selection of herring – with a herring buffet based on the Scanian Herring Academy’s original recipes. Visitors to this julbord can also enjoy game, hams, cheese and salmon, alongside julbord classics like meatballs and prinskorv sausages.

When: Available between November 19th and December 24th.

Price: 450 kronor for lunch on weekdays. 565 kronor for Thursday nights and 650 kronor on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Kids under 13 pay 25 kronor per year of age.

2. Årstiderna i Kockska Huset

Årstiderna’s traditional julbord is served by candlelight in their 500-year-old building in the centre of Malmö. This year, their julbord is mostly table-service, with the exception being the herring course – served as a traditional buffet.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can upgrade to their lyxjul (“luxury Christmas”) julbord featuring lobster and champagne.

When: Available from December 3rd.

Price: Eat-in: 625 kronor. Take-away: 525 kronor. Lyxjul with lobster and champagne: 995 kronor.

No julbord is complete without the traditional Christmas ham. Photo: Helena Wahlman/

3. Gourmetgården Katrinetorp

Katrinetorps Landeri in Svågertorp is home to foodie-favourite restaurant Gourmetgården. Gourmetgården’s julbord is another traditional offering, with a focus on locally-sourced food, much of which comes from their own kitchen garden, open to the public.

Their julbord features classics such as gravad lax and ham, and is served in their 19th-century restaurant, which will be suitably decorated for the Christmas season.

When: December 11-12th and 18th-19th.

Price: 550 kronor for adults, 295 kronor for children under 12.

4. Grand Deli in Lund

Grand Deli in Lund offers a takeaway julbord for those who want to enjoy the hotel’s julbord in the comfort of their own home. Food is provided in disposable packaging, ready to warm up in your oven or microwave, so perfect if you are hosting guests and don’t feel like cooking.

Grand’s julbord features a number of dishes from Scanian producers, such as Grand’s own meatballs and mustard herring, gravad lax and hot smoked salmon from Vallåkra smokery, south of Helsingborg, prinskorv sausages from Hässleholm in northern Skåne, and smoked onion sausage from Tollarp in northeast Skåne.

If a julbord is too much food for you, you can book Grand’s two- or three-course Christmas menu instead, featuring halibut and Scanian venison.

When: Available from December 1st-23rd.

Price: Takeaway julbord: 445 kronor. Three-course Christmas menu: 790 kronor for two people. Two-course Christmas menu: 650 kronor for two people.

Swedish christmas herring
Many of the places on this list make their own pickled herring. Photo: OTW/

5. Sankt Gertrud

Sankt Gertrud, situated in a cobbled square in Malmö’s Caroli district, is offering a “jul-sharing” this year, meaning that its julbord will be served at-table rather than in the traditional buffet format.

A popular choice for company julbord bookings, Sankt Gertrud’s julbord offers Christmas-themed small plates, followed by two warm dishes, finishing with a saffron and lingonberry pannacotta.

Those looking for a more luxurious julbord can order extra sparkling wine or apple-based glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and canapés, a cheese plate or homemade sweets.

In previous years, Sankt Gertrud has offered good vegetarian subsitutes when ordered in advance, so this may be a good option for non-meat eaters.

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays from November 24th to December 18th.

Price: 555 kronor including tax, 495 kronor without tax (e.g. for companies ordering a julbord). Add-ons cost between 65-195 kronor without tax.

Vegetarian and vegan-friendly:

The above restaurants may offer vegetarian options if you ask, but we know that the ones below offer great vegetarian and vegan options, alongside the more traditional meat and fish dishes. Good choices if not everyone in your party eats meat.

janssons temptation
Jansson’s temptation, a dish made using cream and sprats, is usually off-limits for vegetarians and vegans – but there are some places where they can enjoy this Christmas treat. Photo: OTW/

6. Anita’s på Börringekloster

Anita’s på Börringekloster is known for its buffets, and its julbord is no exception. It offers everything you could want, including meatballs, Jansson’s temptation, herring, cheese and Christmas ham, alongside a number of vegetarian dishes.

If you’d like a completely vegan option, Anita’s also offers a vegan julbord for two days only, with vegan versions of traditional herring and meat dishes.

When and price:

Julbord brunch: November 28th, December 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th. 375 kronor.

Vegan julbord: December 3rd 6-9pm – 475 kronor. December 4th 12-3pm – 375 kronor.

Traditional julbord: Booking only – contact restaurant for details. 475 kronor.

Christmas dinner: Four course julbord menu – booking only. 495 kronor.

7. Adventkyrkan

Seventh-day Adventist church Adventkyrkan on Östra Rönneholmsvägen in Malmö offers the only entirely vegetarian julbord on this list.

Their julbord features gravad lax based on carrots, herring made from aubergine, as well as vegan and vegetarian versions of popular dishes such as Västerbotten cheese pie and Jansson’s temptation.

When: November 28th.

Price: 300 kronor for adults, 100 kronor for children over 6.

ängavallen vegetable farm

Ängavallen organic farm in Vellinge has a julbord featuring the best of their produce – both meat and vegetables. Photo: Conny Fridh/

8. Ängavallen, Vellinge

Organic farm Ängavallen in Vellinge, south of Malmö, may be known for their meat, but their julbord also has some vegetarian offerings. Most of the ingredients for their julbord are sourced from their own farm, with a focus on animal health and welfare, stress-free slaughter and meat without antibiotics.

Their julbord is, unsurprisingly, very meaty, with patés, hams, terrines and ribs served alongside organic pickled herring, smoked, salted and cured salmon. Vegetarian dishes will also be served – contact the restaurant directly if you would like more details. Organic glögg (Swedish mulled wine), coffee and an appetiser upon arrival are included in the price.

When: December 3rd-5th and 9th-12th

Price: 765 kronor for adults. Half price for children aged 4-12, children under 4 only pay for drinks. All children will receive a goodie-bag of sweets.

9. Rådhuskällaren

Rådhuskällaren is another restaurant known for its meaty dishes – with Swedish classics like wallenbergare (breadcrumbed calf patties served with butter) often featuring on their menus.

Their traditional julbord is no different – all the classic warm and cold dishes you would expect, as well as a dessert buffet, served in their restaurant situated in the cellar of Malmö’s town hall.

Somewhat unexpectedly, they also offer a vegan julbord, served at-table instead of buffet-style, available via prebooking. This features pickled herring alternatives made from mushrooms, vegetarian meatballs made from chickpeas alongside vegan dessert options.

When: November 25th-December 22nd. Also served at lunchtime from December 6th.

Price: Tuesday-Sunday evenings, 550 kronor. All other evenings as well as lunches, 475 kronor. Children up to 12 years: 175 kronor.

Enjoy a warm glass of glögg before your meal at Bosjökloster in Höör. Photo: Helena Wahlman/

10. Bosjökloster, Höör

Monastery Bosjökloster in Höör is, admittedly, not particularly close to Malmö. It takes around 40 minutes to drive there from Malmö, or just over an hour via public transport – so this is definitely more of a day-trip option.

This julbord, described as a julbordsupplevelse or “julbord experience”, offers visitors the chance to start their evening with a glögg by the fire in the castle, while listening to stories (in Swedish) from Bosjökloster’s history. Attendees will then walk through candlelit hallways through to a seasonally-decorated hall, where a julbord based on home-made dishes as well as products from local producers will be served.

Vegans, vegetarians and pescetarians can also enjoy this julbord – just remember to include this information in your booking.

When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from December 3rd-19th

Price: 545 kronor for adults (with glögg and stories by the fire: 575 kronor). Children aged 12-14, 325 kronor. Children aged 6-11, 225 kronor. Children aged 1-6, 95 kronor.

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Swedish foodie secrets: How to find Sweden’s best semla

Semlor are traditional Swedish cardamom buns filled with whipped cream and almond paste. But what should you look for in a good semla, and what should you avoid?

Swedish foodie secrets: How to find Sweden's best semla

Semlor are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday or Fettisdagen, as the last festive food before Lent, a traditional fasting period leading up to Easter. Fettisdagen falls on March 1st this year, so you still have a week or so left to find your favourite semla before the big day.

They are known as fastlagsbullar in southern Sweden, and – despite their origins – are now commonly available in bakeries from the end of the Christmas season to the start of Easter, rather than just on Shrove Tuesday.

A good semla is no more than the sum of its parts – the holy trinity of cardamom bun, whipped cream and almond paste. The ideal semla will take all of these individual parts into account, with each bite a perfect mix of cream, bun, and almond.

We asked semla-lovers on Twitter and in Malmö foodie group Malmöfoodisar on Facebook to tell us what you should look for in the ideal semla – here’s what they said.

A semla cross-section. There’s a layer of almond paste hiding somewhere under all that cream. Photo: Becky Waterton/The Local

The bun: ‘Absolutely not too dry’

Most of the people who got in touch were in agreement – a semla bun needs to have a noticeable cardamom flavour, without taking over. Rhiannon on Twitter said that “roughly ground cardamom in the bread” was important, with “a nice dusting of icing sugar on top of the bun”.

Joakim on Facebook said that, in his opinion the bun should be a “rather soft wheat bun with a light cardamom touch (the cardamom shouldn’t take over)”.

Charlotta, from the same Facebook group, said that the bun should be “fluffy with a noticeable cardamom flavour”, stating that she also enjoys “more historical semlor you can find further north where the inside of the bun is partly removed and mixed with the almond paste”.

Linnéa said on Facebook that the bun should be “soft and smooth, and absolutely not too dry”.

A semla from St. Jakobs bakery in Malmö. Nice crunchy almond paste and a good sized lid. Too much cream for me so my husband got the other half. Photo: Becky Waterton/The Local

The cream: ‘High quality’

Semla cream should be “high quality whipped cream”, Rhiannon told us on Twitter, although on Facebook, people were split as to whether cream should include vanilla or not. My prefers her semlor to have “whipped cream with a bit of vanilla”, whereas Maria said that there should be “no jävla vanilla!” using a Swedish expletive that can be best translated into English as “bloody” or “damn”.

Cecilia said that there should be “enough fluffy cream so there’s a bit in every bite”, and Charlotta told us that the cream should be “quite lightly whipped (hand-whipped, if possible), absolutely not sweetened”.

Joakim likes the cream in his semla to be “lightly whipped with nothing extra added, so the better the cream the better the flavour”.

Linnéa told us that her ideal semla had “lots of cream (vegan if possible)” – although semlor can be heavy on the dairy, vegans can also enjoy the Lenten treat if the cream is oat- or soya-based.

Some vegan semlor can be as good as – or even better than – normal cream-based semlor, which dairy company Arla awkwardly found out when a vegan semla was voted into first place in their semla competition last year. Unfortunately for the bakery in question, Arla ended up cancelling the competition, which the company’s press officer told newspaper Dagens Nyheter was due to a “lack of engagement from bakers around the country”.

The company told the newspaper that, instead of handing out a prize, they would “buy one hundred semla from each of the top one hundred entries” and donate them to care homes – with one caveat: “we’re only going to buy semlor made with cream and butter”.

Definitely a semla for cream lovers! From Hedh Escalante in Malmö. This one was bought reduced at the end of the day but was still delicious. Photo: Becky Waterton/The Local

The almond paste: ‘Chunky in texture’

The third component of a semla, the almond paste or mandelmassa can fall into two categories: smooth or chunky with pieces of almond. Rhiannon and Sebastian on Twitter both said that they preferred their almond paste “chunky”, with Sebastian saying that mandelmassa that is too smooth is a no-go, as “you’ll just be reminded of cheap peanut butter”.

Cecilia prefers a semla with “a generous amount of almond paste made from well-roasted almonds so that the paste is dark brown, with bits of almond in”.

Joakim likes a “nice soft almond paste” in his semla, saying that “it shouldn’t be a hard lump”, whereas Maria prefers “soft and chewy” almond paste in hers.

Renee said that a semla offering “something other than mandelmassa” is appreciated by those with a nut allergy, adding that her partner “insists on putting in Calvados for the mandelmassa eaters” which, although not traditional is “the real trick”.

From top left: a choux semla, traditional semla and chocolate semla. All from Mat- och Chokladstudion, Malmö. Photo from 2021. Photo: Becky Waterton/The Local

The top: ‘Wimpy little triangular lids’

Mikael prefers a lid he can use as a spoon to “scoop up the cream”, which he says rules out the “wimpy little triangular lids” many bakers go for. He also said that a small triangular lid can give a semla the “wrong balance”, leaving it “with too much bun on the bottom”.

Maria said that “it’s not necessary to cut the lid into a triangle”, and that there should be “lagom icing sugar on top”. Lagom, in case you didn’t know, is the Swedish term for “just enough”.

Cecilia likes the lid of her semla to be well dusted with icing sugar, saying that is should be “really sweet”.

Milk or no milk?

Some old-school semla eaters may be intrigued by the concept of hetvägg – a semla served in a bowl of warm milk. Thomas told us that he prefers his semla to have a “high mandelmassa to cream ratio”, served “with warm milk”.

Sebastian, on the other hand, was not a fan, telling us “for God’s sake, skip the milk thing. It’s vile”.

Charlotte said that hetvägg is good if you have “a dry semla or haven’t managed to eat it in time”, describing it as “like a bread and butter pudding using up something which has gone stale”.

No semlor were harmed in the making of this article. Except this one from Gateau, which I accidentally dropped. Photo: Becky Waterton/The Local

‘Try to eat as many as you can’

Sofi on Twitter’s best semla tip was “if it’s your first ever semla, have a home-baked one or one you get from a really good bakery. The ones you get from a supermarket may remind you of the good stuff, but if this is where you start, you’ll never learn to enjoy it”.

John on Facebook had extremely good advice: he said that you should “try to eat as many as you can. Then eventually you’ll find the one you like the best.” 

Joakim said that “most important of all is that the semla is eaten very shortly after it is made”, stating that “a semla which has been stored in a fridge has already suffered the biggest sin, with the question of whether it can even be called a semla any more”.

Semla influencers

If this article hasn’t given you enough semla tips for this semla season, our commenters also gave us their tips for the best semla influencers who have taken upon themselves the noble task of testing semlor so you don’t have to.

These semla influencers include two Instagram accounts: @gemigsemla (Give me semla), who has previously reviewed Gothenburg’s semlor in 2020 and Malmö’s semlor in 2021. The second semla influencer we were recommended was, who reviews all sorts of food in Malmö, but reviewed the city’s traditional semlor in 2020, and non-traditional or “dumsemlor” in 2021

Unfortunately, we did not get any tips for semla influencers in Stockholm – let us know if you know of someone we’ve missed!

Finally, Malmö foodie group Malmöfoodisar gave us their semla tips for this article – have a look at their sister groups for Stockholm and Gothenburg if you’re looking for the best Swedish foodie tips in other cities!