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IKEA's Swedish Christmas Julbord -- any good?

b
Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 10, 2010 12:21 PM

IKEA is advertising a Swedish Christmas Julbord on December 10th, 2010, which looks like an interesting all-you-can-eat smorgasbord for $9.99. I like a lot of these foods and I'm curious about several of the others.

"Assorted Herring, Gravad Lax with Mustard Sauce, Smoked Salmon w/Horseradish Sauce, Whole Poached Salmon, Hard boiled Eggs with Shrimp, Swedish Cucumber Salad, Red Beet Salad, Swedish Potato Salad, Christmas Ham, Liverwurst Pate, Assorted Cheeses, Meatballs and Lingonberries, Prinskorv Sausage, Red Cabbage, Boiled Potatoes with Dill, Jansson’s Temptation, Lussekatter, Crispbread, Thin bread, Dinner rolls, Swedish Rice Pudding with Almonds, Assorted Desserts, Glogg, Coffee, Tea & Fountain Beverage"

Have they done this in years past, and has anyone gone? My wife doesn't share my enthusiasm for the IKEA restaurant (I love the meatballs!) or smoked and pickled fish and sausages in general, so I may have to go it alone.

  1. b
    brucesw Dec 26, 2013 12:25 AM

    I went this year for the second time after skipping the last two years. In the meantime I’ve learned a lot more about Swedish cuisine (I’m 1/4 Swedish but have never been exposed to the cuisine). I think the food had gone downhill since my first time. I suspect IKEA got slammed by the AYCE thing and had to cut corners; their special events like this have become enormously popular here. They had two serving times this year. I chose the earlier one, thinking to avoid a big crowd like last time when it would have been impossible to go through the line twice because there was still a long line of people who hadn’t gotten through once. There were apparently only about 40 people signed up for the early seating so they started letting in walk-ups and they let in too many and ran out of some items very early and apparently had no intention of replacing them. The ‘hot mulled wine’ (Alkoholfri) was gone in about 10 minutes. Ditto some of the desserts. On the positive side I I really appreciated the Julskinka, the Swedish style ham, a lot more this time. I think the kitchen did a pretty good job with that. This time we got the prinskorv - Prince’s sausage - which was on the menu a couple of years ago but wasn’t available. These are diminutive wieners, called Sweden’s version of a Vienna sausage but nothing like the canned product we’re familiar with in the US. They were really quite good (and authentically fried in butter I think; how awful is that?). I’ve placed a mail order for some since our local IKEA never stocks them. Also we got the kallrokt this time in addition to the Gravlax and the poached, whole salmon with mustard sauce. It’s hot smoked salmon, served cold and I had never tried it before (it’s in the freezer section of the IKEA food store). There was a potato salad that wasn’t anything very special; ditto an apple salad. There were no boiled potatoes which I think are supposed to a de riguer accompaniment to herring and the Jansson’s Temptation was awful. At least that’s what I guess it was supposed to be. Either somebody tripped when they were adding the ansjovis or they totally forgot the cream/sour cream.

    The only dessert I managed to get a sample of was the rice pudding and it wasn’t very impressive. I’ve had much better rice puddings in other cuisines, notably Turkish. One of the desserts I had seen before in the freezers was the Bakelse Prinsess which is IKEA’s cupcake sized version of the Prinsesstarta or Princess cake, I guess, a famous marzipan and whipped cream cake. I haven’t been impressed with the other frozen desserts I’d tried so had ignored it. But knowing what it’s supposed to be I picked a package up on the way out of the store and damn, it’s pretty good. With a layer of raspberry between the sponge cake and the cream it technically is a an Opera cake I understand but what’s in a name? Also now I understand that the Tarta Mandel is apparently Ikea’s version of the Oscarstarta or King Oscar’s cake, another famous Swedish cake. I had tried this before but it didn’t impress me; but since this was the favorite cake of King Oscar II no less, I feel that I owe it to my ancestors to give it another try and will do so.

    I’m a food nerd as much as a foodie and I’m enjoying learning about the foods my ancestors (and living cousins) eat so the Julbord was worth while for me despite the shortcomings and whaddaya expect for $12.99 at a furniture store, anyway? Next year I plan to be in Sweden and hit up some of the public Julbords offered all through December. After that, you may not be able to drag me to an IKEA event with a team of wild horses.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brucesw
      b
      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Dec 26, 2013 10:17 AM

      That was a great review! I almost felt like I was there, even though I'll probably never make it.

    2. Boston_Otter Dec 22, 2013 02:12 PM

      I went a few years ago, and again the next, and it was a combination of awesome and awful.

      The awesome: the food, while it lasted. Gravlax, smoked salmon, eggs, salads, herring and oh, the deserts -- really tasty. Absolutely worth the price.

      The awful: the crowd. They told us we had to buy tickets well in advance because they had only limited numbers, so we did -- but then found they were selling apparently unlimited numbers of tickets at the door when we got there. So it was mobbed, and after one trip through the extremely long line, all of the food was gone. I'd planned on going up for more, but the kitchen was just putting out big bowls of their meatballs, because everything else was out, and we'd only been there for about an hour. I didn't go back this year so I don't know if they fixed the issue.

      1. e
        Eat.Choui Dec 4, 2010 08:57 AM

        I enjoyed the Julbord last year!

        I went to IKEA last week and saw gingerbread cookie dough. I have never notice it before. Has anyone tried it? Is it good?

        9 Replies
        1. re: Eat.Choui
          HillJ Dec 4, 2010 08:58 AM

          I've only seen the gingerbread toffee and it was excellent.

          1. re: HillJ
            r
            rstuart Dec 22, 2013 08:52 AM

            gingerbread toffee! I haven't been to IKEA for a while.. wish I had been. I like their chocolate, actually (as well as their cinnamon buns and frozen yogourt, at least here in TO)..

            1. re: rstuart
              HillJ Dec 22, 2013 08:55 AM

              I've made my own version of gingerbread toffee because the IKEA product never came across my sights again (and since 2010 I've been to the store probably four times, twice around the holiday).

              1. re: HillJ
                r
                rstuart Dec 22, 2013 08:58 AM

                Care to post the recipe HillJ ;) ? I love ginger.. and the thought of gingerbread toffee made me sit up straight on my chair in excitement!

                1. re: rstuart
                  HillJ Dec 22, 2013 09:01 AM

                  http://annesfood.blogspot.com/2011/12...

                  this blogger is saving me some typing so you'll have the recipe fast. I add a tsp of dark rum at the end to the heated mixture. You can adjust the ginger by adjusting your spice blend. I tend to use more of the dried ginger and less cardamom in this recipe.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    r
                    rstuart Dec 22, 2013 09:26 AM

                    Yum! I have checked this blog out in the past.. but somehow missed this recipe. Thanks HillJ!

                    1. re: rstuart
                      HillJ Dec 22, 2013 09:50 AM

                      My pleasure, rst. Happy Holidays!

                      1. re: HillJ
                        r
                        rstuart Dec 24, 2013 08:06 AM

                        You too!

          2. re: Eat.Choui
            z
            Zhenzhu Dec 21, 2013 11:51 AM

            IKEA frozen gingerbread dough was very disappointing ... Tasted like sugar+palm oil cookies (yuck) and didn't have any ginger taste I could discern.

          3. HillJ Dec 4, 2010 08:51 AM

            I love the IKEA food markets! The offerings varying alot store by store but the prices are unheard/low and the quality is surprisingly good. I only learned about the food court & market when a friend took me there to look at their fabrics. I left with a few dozen jars of fruit spread and became a regular visitor after that. http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_CA/IKEA_Foo...

            1. mucho gordo Nov 17, 2010 01:50 PM

              Who eats at a furniture store???

              6 Replies
              1. re: mucho gordo
                c
                Cathy Nov 17, 2010 02:08 PM

                Me. As well as most others replying to the original post.

                Other stores which have good restaurants: Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Bass Pro Shops.

                It's akin to the 1950's, when stores wanted you to stay inside, eat and continue shopping.

                1. re: Cathy
                  r
                  roro1831 Nov 17, 2010 02:55 PM

                  I've been know just to go there to eat if in the neighborhood

                  1. re: Cathy
                    mucho gordo Nov 18, 2010 08:49 AM

                    Thanks, Cathy. I was aware of the other stores you mentioned (and a couple you didn't) but, I honestly had no idea that Ikea was in that category.

                    1. re: mucho gordo
                      buttertart Nov 26, 2010 08:03 AM

                      A very discriminating Swedish friend eats there every chance he gets.

                    2. re: Cathy
                      khh1138 Dec 22, 2013 12:04 AM

                      Or a lot of department stores/ electronics stores in Tokyo still to this day...so nice.

                    3. re: mucho gordo
                      y
                      yfunk3 Nov 17, 2010 06:29 PM

                      Ah, is this a rhetorical question? Similar to "Who goes into a thread about IKEA food just to badmouth IKEA food?" :o)

                    4. l
                      L987 Nov 16, 2010 06:28 AM

                      try to find someone els to go with, because the whole thing with julbord is that you sit down with friends and family and eat and have a good time. If the food is prepared right and seasoned well its probably gonna be great, most food is probably their own ready made products like the meatballs, the herrings and the smoked and gravad salmons. And the mulled wine (glögg) is probably the kidsverson made of blackcurrant juice insted of real wine..

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: L987
                        b
                        Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 16, 2010 06:44 AM

                        Heh, I know that if I'm able to go at all, it will have to be a solo mission. All of my friends either keep kosher or think most of that food would be gross (or both).

                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                          c
                          Cathy Nov 16, 2010 07:06 AM

                          Never have I had gross or bad or old or tasteless food at Ikea. We have been going for lunches, dinners and coffee/snacks since the first store showed up in the US (1993-ish).

                          Plus, I don't think they have a fryer. It's kind of healthy.

                          Yes, they serve those bitty shrimp for sandwiches and have bacon for breakfast. So the kitchen is not kept Kosher. But that practice limits a lot of restaurants.

                          Given the choice, I'd go to Ikea over almost any chain.

                        2. re: L987
                          monpetitescargot Nov 17, 2010 01:07 PM

                          it could be real wine. i know the ikeas in europe serve wine.... so, maybe.

                          ikea really does have pretty good food. the premade herring products can sometimes tend towards saltiness (but it is a preserved fish product, so...) and their gravad lax tends to be more fishy than i like (but you cannot beat the amount for the price) but oh man... their preserves/jams are awesome... the gooseberry... cloudberry, etc. i also enjoy their turnbrod and halakaka breads. pretty yummy! at times, you can find some interesting cheeses, also.

                        3. GraceW Nov 12, 2010 08:14 PM

                          I believe--although this is a mere inference--that they have not done this in the past. I am actually considering going just for the experience of it. It isn't often that you get to try all of those different dishes for $10.

                          I am sorry that last post was somewhat less than productive for you. Recently I shopped at IKEA and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the lox plate. Also, I bake from scratch often.. so I couldn't help but also order the Chocolate Overload cake. Seriously it was better than some of the cakes I have made from scratch or ordered from upscale North Shore bakeries.

                          I'd say go for it; it's bound to be an experience, regardless.

                          1. c
                            Cathy Nov 12, 2010 07:58 PM

                            We have done the Christmas breakfasts which had a smaller Julbord and did a full Julbord at the Ikea in Burbank. But that was years ago. Now there is an Ikea closer, in San Diego, but they have not done a Julbord that I know of.

                            The food in the restaurant has always been good; I have tried everything and all the items you listed for the Julbord sound delicious and I really don't see a way they could be messed up. It sounds like a menu we have had at our home.

                            I'd go to it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Cathy
                              m
                              mannycoon Nov 24, 2010 08:51 AM

                              IKEA San Diego had a Julbord last year. It was good.

                            2. CharlieKilo Nov 12, 2010 06:41 PM

                              IKEA.

                              IKEA?

                              Is this a real question?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: CharlieKilo
                                b
                                Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 12, 2010 07:42 PM

                                Yes. Have anything useful to contribute?

                                1. re: CharlieKilo
                                  r
                                  roro1831 Nov 13, 2010 06:38 AM

                                  Yep, try the food there sometime, it's surprisingly better than food at most food chains. The Swedich meatballs are great.

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