August is finally here and that can only mean one thing – it’s Crayfish Party season! If you’re wondering what the heck I’m babbling on about, allow me to introduce you to this wonderful Nordic tradition, natively known as Kräftskiva. I popped my Crayfish Party cherry last summer when my Swedish flatmate threw one in our house and have never looked back.
To preserve their beloved crustacean, traditionally Swedes were only supposed to fish for crayfish in August (although they can now be caught sustainably throughout the year) and so they celebrate these tasty freshwater beauties each summer by throwing a big old bash with silly hats, bibs, aquavit (a Scandinavian spirit), singing and plenty of delicious crayfish.
Thinking of throwing a Crayfish Party? Here are five top tips from my resident Swede:
1. Get lots of cold crayfish cooked the Swedish way (no Louisiana crawfish boils here!), enough aquavit to get you and your friends nice and squiffy and make a Västerbotten cheese quiche to add a bit of sophistication to the whole thing. Bread and cheese on the side is also recommended to help soak up the large quantities of aquavit.
2. Hang up traditional August moon lanterns and kit your friends out in fancy crayfish hats and bibs (it gets messy!). Also provide napkins. Lots of napkins.
3. Got everything? Now the party is ready to start. Grab a crayfish, suck the juices out of its belly and pick out the meat from its claws (use your teeth to break them you wimp!). Break off the tail and feast on the best bit. And for the brave amongst you, open its back and suck on the rest.
4. Time for snaps! Fill your shot glasses to the rim, sing a traditional snaps song together, and then down it in one. No aquavit must be drunk without first singing about its delightfulness! (Check out these examples in English from the Swedish spirit museum).
5. Repeat this process until it’s all gone, then find a suitable body of water to go skinny dipping in without drowning yourself. Wake up the next day feeling sick as a dog blaming it all on a bad crayfish, not the 25 shots of aquavit.
Need to get kitted out? Head to scandikitchen.co.uk.