Just what the world has been wishing for: Surströmming ice cream


Every culture has its strange food that is used to scare away the foreigners. In Sweden, it's surströmming. (Surströmming is even classified as hazardous material by some airlines.) And, you know, when you dig into your plate of surströmming, I bet the first thing that goes through your mind is, "Wow, this would go great with some ice cream."

Well, your wish has been answered. Surströmmingsglassen är här.

Surströmming ice cream is here

(Caption: Ice cream with Västerbotten cheese, cloudberry, and flatbread.)

Let's see. A carton of Rocky Road, a little Cookie Dough, a Stracciatella, and... mmm... surströmming. No really, soon you will find it in the frozen food aisle. Surströmming ice cream, brought to you by cook Peter Öhmann, is intended as a dessert plate served with deep-fried Västerbotten cheese, deep-fried parsley, warm cloudberries, and a stick of flatbread. It is expected to be available for purchase starting in December 2007, according to the Surströmming Society's chairman Ruben Madsen. He believes that the ice cream can beat out fish preserves. "Ice cream has no aroma, just taste."

But don't hold your breath; you won't be able to get it until December. On the other hand, given the strong aroma of surströmming, maybe you should hold your breath after all.

Comments (17)
  1. Miles Archer says:

    Wow. Sounds worse than Kimchee ice cream.

  2. Mike Dunn says:

    I loved this description on Wikipedia: "Because of the smell, the dish is often eaten outdoors."

  3. Paul Shore says:

    I have heard from friends in Sweden that some leases forbid surströmming on the premises.

  4. Ivan says:

    Ikea sells a milder version of this and it doesn’t taste that bad. A glass of vodka before and after helps, but if you’re the type that think oysters are gross then there is no hope.

  5. Herb says:

    Better still on Wikipedia – and this says it all, I think:

    "…several people have liked its taste on the first try [citation needed]."

    Good luck finding those people.

    Former boss of mine swore by the stuff –  fortunately I was never subjected to it.

  6. Bliiinky says:

    Does anyone happen to know of a place to get surströmming in the Seattle area?

  7. BOFH says:

    Just follow your nose.

  8. Brrr, shudder. Here I was expecting some more Win32 spelunking och now I’m remembering (as a young boy) my father and grandfather opening the swollen cans and my only thought was: "Get out of this apartment *now*".

    I live in Stockholm and down here surströmming is considered a bit exotic as human food goes. But it still has its own day in the Swedish calendar, look up August 16th this year and you’ll find it marked "Surströmmingspremiär". Something for you to translate, Raymond!

  9. Anthony Wieser says:

    Lutefisk scares me more Raymond.  

    I quite liked surströmming.

  10. According to Raymond’s opinion, every culture has its strange food that is used to scare away foreigners. He points out that in Sweden, it’s surströmming, where in Malaysia, it probably is Durian.

  11. Tom says:

    Right now, I’m listening to a Swedish rock band called Köttgrottorna. Which means "Meat caves" I guess.

    /Never tried Surströmming.

  12. I’ve tried surströmming twice and I’m not giving it a third try. I’ve also eaten durian twice and it’s nothing compared to surströmming. Eating durian is like eating mashed onions mixed with butter, eating surströmming is more like eating something that has passed through a dog.

  13. Erling Paulsen says:

    In the Seattle area there are two places that I know of that can provide this:

    *Ikea

    *Olsens Scandinavian foods in Ballard

    Speaking of Lutefisk; In Poulsbo I saw a sign that advertised for "World famous Lutefisk TV-dinner"

    Brr…. *shudders*

  14. Swedish reader says:

    My mother is from the northen part of Sweden where surströmming is considered "mandatory" food. I have some terrible childhood memories when my mother and her relatives would set up tables outside and feast on this horrible dish. I could never get close enough to try it myself because of the smell…

    To think of this combined with ice cream gives me the creeps.

    That said, some of Sweden’s most famous chefs designates surströmming as a true delicacy. They claim that the smell disappears if you air the surströmming once you have opened the can. It is typically served on cripsbread with onion and boiled potatoes.

  15. Ser J says:

    There’s a story on German Wikipedia. The court decision is referred, which is also quoted on other places, like here (a pdf document on German http://www.mietgerichtstag.de/downloads/pfeifer.pdf) so it is authentic:

    More than 20 years ago, one woman who rented an apartment in Cologne (Germany) shared the Surströmming sauce on the staircase for Christmas. The landlords terminated the lease immediately. She sued them for the termination without notice and lost. The court decision stated: "We are convinced that the offensive odor is beyond the acceptable limits of the cohabitants since the defendants opened one can in the court".

    The story reminded me to the Chapter IV of the 1889 Jerome K. Jerome’s classic "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)". Free e-text available via Project Gutenberg.

  16. not food says:

    Surströmming = rotten fish.

  17. r3m0t says:

    From what everybody else is saying, I think I’de prefer to hold my breath until December instead of eating the stuff.

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