Swedish Food to Go

Posted 12/3/06
by Jane Kashlak

Cape May, NJ - Wildwood NJ in December is perhaps the quietest place on earth. Drive down the street and count the people you see on both hands. You'll have fingers left over.

But when we push in the door of the church hall at Poplar St. and Atlantic Aves., it's like another world.

So this is where all the people are.

And not just any people. This world is populated by ladies dressed in traditional Swedish garb, selling traditional Swedish handcrafts and - the best part - traditional Swedish food.

It's the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity's annual St. Lucia Festival.

My husband and I split up to work the room. We are hunter/gatherers par excellence when it comes to good food.

I head right for the table with the jars of juicy red lingonberries. I ask the nice Swedish lady behind the table what you do with lingonberries. It was like throwing her a softball.

Swedish meatballs, she says with a sweet smile. Do they have some? But of course. I pick up a container of frozen homemade meatballs in their own secret sauce.

My friend Ro (a vegetarian) heads right for the big rounds of pure white Scandinavian farmers' cheese. The cheese is carefully cut in half and those chunks of cheese are going fast. I follow her lead and snag a piece.

My husband meanwhile is in carb heaven, drooling over the loaves of homemade Swedish bread. We meet in the middle of the room - he now has two loaves - one with cardamom, one with dried fruit.

"What about the herring?" he asks, then, without waiting for my answer heads right over to get a jar of Swedish herring with dill before it's gone.

Yes we have entered foodies' nirvana.

Who would have thought it was lurking just behind that nondescript church hall door on Atlantic Ave.?

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