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Herring, once considered “poor man's food”, is now one of the most popular Swedish delicatessens and has become a must-have dish at the Easter, Midsummer and Christmas table.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the herring suddenly disappeared and was gone for over half a century! But then one winter day in 1877, a steamer on the Bohuslän coast passed a herd of herring that was so massive that the herring was thrown up on the deck of the steamer. Herring had finally returned to the west coast! The sea was suddenly filled with herring again and a new herring era could start, but this time it was a bit different. Now a new kind of herring, “storsillen” ("big herring"), became very popular. By seasoning the big herring and making it into smaller pieces, a new product was created - “kryddsillen” (the spiced herring). The first products of this new herring were presented as early as 1889. These small herring pieces were perfect to just put on a fork and put in your mouth so they were given the name “gaffelbitar” (“fork pieces”).

At the same time as this new herring period was in full swing at the end of the 19th century, Bohuslän's west coast became fashionable. The seaside resort culture on the west coast flourished. At first, the summer guests came to enjoy the sun and salty baths, but eventually, the health trips became pure pleasure trips. More and more restaurants and guest houses were opened and "herring and nubbe" became part of the Swedish seaside resort culture. From being considered a poor man's food, herring ended up in the fine restaurants and became extremely popular.

Today, it is difficult for us Swedes to imagine Easter, Midsummer or Christmas without herring. It’s a must on the Christmas table and we can't wait to start feasting on all sorts of herring this year!

Here’s our herring collection, filled with all sorts of delicious sill. You can also make your own with Abba’s 5-minute herring. Happy sill season!