The Swedish Sausage Academy (yes there is such a thing) turned 25 years old in 2016 and decided that every year on March 12 we will celebrate “all sausages”. Since then, March 12 has been a very special day for sausage lovers. Today is indeed “Alla korvars dag” (the Day of All Sausages). So let’s talk about Scandi sausages…
Already in the Middle Ages, sausages with bread are said to have been served in Frankfurt. In the 17th century the German butcher Johann Georgehehner made a sausage which was nicknamed the dachshund.
A dachshund has a long, narrow body, so it is sometimes called a wiener dog, hot dog, or sausage dog, and that's how the hot dog came to be.
The first hot dog stand was opened in 1871 in New York and twenty-six years later, in 1897, hot dogs were served for the first time in Sweden during the Art and Industry Exhibition at Djurgården in Stockholm. It was a success!
For many years in Sweden, hot dogs were sold by varmkorvgubbar med låda på magen (hot dog sellers with a box on the stomach) but this was banned in 1972 for hygienic reasons. But the “låda på magen”- ban didn’t stop the hot dogs! Sales continued as before in hot dog stands instead and nowadays hot dogs are everywhere, in the hot dog stands, in fast food restaurants, at petrol stations, in the backyard garden and even in fancy restaurants.
But how do hot dogs differ in Scandinavia? Let's take a look..
In Sweden, hot dogs are called 'korv med bröd' (which means 'sausage with bread' believe it or not). It is extremely important that the sausage is longer than the bun. Common toppings include ketchup, mustard, Bostongurka, Gurkmajonäs (pickled cucumber mayo) and Prawn mayonnaise.
On the West Coast of Sweden it is very popular to have something called Halv Special. Halv special is a Swedish hot dog variety that consists of a standard hot dog, but with a twist – it's covered in mashed potatoes. The word halv means half, but there's also a version called hel special, with hel meaning whole, referring to the fact that there are two sausages instead of just one.
In Denmark, hot dogs are called pølser and more than 100 million of them are sold every year. Pølser tend to be red. Originally these strange looking sausages were the ones that were too old to be sold. But instead of throwing them out, sausage vendors in the poverty struck Denmark in the late 1920s instead chose to dip these sausages in red dye and sell them for cheaper prices. The red sausage quickly became a success, and in the end all sausages were dipped in red dye since people stopped buying the other ones.
Traditionally, pølser are served on a paper plate with bread and condiments such as ketchup, mustard, remoulade sauce, and onions on the side.
In Norway, it is common to serve boiled or grilled sausages rolled in something called lompe. Lompe, potato lompe, potato cake or potato lefse, is a non-fermented potato pancake, a flatbread commonly found in Norway. It is soft and typically two millimeters thick. Lompe is made of mashed potatoes with flour and a little salt, and griddled to brown perfection. The Norwegian hot dogs are also surprisingly popular - the average Norwegian eats 100 a year! That's about one every three days, making Norway the biggest hot dog eating country per capita in the world. Congrats, Norway!
In Finland a common hot dog dish is Makkaraperunat, which is a common street food dish where pieces of sausage are served with fries and other small side dishes. Funny enough there is also something called Finnish sauna sausage. It's an old retro dish that might not make a comeback this winter due to electricity prices....but to make it, you take a sausage, put some cuts in it and press cheese down in the cuts. It is then packaged in foil and placed on the sauna stones. Then you just sit down and enjoy your sauna and when you're done you have dinner! The Finnish name for this is kiusmakkaraa and it is definitely something that we will try next time we go to Finland!