CLV Food Blog

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Smørbrød/smørrebrød/smörgås - The Open Faced Sandwich

Published: December 11, 2014

Last week Skogfjorden held its first ever "Smørbrød Week, where we celebrated the Norwegian open faced sandwich.  Check out #Skog53 to see everyone’s pictures this week or search Facebook for “Smørbrød Week,” and you’ll get our event.   

This week for staff lunch we had open faced sandwiches.  You can find all the pictures we took here:

The open faced sandwich is part of all Scandinavian cuisine.  Danes, Swedes and Norwegians all have their own version.

Norwegian open faced sandwiches are often times more simple than the other countries.  Many consist strictly of meat and cheese.  Butter or mayonnaise are common on the sandwiches as well.

In Denmark the open sandwich is called smørrebrød.  The Danish version is usually served on a dark Rye bread and hold many ingredients.  It is more like a full meal with proteins and greens almost hiding the bread.  Ida Davidsen is a restaurant in Denmark specializing in  smørrebrød, whose menu consists of 250 different varieties. This restaurant is family owned and on its fifth generation of owners.  You can read about the restaurant here and now you have a reason to go to Denmark!

The term smörgås, which translated literally means, "butter goose," refers to smörgåsbord or "butter goose table," which is Swedish for buffet.  This buffet is generally eaten for Christmas and Midsommar and other holidays.  It always contains the fixings for open-faced sandwiches, so the two terms are connected.  But regular smörgás can be eaten any time, often for breakfast, a light dinner (tea time) or a snack.  Swedes think it's a little weird when Americans eat a sandwich for lunch, because it isn't really seen as a complete meal on its own.


One variation on the smörgås unique to Sweden is the smörgåstårta.  It's kind of like a giant layer cake made of sandwich fixings.  It is made up of several layers of bread, either white or light rye, and some creamy fillings.  Most often these fillings have a base of egg or mayonnaise.  It's often served on special occasions, like a baptism or graduation.

Check out the Wikipedia article: