By Mart Yosores and Reese Rayos

Crayfish Festival is a gastronomic tradition of enjoying crayfish or Astacus back in the 16th century during the time of Swedish King Erik XIV. It became popular in Scandinavia marking the end of the summer with a garden party. The guests wear comic paper hats and bib with their viking-inspired ensembles.

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The Foodie Station team were invited to a Crayfish Party by our good friends from the Sofitel Hotel last September 8, 2018. We arrived at the party having no idea what a Crayfish was. We were told that such event is actually a summertime Nordic Tradition called Crayfish Party or kräftskiva.

The event was held at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent. It was a partnership between NordCham Philippines and Sofitel Plaza Manila with the objective of sharing to the Filipino people the wonderful Nordic culture though the said festival. It felt even more authentic as the Harbor Tent was transformed into a coastal Viking Village vibe with the guests wearing Nordic/Viking outfits. The party was complemented with a live musical entertainment of The Bloomfields which featured the greatest hits from the 70’s to the 90’s. There were games, sing-along, and a raffle draw with amazing prizes.

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The interior of the venue was filled with such festive decors. The colored house flags of each Nordic countries adorned the spacious marquee which teleported our imaginative minds to an actual Viking village. Service ambassadors were in traditional garb to fully imbibe the evening’s thematic celebration. Each of the 10-seater table was served with at least five kilograms of Crayfish platter. A crayfish looks like a bigger-sized prawn with claws of a crab. Somehow, it looks like a scorpion as well. It tastes like a prawn but its meat is much tender and delightful.

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We put on our plastic gloves, squeezed lemon on the crayfish platter and we started devouring each piece of crayfish like true Vikings – with a pint of beer on one hand and a crayfish on the other! The pass-around snaps, vodka and outdoor cocktails made the party even more festive!

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The buffet spread has a wide variety of delectable food choices all throughout the night– for appetizer and salads, we had Beetroot with boiled eggs, Herring and potatoes and marinated cucumber with dill. There were Ham and cheese, vegetable and mushroom quiche, Swedish meatballs with Lingon jam, Roasted marble potatoes, Boiled dill potatoes and Jansson’s temptation. ‘Lo and behold! They also served lechon to add Filipino flair into the festivity! Well, a party is not a party without one in the Philippines! There were also mouth-watering meal-ender such as Ostkaka with strawberry jam and whipped cream, Toscakaka, Kladdkaka, Oatmeal cookies and Blueberry cheesecakes.

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What was good about this festival was the fact that we celebrated for a cause. There were items auctioned and the proceeds were donated to the Chosen Children Village Foundation. It will be used for the continuous treatment, care and to fund the daily needs of the physically and mentally handicapped children.

We concluded the party and left the venue with a full stomach and knowledge about the Nordic tradition. Skål!!!