Swedish cuisine mightn't possess the popularity of Italian, French or Spanish fare, but this Scandinavian country has contributed more to Western way of eating than is often credited. The word smörgåsbord, for instance, is a Swedish invention. Translating as "bread and butter table", the term – which traditionally referred to a home-cooked spread of herring, smoked eel, lingonberry jam, roast beef and meatballs – is used worldwide to describe a buffet. Swedes were also pioneers when it came to preserving meat and seafood. It's believed the Vikings were some of the first to salt, dehydrate and cure their catch, passing on this knowledge to nations nearby.


When it comes to contemporary cuisine, preserved and pickled fish is still commonly eaten. Thanks to the country's large coastline, seafood is plentiful and can be enjoyed in dishes such as salmon tart, prawn and caviar on toast, and chat potatoes with sour cream and pickled herring. Swedes might not have created the cinnamon bun or meatball, but they've certainly popularised these simple specialties in recent times.