Monday was a pretty strange one. One of my Swedish friends has been suggesting we all try surströmming for a while now but, with it being fermented herring, we were all a little cautious. I mean, fermented… that’s like rotting, right? We were skeptical to say the least. Still, Magnus insisted, and so this summer we finally arranged a date for our surströmmingfest and invited some people over for an afternoon of Swedish food and drink. Topper made some tasty meatballs, Magnus provided the aquavit and various types of fish and bread, while Nic brought along all the berries in London to help us take away the taste if we dared to try the crazy fermented herring. After sampling some Swedish whisky and demolishing a delicious tub of mushroom pâté that Nic bought for us at Borough Market, we carried the dining table into the garden and made sure all the windows and doors were shut so that none of the reportedly very strong fishy smell would end up indoors.

The time was right for opening the bulging tin of doom. Magnus opened it near the drain and we all laughed as some fizzing liquid appeared from the punctured can and dribbled onto the paving slabs. At first, the smell wasn’t quite as bad as we’d all feared but it didn’t take long before we dared to get a little closer and the reality hit. Still, after we were shown how to get the meat off the bones and then add it to a sandwich of crushed potatoes, onions and tomatoes, a few people did start to get themselves a plate and have a go. Nigel, Rae and Tom all seemed to do rather well but, funnily enough, no one could finish what they’d prepared so the rest of us all got to taste some too. The general consensus was that, although it wasn’t vile, it did indeed taste like it should have been put in the bin days ago. Strong, with an after taste of OMG. All seemed fine and so we continued to eat the tastier food, sing some songs and finish the aquavit, then have dessert, cigars and more alcohol. This is where things got a little bit weird.

The rest of the evening had one extreme casualty (we suspect a nasty reaction to the unusual food), and an awful lot of interesting behaviour. For a small party, it ended up being one of our most raucous. Don’t think there’ll be a next time.

UPDATE: I now have some photos up on Flickr from the afternoon.

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