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This Restaurant in Sweden Offers Every Meal Served at the Nobel Banquet Since 1922

This Restaurant in Sweden Offers Every Meal Served at the Nobel Banquet Since 1922

19 December 2019

The Nobel Banquet, an annual celebration that recognizes the academic, cultural and scientific achievements of that year’s respective Nobel Laureates, is a prestigious event, held every December 10, that the general public will never get the honor to attend. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t take part in some of the festivities experienced by Nobel Prize winners and their guests.

For the past 15 years, Stadshuskällaren, or City Hall Cellars—a Swedish restaurant tucked away in the basement of Stockholm’s towering City Hall has been serving every single menu served during the Nobel Banquet from 1922 to today. (The banquet itself is held inside City Hall’s Blue Hall.) And with a reservation, diners can feast on the same multi-course menus as previous prize winners, from Sir Alexander Fleming who won in 1945 to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964 to Mother Teresa in 1979. (They dined on reindeer, foie gras and veal, respectively.)

“The Nobel Banquet is a celebration that’s known worldwide, so we thought it would be a good idea to let everyone have the opportunity to enjoy the menus and taste what it’s like,” says Maria Stridh, co-owner and CEO of Stadshuskällaren. “It’s a fun thing to do if you’re traveling from another country and want to try something special that’s related to Sweden. Often people will select a certain year that’s important to them, such as the year that they were born or the year when someone from their country won the prize.”

While Stridh says that no one particular year proves to be more popular amongst diners than another, she does confirm that there’s often an uptick in requests to sample the menu from the previous year’s Nobel Banquet. (The restaurant is currently offering the 2018 menu, a feast that includes arctic char bathed in crayfish broth, baked celeriac drizzled in chanterelle cream and an apple medley. The menu for the 2019 celebration, which will take place tomorrow, will be available to order early next year.)

“Some of the earliest menus available have dishes that might not be quite so popular with guests today, like turtle soup,” she says. “And some of the menus from the 1960s had chicken as an entrée, which is no longer considered a special occasion dish these days.”

But despite the choice of ingredients, the team of chefs responsible for recreating the dishes are adamant about ensuring that they’re as close in taste and appearance as they were the first time they were served. To make the experience as authentic as possible, the restaurant serves meals using gold-rimmed porcelain that are the same as the sets used during the banquet. Each meal can also come with wine pairings that are as close in flavor as those served for that specific year.

“Some of the wines served over the years would be too expensive to serve today,” she says, “so we try to find ones with the same character and grapes that are suitable flavor pairings to the food.”


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