SurstrommingSeems to be my turn to add another delicacy...
I just happen to return from my annual bike meeting from a motorcycle list I´m on. We`re a bunch of old men on bikes all over Europe (and a couple of guys from the other side of the pond) who meet once a year somewhere in Europe (new place / country each year). Our tradition asks for everyone to bring something interesting to eat or drink from around his home aerea, mostly some spirits, wines, cheeses (lovely pecorino and homegrown olives from our Italian attendees this year...yum!), and we do have a strong Scandinavian fraction. This year they brought surstromming (sp?), which is nothing less than canned rotten fish!
I couldn´t specify the fish, but they were about the size of small sardines. For preparation, the heads of the fish are cut off, the rest of the fish remains intact however. The put the fish in cans and add salt and leave the cans open for about a week to 10 days, according to temperature and the amount of sunshine (yes, they are fermenting outside the house). Only after that, the cans are closed and the fish is allowed to ripen for at least another eight weeks.
The whole thing smells like somewhat inbetween old overdone Limburger Cheese and salted herring, and it tastes quite similar, but worse. The smell is so intense, that the can that was brought to our meeting was not opened inside the hotel, but somewehere outside on the parking lot. Still it was intense enough you didn´z have to ask for directions but simply follow your nose to find the place they had opened it.
I tried two pieces of surstromming (oh yes, they do filets from the fish after taking them out of the can, so luckily you don´t eat the rotten intestines) and managed to swallow them - imagine eating fermented smelly old socks...
For my part after this experience I was happy there was still enough Grappa and Genever left to wash down the taste, but obviously it´s a delicacy in parts of Sweden.