A tweet from Sweden’s official Twitter account has the nation’s people in shock. It recently revealed that Swedish meatballs, the country’s national dish, actually originated from Turkey. Is this really true?
The tweet said, ‘Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century. Let’s stick to the facts!’
The famous Swedish dish – known as Svenska köttbullar in Swedish – is composed of pan-fried meatballs traditionally served with gravy and lingonberry sauce. Turns out, it’s very similar to Turkey’s iconic köfte (meatballs).
Reactions to the tweet were, of course, on the cheeky side.
My whole life has been a lie https://t.co/tVcRmJx5By
— @sweden / Örjan (@sweden) April 28, 2018
“There must have been a reason why the Turkish people embraced something from Sweden so willingly. Ikea equals meatballs for many of us.” https://t.co/ZVIPReJIW2
— Christopher (@chrissmith58102) May 1, 2018
But it’s IKEA that seems to be facing the brunt of this revelation.
Time to un-appropriate your staple menu item Ikea. I expect a full apology and possibly reparations for all “Swedish” Meatballs sold, to the Turkish people. https://t.co/52WNDDsp9q
— Andy 🔪🥦 (@StenosPosition) May 1, 2018
Although in IKEA’s defence, the two meatball recipes are quite different. While Swedish meatballs are served with gravy and lingonberry sauce, the Turkish köfte is often served with piyaz (a white bean vinaigrette salad), turşu (pickled vegetables) and bulgur.
Origins of the Swedish meatball
According to historical facts stated by Annie Mattson of Sweden’s Uppsala University, it was King Charles XII (who reigned Sweden from 1697 to 1718) who brought the recipe from Istanbul. After having lost a military battle against the Russians, the king was exiled near Bender, Moldova for five years in the early 1700s, which was part of the Ottoman Empire during that time. Turkish media outlets also claim that the king, who used food as a means of boosting good relations between countries, also brought back coffee and stuffed cabbage from Istanbul. Sultan Ahmed III, the Ottoman sultan of the time, also purchased and freed Swedish women and children who were taken by the Russians, which also bolstered the already good relationship between Sweden and Turkey.
Origins of köfte
As for the history of the Turkish köfte, the meatball recipe is believed to have come from the Imperial Kitchen of the Ottoman Empire. In a 15th-century recipe book, the meatball is referred to by its Farsi name, kûfte, which means beaten and crushed. Through the centuries, kûfte became köfte and took on many shapes, including different soups with köfte, köfte served with different sauces, köfte kebabs, köfte dipped in batter and fried and köfte made from other ingredients such as fish, bulgur, chicken, vegetables and other legumes.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.