RAMBLING THROUGH the lyrics of traditional drinking songs while sharing a huge plate of kräfta (crayfish) and downing a glass of beer is a unique experience to celebrate the end of the summer season (in the case of the Philippines, the dry season).
A crayfish is a small freshwater lobster that breathe through feather-like gills and are known to have blue blood like other crustaceans. It may be blue, white, but is commonly red. Swedish crayfish are dark and turn bright red when boiled.
Eating crayfish began in 16th century Sweden when King Erik XIV would farm the crustacean in the moat of Kalmar Castle. Crayfish gained popularity in the 19th century and eventually dining on crayfish became a tradition among the Nordic countries. Today it is enjoyed in summer garden parties.
While it is no longer summer in the Philippines, the Crayfish Party 2018, a project of NordCham Philippines, in partnership with Sofitel Philippine Plaza, will be held for the 6th year in a row on Sept. 8 at Sofitel’s Harbor Garden Tent.
“Today, crayfish is something [we] only eat in the month of August. It is a dish that is typically served at the end of summer. It’s a bit of a celebration of the end of the warm period as it transitions to the winter time,” NordCham Philippines Bo Lundqvist said at the launch party at Sofitel on Aug. 1.
“The crayfish itself is prepared with spices and herbs. It is served cold. [It’s] salty. It’s served with a variety of spirits and we also eat it with Nordic food,” Mr. Lundqvist said.
The crayfish is consumed by first twisting the head to separate it from the tail. The juice is sucked from the head. To get at the tender meat, the tail’s shell is peeled in the same manner as peeling a shrimp.
The celebration at Sofitel will include Nordic dishes such as salmon gravadlax, smoked tuna with capers, Swedish meatballs with lingon jam, Janssons Temptation (a traditional Swedish casserole made of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, bread crumbs, and cream), and toscakaka cake, and a variety of alcoholic beverages. Sing-alongs, games, and prizes are also in store.
The event’s proceeds will be donated to the Chosen Children Village (CCV), a foundation in Cavite that provides a home and care facilities for physically and mentally challenged children.
Tickets to the crayfish feast cost P3,900 each or P35,000 for a group of 10. For event tickets, visit crayfishparty.ph. For more information, call Georges Pattinson at 0977-099-8952 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman