This past summer, I went on a whirlwind getaway to Scandinavia. While I was excited to see the fjords of Norway and the cobblestone streets of Stockholm, I was equally as excited to drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of carbs. Fortunately, I was in luck.
My European adventure took place across Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and I ate a ridiculous amount of bread (and croissants, and cinnamon buns) at breakfast and dinner each day. The only thing more delicious than the bread? The butter. These countries take dairy seriously, and wow, does it pay off. High-fat, indulgently creamy butter was on the table for every meal — and I was on cloud nine.
After the first few days of the trip, whether I was dining at the hotel buffet or a local eatery, I noticed that butter was almost always served with a cute little knife.
It didn’t seem particularly sturdy or sharp … in fact, it was completely dull. But this softly curved knife was aesthetically pleasing to me, and using it every day sparked immense joy. I started thinking it would make a great souvenir, so I bought one for a few krona at a store in Stockholm.
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When I got home, I started doing some research about my new kitchen gadget. I’d never seen anything else like it, so I was intrigued as to whether or not there was some quaint backstory. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a lot, but I did discover some basic information.
One blog I found writes that “these knives look like the result of a union between a butter knife and miniature canoe paddle. The wide blade, ideal for spreading … makes the wooden knife a fixture in every Swedish home.” I also learned that these knives are most often made from juniper wood, and they should have some flexibility. Also, Swedes only use this butter blade for, well, butter.
Honestly, it’s too dull to use for much else. Although it’s called a knife, this utensil isn’t designed to chop and dice, but to skim and spread. I might be culturally incorrect, but I use my souvenir to spread cream cheese on bagels, mayo on sandwiches, jelly on toast … you get the idea.
I pair it with jars of mustard or jam when I put together a cheese board, and, yes, I put it out with butter whenever I serve bread with dinner. No matter how casual the gathering, this Scandinavian knife instantly adds a chic, global element to the table.
Regardless of what I’m eating, each time I pull it out of the drawer, I feel like I’m back at a B&B in the Swedish countryside.
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