Only Swedes would gather for cocktail on the restaurant porch in December in freezing weather. 80 braves in coats and mittens enjoyed steaming home made glögg as SWEA NY held its Christmas party at Battery Garden’s Restaurant. No complaints were noted–just a line for refills.

Inside, lights were dimmed and the restaurant’s Finnish chef, Ari Nieminen, had prepared a buffet of Swedish Christmas dishes that left nothing to be desired.

Several claimed this was their best Christmas table ever experienced in the U.S. – not bad for a Finn. The again, Ari Nieminen has a long and impressive career, including River Café, Café des Artistes, Water’s Edge and lately, the Scandinavian run SmörgåsChef.
The warm and lively atmosphere was spiced up by toastmaster Kie Eriksson, who made sure guests lifted their glasses and sang the appropriate songs.

After desert, the room darkened for the Lucia procession’s entry. The maiden’s young voices blended perfectly with Lucia Eva Engman’s capable voice. The harmonies were wonderful, the performance graceful, it was a moment to cherish. All in all a magical evening, in full view of Manhattan’s southern tip, with ferries passing by and the Statue of Liberty in the background. Kudos to the board of SWEA New York for arranging an elegant, fun and memorable evening!

Mette Barslund Mårtensson