Skål to the first-ever kräftskiva in Sister Bay! Wisconsin Public Radio is teaming with Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Door County, WI to bring you a kräftskiva – a traditional Swedish crayfish party - on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.
Chef Freddie Bexel has been planning the menu for weeks. During a recent conversation with him, Bexel said one of his favorite parts of a kräftskiva is the planning and anticipation – looking forward to sitting down among good friends and fighting for the crayfish. He recalls his first kräftskiva in his native Sweden, when the crayfish were really big and meaty, almost like lobster, and doused with fresh dill and lemon. So he was pretty excited when Jeffrey Potter, director of marketing at Wisconsin Public Radio, approached the staff at Al Johnson's about having such an event.

As part of its centennial in 2017, WPR (which has the distinction of being older than any public radio station in the U.S. - and older than the BBC, too) thought it was time to act on an idea for a food event they'd been thinking about for a long time. "We wanted to offer something different because our listeners are naturally curious about the world," he said. That something different was Swedish. Inspired by the annual kräftskiva at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.
Potter has attended many ASI events and even took Swedish lessons there (though he can't claim any Swedish ancestry), so he knew this very special Swedish tradition was a good one to organize - with a great partner in a very special part of the state.
Al Johnson's is indeed a great venue for this event, which will be outside, under the starry sky of a warm August evening, in their green space and new, covered terrace at Stabbur Beer Garden.
Those enormous crayfish Bexel mentioned aren't available in large quantities anymore, but we know they are delicious whatever their size, especially with lots of that dill and lemon - there's no skimping on these flavors.

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All the other items on the evening's menu are made with local ingredients: baby dill potatoes, fresh corn, Swedish cucumber salad, assorted cheeses, knäckebröd and baguettes, Swedish cardamom shortbread with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and a shot of chilled aquavit (also locally made, Bexel happily assured me).
And, of course, there will be paper lanterns, bibs, paper hats and music. WPR’s Afternoon Classics host and Central Time's "Food Friday" expert, Lori Skelton, Wisconsin Life Executive Producer Maureen McCollum and WPR regional staff will also be there - and together with Al's staff, they'll show how to best peel and eat the crayfish and lead the crowd in traditional Swedish songs.

Var så god! Doors open 6:30 PM / RSVP to Al Johnson’s via www.eventbrite.com/e/crayfish-sommerfest-tickets-44815629755