I recently had the privilege of exploring the streets of Gothenburg Sweden through a close friend of mine ( Johan) who happened to be making an annual visit to catch up with friends and family. As a former line cook and devout food lover, I knew this would be an opportunity to gain new ground by seeing the growth of one of the largest cities in Sweden. Johan had provided me with a crash course in some of the main Swedish staples. Västerbotten a mainstay cheese on the Swedish table, Tunnbröd (thin bread), crisp bread, filmjölk (sour milk), and fermented herring, which every Swede loves to rave about. As a guest in his families home I was eager to see what they ate on a daily basis, while also experiencing the restaurant and street food scene.
This was a trip which was not meant to be planned with a rigid approach, and as a result, we meandered around several areas with an open mindset. Along the way, we discovered interesting people, various types of terrain, and traditional food which is sincere.
A taste of the Nordic delicacies. So pure and fresh. Eating seafood this fresh is an experience that will always linger in my mind, but more importantly, sharing it with great people who welcome you into their home speaks volumes about Swedish culture. It was a welcoming and engaging experience to learn how to eat each item, the proper technique for sucking on the juice inside the prawn heads, and knowing how to crack the crab perfectly to obtain the best parts.
David, a local Gothenburg chef invited us into his home for a quick meal. Pretty nifty tap setup, and his wife helps him with the labels for each brew series. I can tell you at that moment, beer never tasted so good, savoring each sip, consciously aware that it was crafted by someone passionate and dedicated.
A rare tasting of a dish that stems from a late 18th century recipe. Seared blodpudding with pickled lingonberries, sauteed apple and onion We were fortunate that Johan’s brother Mikael, introduced us to his friend who is a local Gothenburg chef. David the chef, cooks at a local restaurant in the center of Gothenburg. Having heard my appreciation for the classical style of cooking, he asked, “when are you leaving?” “I have some pigs blood which I was finally able to source from a local butcher, and I made a batch of Blodpudding.” Instantly, I was anticipating the opportunity to try such a rare and forgotten dish. Another experience was quickly brewing, and we were set to meetup the next day for a quick tasting at his apartment before we headed out to the Way Out West music festival. I was ecstatic for his invite, and this was one of the many great experiences I had from the various people I met throughout my adventures in Sweden. People with pure gracious intentions.
Ice Cream Man
Walking along the waterfront near the Älvsborg Bridge you'll find Pierre selling his own artisan gelato from a portable freezer which he custom designed. "How did you start making ice cream?" Pierre's response, "I was tired of building houses for a living." He was serving an elderflower sorbet and a fior di latte ice cream dusted with cinnamon and cocoa
I got used to the light breakfast every morning. The texture of the crisp bread combined with shards of Västerbotten cheese draped on top, along with the sweetness of the sliced red bell pepper. Then for a sweet kick, you have a multi grain bread roll with really nice sweet butter and berry preserves. Not captured here is the unpasturized fresh orange juice which I was very sad to leave behind once I came back to New York. Before boarding my flight back home, I scoured the airport looking for crisp bread and orange juice. It's hard to leave such pure ingredients.
Walking through Stockholm looking for a bite, I was introduced to this fried herring stand. It's a great experience to eat this as you sit outside in the middle of a local square.
Walking through Stockholm on a warm day, I was hungry. I needed something heavy and rich. Johan suggested this place that served Tunnbrödsrulle. This is Sweden’s contribution to the world’s greatest hangover foods. The bread, tunnbröd, is like a Swedish tortilla and it is filled with buttery mashed potatoes and a variety of other fillings you can choose from which seem to plot their escape through the bottom and come closer to freedom with every bite. It’s satisfying good, and I was instructed to wash this down with an ice cold chocolate milk beverage.
Feskekôrka (Fish Church)
Feskekôrka is an indoor fish market in Gothenburg, Sweden, which got its name from the building's resemblance to a Gothic church. It's significance serves as homage for one of the city's oldest trades, fishing.
This was no ordinary food stand. Instead you are served homemade chorizo sausage, which is seared and split open alongside fresh cabbage slaw.