Gorgeous old windmill in Öland, Sweden

Gorgeous old windmill in Öland, Sweden

A gorgeous rural weekend can be enough to heal the fractures imparted on the soul by urban living. I love city life but it does take as much as it gives and increasingly I find I need to retreat from it, just for a bit.

I did that last weekend with a trip to Sweden with their annual Culinary Acadamy, this year to Småland and Öland in Southern Sweden. Rural and pretty with sweeping forests peppered with mirror lakes, Småland is in the South East tip and Öland is a long narrow island cosied up next to it, flat and dotted with old unused windmills scattered among wheat fields. 

Wild foods abounded, I gleefully picked wild strawberries at every opportunity when walking through meadows and fields. I bet it is amazing in the Autumn when the blueberries & lingonberries rear their heads amid carpets of mushrooms too.

We found (and ate) lots of wild strawberries. Swedish kids store them on a straw so we did the same :)

We found (and ate) lots of wild strawberries. Swedish kids store them on a straw so we did the same :)

We spent a few days travelling around meeting producers, trying local foods, learning local recipes and eating at some of the local restaurants. For a small area there is a lot going on, and we met a few of the Swedish Chefs of the Year as we travelled, eating the food cooked by one and cooking with another.

I have lots to share but will start with some photos. I could have shared so many more, but I have – literally – thousands yet to edit. Here is a start!

Gorgeous wild flowers on a wall in Öland, Sweden

Gorgeous wild flowers on a wall in Öland, Sweden

Goats! At Hagelstad Goat Dairy Farm in Öland, Sweden

Goats! At Hagelstad Goat Dairy Farm in Öland, Sweden

Kroppekake (potato and spice pork dumplings, served with cream and lingonberry jam), at Ninni’s Kroppkake Cottage in Långerum, Öland

Kroppekake (potato and spice pork dumplings, served with cream and lingonberry jam), at Ninni’s Kroppkake Cottage in Långerum, Öland

Dreamy wheat field, swishing in the breeze in Öland

Dreamy wheat field, swishing in the breeze in Öland

Klas Lindberg, Swedish Chef of the Year 2012, who we cooked with at the Öland Museum in the village of Himmelsberga

Klas Lindberg, Swedish Chef of the Year 2012, who we cooked with at the Öland Museum in the village of Himmelsberga

Sommelier and beer specialist Sanna Blomquist, who matched the drinks and also had the best head dress :)

Sommelier and beer specialist Sanna Blomquist, who matched the drinks and also had the best head dress :)

Gorgeous dresser in the cafe at the Öland Museum in the village of Himmelsberga

Gorgeous dresser in the cafe at the Öland Museum in the village of Himmelsberga

We made some beautiful midsummer head dresses

We made some beautiful midsummer head dresses

... with these lovely flowers

… with these lovely flowers

Here is mine :-)

Here is mine :-)

A traditional Fika at Krusagården in Eksjö, Småland

A traditional Fika at Krusagården in Eksjö, Småland

I travelled to Sweden as a guest of Visit Sweden.

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Niamh

Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.
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