All posts filed under: Sweden

The Ice Hotel: Eating Lapland & Exploring It

Arriving in snowy Kiruna I was so excited. There was a buzz on the flight., Most people were traveling for important birthdays and other such events, and I was so surprised to be on a flight where everyone wanted to chat. My first stop was a dash to see if the astronaut pig was still there but woe, he was gone. Maybe he is in space now? The crunch of snow underfoot followed by whispery snow was thrilling. I bounced out to the waiting bus and immediately joined a tour of the ICEHOTEL. I was dying to see it. And then I thought, it is cold isn’t it? Of course it is cold, but until you are standing there, standing on the ice, surrounded by ice, sitting on ice, does it actually hit home. I was hungry so I made my next stop dinner. Right after I collected my all in one snow suit, huge snow boots, leather mittens that made me look like a seal or the joker, and a balaclava. I was set. …


The ICEHOTEL in Sweden: Sparkling, Gorgeous and So Very Surreal

The ICEHOTEL. Childhood obsession with the Snow Queen and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and all things snowy and polar lie dormant in my head. I have always wanted to (properly) see the northern lights (we saw them in Ireland when I was a child once) and the southern lights too. I love all things sparse and white. I like the idea of the space, the silence and the starkness of it all. So much so, that in my brief time as a physiologist in university, I contemplated signing up for the British Antarctic Survey. I went to one of their recruitment meetings, so very keen, but realised quickly that I was not the kind of person that could survive three years there. So I thought that I would visit there. I bought the Lonely Planet guide, studied penguins, made little penguins, bought memoirs and any book with any related stories. But it was too expensive. So I looked at working on a ship. I really wanted to go. But I never did. …

More Photos from Lovely Gothenburg

It’s my last night in Gothenburg. I have really enjoyed it, and I have only seen the tip. It’s been quite food-centric, as you might expect, but next time I do want to get out and see the islands and get out to the surrounding countryside. This all hinges on me learning to drive this Winter, which I have promised myself I will. I love the pace here. It’s all happy and very relaxed. Everyone is just getting on with their everyday business. For a city of its size (500,000) the food on offer is really terrific – 5 michelin starred restaurants and great mid-range ones too. It is expensive, but there are great offers too, which I have been exploring and will write about soon. For now some more photos. Enjoy!

A Postcard from Gothenburg

Greetings from lovely Gothenburg! I am here for the weekend to explore and eat (of course). One day in and I feel so relaxed. I love a second city – really I do! Hello Cork, one of my favourites where I lived for 8 years, and I really did prefer Split in Croatia to Dubrovnik. Hey, I am already wildly off the point. Gothenburg boasts 5 michelin starred restaurants and lots of mid range. I am exploring the gamut, hoping to get a little bit of everything. I am letting the trip evolve day by day, which I love to do. Here are some photo highlights of the trip so far. Enjoy!

Swedish Lapland: Indigenous Sámi Souvas (that’s reindeer to you and I)

It’s icy out there, bitterly cold and the grass is now a shade of mint green, each blade with it’s little frosty jacket. I do wonder what it must be like in Lapland. Definitely, much worse than this. When I was there, this Autumn, it was already starting to cool down and I had a brief insight to your upcoming, and now very much present, Winter. I had many fine experiences on my trip, one was an afternoon with indigenous Sámi people, who introduced us first to their herd of reindeer, and second, to one of their defining traditional dishes, souvas. The Sámi people are the indigenous people occupying Sápmi in Northern Europe, an arc of land consisting of parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are the only official indigenous people remaining in Northern Europe. Traditionally the Sámi people traditionally rely on a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping and sheep herding but their food supply remains almost entirely dependent on their nomadic herds of …

One Night in Stockholm: Dinner at Bakfickan

On my recent trip to Lapland, I had a few hours in Stockholm the night before I flew there. I was determined to find somewhere local, interesting and good that might give me an insight to their food culture. Always my three objectives, I am not always successful when I have only one option, this time, however, it was a resounding success. Bakfickan – translated as the Hip Pocket – and meaning the small place behind the posh place basically, is embedded in the back of the Opera House next to its more formal and higher end sibling, Operabaren. It’s known for serving traditional Swedish food although there is clearly a strong French influence on the food here too. The two restaurants share a kitchen – although not a menu – at significantly different prices. It was definitely the one to try. A large counter dominates and staff busy themselves behind, swiftly and efficiently deploying food and drinks to the diners seated around them. It feels very old school with formal service but also very …

Recipe: A little bit of Pitepalt

We’re going to eat Pitepalt. Pitepalt? Yes, pitepalt. I hadn’t done my research and had no idea what they were talking about. I chose to keep my mouth shut and wait and see. What a treat then to discover that we were going to be eating supreme comfort food, lakeside in Lapland. Potato dumplings, fried over an open fire with pork belly (YES! pork belly), and served with butter and the sugared lingonberries that we had just foraged. Rich, robust and nutty, the potato dumplings, heavier than gnocchi but delicious nonetheless, were coated with pork fat, with nuggets of pork belly for company, smothered in butter with the tartness of the lingonberries raising the tone. BUT, I can’t have any. Well, yes you can. Quick trip to IKEA for the lingonberries or lingonberry jam, and Bob’s your uncle. I can’t help you with the lake though. This recipe is a variation of one from Paltakademin (the Academy of Palt, an association whose mission it is to spread the word of the pitepalt and help people …

Greetings from Sweden: Postcard No 2

And so we’re still in Lapland. We’ve migrated South from Kiruna, just beyond the Arctic Circle. We’re now by the river, looking at Finland. If I waved, they could see me. Today involved an exploration of indigenous Sami food. Greta, a native Sami, brought reindeer heart, candied angelica, and other things to try. We also did some fishing, although failed to catch any fish. I blame the boys ;) We finished the evening with a sauna dinner. I must confess that I didn’t participate in the sauna and hot tub  (I forgot my swimsuit!), but I did enjoy the dinner. And I loved sitting on the terrace, looking at Finland, eating lots of herring, reindeer and local specialities, whilst gazing at the starry sky, and… Finland! Photographic highlights:  

Greetings from Sweden: Postcard No 1

Greetings from Lapland! The Culinary Institute of Sweden arranged a trip to Lapland for food journalists and bloggers from all over Europe to experience their food culture for 5 days, and here I am. I have been having the most wonderful time. Over the next 5 days, where possible, I will upload a postcard in the form of the photos that represent the best part of the day, that hopefully you will enjoy. Details later. Here is the first. From Kiruna, within the Arctic Circle. Day 1: Kiruna Wonderful, eh? Back tomorrow :)