Photo by Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se
“One of the best trips I have ever been on”, was just one of the comments we received from the group of British travel writers, who visited Sweden earlier this month. They were travelling on a press trip through Skåne in the south of the country, known as the ‘breadbasket of Sweden’, led by wonderful local celebrity chef, Tareq Taylor and couldn’t have enjoyed themselves more.
So what made this trip so special, and how can you recreate your own mini Skåne foodie adventure?
1. Stay in a castle
Of course, any trip which involves a stay in a castle must have its advantages, and Skåne is also known as castle county! The writers stayed at the 18th century Kronovall Wine Castle, which has grand, Gothic style living quarters, and herds of deer which roam the grounds, and the fairytale Häckeberga Castle, whose gleaming white facade and pretty pastel turrets greet guests as they cross the lake. Even if you can’t spend the night, each of these castles has wonderful restaurants, which prepare local specialities with a modern twist, including wild boar and fallow deer with pureed parsnip, delicate white fish and delicious soups.
2. Try out a floating sauna
Going to the sauna is a way of life in Sweden, and what could be more fun than relaxing in one on a lake? You can find these special ‘sauna boats’ along the coast and by some lakes in Skåne. For the ultimate refreshing experience, the writers were challenged to have a sauna the Swedish way – with icy ‘God’ beers followed by a revitalising dip in the lake!
3. Eat with Tareq
Sadly, not everyone can travel with an expert chef. But fans of Tareq Taylor can try out some of the dishes he cooks on his UKTV Good Food programme ‘Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery’ by visiting Slottsträdgårdens Café, his pretty eatery in Malmö. It’s also easy to follow the chef’s ethos on cooking with local, seasonal produce. Travellers can join Tareq’s friend, expert forager, Roland Rittman, and join him on the hunt for mushrooms and herbs and edible flowers. You can also stop by one of the many cider makers in Skåne. Sövde Musteri had a small boutique distillery where passers-by can also buy lovely gifts, from apple glögg and cider to local honey and cloudberry jam.
Tareq Taylor’s Good Food Channel series ‘Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery’ is the UK’s first ever Scandinavian cooking show. His new series starts at 7.30am on Thursday 7 November on Good Food Channel. Visit uktv.co.uk/ for more information.
Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg, is known for leading the way with its contemporary art and design. With a design school, and no shortage of home grown talent, there’s never been a better time to book a design-led break to Gothenburg.
Here’s our tips on the best places to see and be seen:
Art lovers should head straight to the Gothenburg Museum of Art to experience one of the leading collections of Nordic art spanning from the 15th century up to modern day. Masterpieces by Carl Larsson, Albert Edelfelt and Ernst Josephson stand out alongside well known pieces by Picasso, Rembrandt and Monet.
Entrance to the museum is free with the Gothenburg Card.
For arty types with more modern tastes, a visit to Göteborgs Konsthall – a centre of contemporary art – is a must. Focusing on visual culture, the programme of exhibitions and talks is often playful, and invites visitors to get involved in everything from costume making to illustration.
Better still, entrance to most workshops and exhibits is free.
Looking for a hero piece of furniture for your new flat? Design fans will love hitting the trendy interior design shops in Gothenburg, where it’s possible to hunt out everything from unique modern statement pieces to high quality vintage.
A local favourite is Designtorget, which showcases work by well known and unknown designers alike. The stock changes weekly from funky glasses to exciting art, so it’s almost guaranteed that there will certainly something to impress your friends.
For beautiful design with an environmental conscience head to beautiful furniture store Norrgavel. Designed by Nirvan Richter, each piece is lovingly made with a strong attention to detail using natural materials. You can even create your own furniture by choosing the materials just to make it extra special.
Imagine leaving the bright lights of the city and being transported by snowmobile and sled through the sparkling snow and across the frozen Bay of Bothnia to an island where Lotta Sundling and Bror-Einar Johansson welcome you into their beautiful and warm home. A traditional red and white Swedish farm house.
When Lotta Sundling first told her then fiancé, Bror-Einar Johansson, of her dream of creating a special hotel at the manor home of Jopikgården, on Hinders Island, he told her this would never work. Over 15 years later, Lotta fortunately proved him wrong. Since then, Jopikgården has become the ideal destination for those seeking an authentic Swedish Lapland experience. From the delicious gourmet cuisine, viewing the Northern Lights and the personalized service, this is a dream winter destination for those who seek something special in Swedish Lapland.
Jopikgården is far from the crowded city life. Situated on the island of Hindersön, it is one of the over 1300 islands that are part of the unique Luleå archipelago, the only archipelago in the world surrounded by brackish water. Thus, in the winter, when the thermometer goes below zero, the ice forms on the frozen sea and connect the islands to the mainland of Swedish Lapland and small city of Luleå.
Steeped in history, legend has it that a Finnish Sami family named Joper first settled the island in the 16th century. Soon, fishermen and farmers inhabited the densely forested island. In 1890, Lars and Hilda Åström moved to the current Jopikgården manor home where they, and their ten children, flourished for years.
Lotta grew up on the stories of Jopikgården. Lotta’s father, who like his father before him, had been born on Hindersön and had a cottage there, and she cherished this island paradise. For years, Lotta imagined turning Jopikgården into a tranquil hotel, reminiscent of a bygone era. She knew that harried visitors would find tranquility and peace in this stately home, on this lush island. She wanted guests to feel like they were at home, visiting family.
From the beginning, this husband and wife team has complimented each other. Lotta makes sure guests enjoy a warm welcome, with fabulous food and cozy and clean accommodations. The antiques in the home are lovely cared for and look as if they are brand new. Lotta is a gourmet cook, making each Swedish Lapland delicacy from scratch. In addition, all of the food is fresh and local. Ingredients such as the honey from the Hindersön beekeeper, to the berries, wild mushrooms, fresh fish, caviar (the unique Kalix Löjrom) and wild game, these ingredients are all local, from the island. Her personal touch is everywhere. You can smell the freshly baked cinnamon rolls, or watch her cure salmon (gravlax), as she tells tales of dances around the old phonograph player. Guests can also enjoy the relaxing sauna or soak in the wood-fired hot tub.
At bedtime, you just walk up the stairs to your comfortable, en suite bedroom where the traditional Swedish décor and the crisp linens welcome you to a restful night of sleep. In the morning, Lotta has prepared a traditional Swedish frukost. Breakfast is a hearty meal, with breads, meats and cheeses along with strong Swedish coffee.
Bror-Einer is a fabulous host, as well as taking charge of much of the logistics, including welcoming and transporting guests to Jopikgården. In addition, he helps arrange activities such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and chasing the Northern Lights. Swedish Lapland is blessed with many cloudless evenings and is ideal for viewing the mysterious Aurora Borealis. Whatever their need, each guest is treated warmly, like a special family member.
No, this is not a frosty fairytale. This is the magic of Jopikgården. This is the authentic sort of place that travelers seek. Together, this husband and wife team makes you feel like you are their valued special guests and you have experienced a memorable Swedish Lapland adventure at Jopikgården.
Find out more and book your trip to Jopikgården with Black Tomato
Full list of our recommended specialist tour operators
Text by Georgia Makitalo
A few years ago, Georgia Makitalo discovered Luleå while chasing the Northern Lights and has never left.
Photos by Graeme Richardson
Photo by Graeme Richardson
Close your eyes and dream of your perfect winter getaway - what do you see? A place in an arctic world with wide icy horizons or forests with trees bending under the heavy weight of sparkling snow? Deafening silence and the freedom of wilderness. An escape from your day-to-day life but still close to civilisation, great food and a comfy bed? Luleå in Swedish Lapland is just such a place.
Luleå is a mere one hour flight from Stockholm, but stepping out of the plane you are right in the middle of a winter wonderland. Stay in Luleå and make daily excursions into the wilderness; or head straight out into the frozen archipelago or the vast forests.
In the archipelago, small homely lodges await. Visit picturesque Jopikgården, where the famous local caviar, Kalix Löjrom is a specialty. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, take a snowmobile tour all the way out beyond the islands to the fields of pack-ice.
Or head into the forestlands and rest your head high above the ground at the world-renowned Treehotel. Or why not try ‘glamping’ at the Aurora Safari Camp where you can learn how to capture the Northern Lights on camera like a professional photographer?
Visiting Luleå is all about enjoying the spectacular nature right on your doorstep. Take a tour on an icebreaker (with a non-mandatory swim in the icy cold waters!), or a husky trip where you’re warm and snug in the sled while the dogs happily do all the work.
A holiday here is also about taking time out to just simply sit around an open fire enjoying a good cup of coffee and good company. And the food never tastes as good as when the natural ingredients come straight from nature and are prepared outdoors!
Simply put, Luleå in Swedish Lapland is amazing. And we can’t wait to share it with you!
Luleå is easy to reach from the UK being just a short flight via Stockholm. To book your adventure in Luleå, check out these exciting trips offered by our recommended specialist tour operators:
Photo by Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se
When you think of wine, Sweden might not be the first country that comes to mind - but all that is about to change! The southern Swedish region of Skåne is gaining something of a reputation as Europe’s new wine district, thanks to its mild climate and extended growing season, and even has its very own wine route.
Featuring more than 20 vineyards, the fragrant Swedish wine route takes in some of Skåne’s most beautiful countryside. The vineyards range from little family farms through to large commercial ventures, but all of them are available to visit and sample delicious produce from.
The majority of the wines are either made from a white grape called solaris or a red grape called rondo, both of which are particularly successful in the Scandinavian climate. Whilst the solaris gives a floral taste with hints of apples, pears, rosehip and lavender, the rondo gives a lot of colour and a rich, fruity taste.
Even UK wine expert Oz Clarke has been singing the praises of Swedish wine, saying that Skåne is the perfect region for the grape and that its wines are likely to become mainstream within a generation. You heard it here first!
For more information on the vineyards, visit the food and drink page on the Skåne website.
All eyes turn to Gothenburg this weekend as the city prepares to play host to the World Food & Travel Summit from 21 – 24 September.
The theme of this year’s summit focuses on a ‘new wave in food tourism.’ More and more consumers and travellers are taking an active interest in local food and produce from the destinations they travel to and the summit will offer tips and advice on how to tap into this market.
During the weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to hear speakers from around the world discuss food tourism and network with fellow industry professionals. Sessions include advice on catching the food tourism wave, information on Sweden as the new culinary nation and investigating the connection between food, travel and the media, to name but a few.
Beyond the daytime schedule, there are exciting foodie activities galore. Monday night’s crayfish party and seafood feast at Kajskjul 8 restaurant in Gothenburg harbour is not to be missed. The menu will include some of Sweden’s finest seafood such as prawns, langoustines, crab claws and freshwater crayfish accompanied with Kajskjul 8’s famous aioli, mustard sauce, yoghurt sauce and much more.
Visit www.worldfoodtravelsummit.com for more information and to book tickets.
For seafood lovers, Gothenburg is the place to be in September for the beginning of the lobster season. Due to the city’s proximity to the cold, clean, salty North Sea, the seafood available is some of the best in the world - in fact there’s even a fish church!
Feskekôrka, which literally means ‘fish church’ in Swedish, is an indoor fish and seafood market offering a huge variety of freshly caught delicacies including oysters, crayfish, shrimp, lobsters and much more.
As well as shopping for fish in Feskekôrka, there’s the opportunity to eat it – as one of Gothenburg’s top restaurants is located within the building. Restaurant Gabriel has its kitchen in the centre of the room, so you can watch your dishes being lovingly prepared, and the well-stocked seafood buffet makes for a fantastic photo opportunity. You can expect to find everything from fried herring to Swedish lobster on the menu.
The archipelago is just 15 minutes from city centre and is one of the most picturesque coastal locations in Sweden. The Långedrag Värdshus seafood restaurant has a huge outdoor seating area with a great view of the archipelago and the entrance to the Gothenburg harbour. It’s a perfect place to watch the world go by and the boats coming and going. Naturally, the menu has a good seafood offering including seared cod, halibut fillet in white wine sauce and shrimp. Smaklig måltid!
Apple cake ”Skåne style” with vanilla ice cream - photo by Jakob Fridholm/imagebank.sweden.se
With the trend for Swedish food really gathering pace over the past couple of years, we didn’t think it would be too long before the first Swedish cookery show appeared on UK television and we’ve just been proved right! We were delighted to see that The Good Food Channel had snapped up one of our favourite chefs, Tareq Taylor, to launch a new programme, Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery, last week!
Skåne born and bred, Tareq is already a star in Sweden. He is passionate about local Swedish ingredients and this comes across really well in the new eight-part show, which is a great introduction to Scandinavian food culture, as well as the natural beauty of Scandinavia itself.
We were glued to the first episode, where Tareq took viewers on a trip to the attractive university town of Lund in Skåne, southern Sweden. This area is known as the bread basket of Sweden, thanks to its rich farmland and produce, and the programme not only showed off the delicious Swedish game and vegetables to be found there but also the stunning landscapes and architecture.
If you want to recreate some of Tareq’s delicious Swedish recipes or find out more about Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery, check out the Good Food Channel website.
Rodrigo Rivas Ruiz/imagebank.sweden.se
Way Out West festival is a trendy alternative to the mud-filled offerings of Britain’s festivals. With three stages across the site, there is always a well-known or upcoming band to listen to. The line-up so far this year ranges from local Swedish talent to big name acts, including Alicia Keys, Bat for Lashes and Azealia Banks, with new bands being announced all the time.
As well as music, festival-goers can expect film, visual art, and new for this year, a series of Way Out West Talks, which will include interviews and talks from eclectic and inspiring personalities across a variety of industries. Want to find out why one unconventional Swedish advertising agency burned SEK 100,000 (over £10,000) in public? Want to hear from censored musicians? This is the stage to head to.
Way Out West is held in the light, green space of Slottsskogen park in the heart of Gothenburg, a prime location to spend time exploring the delights of this laid back and low key city, and seek out a vintage find or two.
Three day camping tickets cost 1,895 SEK (£190) and there are still return flights available from just £165 per person. There has been no better time to don wellies and denim shorts and head to Gothenburg.
With its long sandy beaches and mild climate, it is no wonder that Skåne is the place to be seen in the summer months. The water is beautifully clear and long bathing piers are commonplace along the coastline, which makes it the perfect place to go swimming in Sweden. Indeed, the fishing village of Mölle, just north of Helsingborg, even became famous for its baths in the late 19th century as it was the first place in Sweden that allowed mixed bathing, earning it the nickname ‘den of vice’!
These are our top tips of the best places to swim in Skåne:
Built in 1898, this beautiful old bathing house sits on the edge of the city of Malmö. Offering open air baths and five different saunas, it’s a really popular place for the locals to cool down. The bathing house now also houses a cool, laid-back café with delicious Scandi seafood!
With six miles of fine, white, sandy Swedish beaches and shallow water, the Falsterbo peninsula in the south west of Skåne is a dream for bathers. Think huge dunes and shady pines, with a great bathing jetty. Jet skis and motorboats are banned, which make it an oasis of peace for swimming on a summer’s day.
Located at the far end of Bjäreholven peninsula, these seaweed baths date from 1876 and are a top Swedish beauty tip! Although it might sound a bit odd, seaweed is excellent for the skin – it moisturises, nourishes and revitalises it. The baths now also offer modern spa treatments.
This 60 metre long wooden pier opens up into a 250 square foot recreation room. From there, you can either jump in the cold sea or, if the weather takes a turn for the worse, soak up the warmth in the Japanese outdoor pool which is a constant 38°C. Toasty!