Photographing Scandi design …
. . . Hörte Brygga's indoor kitchen is integrated into the dining spaces, the grilling shed with its up-cycled-rubbish-bin-smoker runs out to the terrace bar, which takes you on down to the sea, or back into the kitchen where the chefs and staff work amidst the guests, stopping every so often to change the record on the turntable. The menu is small and ever-changing, inspired by the best of whatever Martin can get from his producers, or pull from his generous store of pickled goods . . .
. . . Bookings can be made from March through to December for intimate suppers, tasting menu feasts and special evenings with guest chefs, but the rest of the time Hörte Brygga operates on an 'open to all' basis. By abandoning lunch reservations, encouraging people of all ages and from all walks of life to drop by for coffee, drinks, food, or a browse through the shelves of the farm shop in the newly-converted boat-house, Emma and Martin’s singular vision of a community-focused, produce-led, friendly place to eat has been more than just realised; it’s a triumph . . .
. . . Arriving at Villa Strandvägen is like stepping into a deliciously relaxed home from home. Designed in 1899 by acclaimed Danish-born architect Peter Boisen, this unassuming wood-panelled country home sits in a quiet corner of southern Sweden’s most southerly tip, amidst lush gardens and surrounding woodland . . .
With its seven cosy bedrooms, black and white photos from the owners’ personal collections lining the walls, and intimate drawing room-cum-kitchen-cum-dining room bedecked in New England-inspired florals and stripes, Villa Strandvägen delivers Swedish costal luxury with oodles of homely pleasure and a generous dash of romanticism . . .
. . . Nature-lover and hiking-enthusiast Helena is a modern farmer, conscious of her duty to handle the land and its offerings with a light touch, but also of her responsibility to keep her grandparents’ legacy alive. In addition to her core role as farmer and producer, she runs a bed and breakfast and local tours for visitors, sells meat and skins from her flock, and performs sheep-whispering on her apple-obsessed beasts . . .
. . . She is also savvy, for Källagården, together with some 90 other growers from relatively small farms in Skåne and its surrounding counties, is a member of the Äppelriket collective: an outfit that stores, sells and markets its members’ fruit as a single enterprise. By clubbing together, saving on storage space, packing costs, and labour, Äppelriket gives its members the power in numbers required to compete with bigger, more commercial farms on price and production, and the strength to protect themselves from grocers’ price wars. All in all, very simple, very effective, very fair, and very Swedish . . .
. . . The family-run Spirit of Hven distillery produces organic pot-distilled vodka, gin, rum, eau de vie and schnapps, much of it made from grain grown on the Island of Ven, but it is their single malt island whisky that they’re best-known for. Whisky enthusiasts can come here to stay in the 4* hotel, take a tour around the world-class distillery, or just to while away an evening in the Backafallsbyn bar with its some 500 different whiskies from the best distilleries around the world . . .
. . . Here at Spirit of Hven they’re practicing the art of precision spirit production. Mashing, fermenting, distilling, oak-cask ageing and bottling all takes place under one roof. The contents of bright copper stills bubble away in the distilling chamber, barrels are racked in neat rows in the adjoining cask room to age – some hooked-up to speakers for a dose of radio-wave maturation experimentation. Next door, bottle necks are hand-dipped in simmering wax to give them their distinctive seal, whilst upstairs in the laboratory, test-tubes spin and sampling machines blink continuously. This is the seriously scientific craft of spirit-making, and distillers from all over the world send samples to Hven’s laboratory to undergo their rigorous analysis process . . .
. . . Next stop, Malmö Saluhall: a bustling market hall that’s home to grocers, butchers, florists, fish-mongers, ice-cream parlours and food stalls in a formerly dilapidated 19th-century freight depot. At Papi’s open kitchen and bar we sampled spicy Fegatelli and damp cellar-hung mortadella procured from ham rock-star Massimo Spigaroli’s farm, soft strips of lardo and home-cured prosciutto, accompanied by hunks of chewy bread and a glass of very good red wine. Saluhall is busy but not overcrowded: it’s rather like our beloved Borough Market in miniature and without the hoards of tourists, and we could have stayed here all day, chatting wine and food with the guys over the bar and pottering around the stores. But next on the agenda was a not-to-be-missed date with the nation’s top pastry chef, so off we went to the old Rosengård district for our first ice-cream of the year with Joel Lindqvist . . .
. . . We stepped off a busy main throughway into the serene Mat- & Chokladstudion world of grey-limed walls, birch shelves bearing assorted glass jars and beautiful books, with a vast oak tasting table at its centre. But this is no colourless land: this is Willy Wonka chocolatiering Skandi-style . . .
. . . There is no menu or wine list at Bloom in the Park. The menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients and changes each day according to what chef Titti Qvarnström can procure from her band of trusted producers, and from her own garden.
In the small patch of land around her home in one of Malmo’s sleepy suburbs, Titti has created a kitchen garden of dreams. With basket and scissors in-hand, we trail Titti around the garden as she gathers hyssop, goosefoot, wild strawberries, rose petals, elderflower and more, stopping here and there to smell or taste from our harvest, chattering all the way. One last stop to poach a few sprigs of mockorange over a neighbour’s wall and then we are on our way back to the city for lunch in a 60s shopping centre (us) and prep (Titti) . . .
. . . We left Bloom to wander back to our hotel, stopping for a nightcap in the buzzing Möllevången district. The Bloom card with its QR code to look up the menu and wine list for the evening sat on the table between us, but our phones stayed in our pockets and the menu remained unknown. For us, the magic of this particular meal could not be confined to a list of ingredients or a description of plating. Our evening at Bloom would remain the icing atop a perfect day, flavoured by the people we’d met, scented by our afternoon in our chef’s garden: its tastes, smells and textures committed firmly to memory . . .
It’s curious that I’d never been curious about Sweden before. My Scottish father was seconded to Stockholm in the 1960s as part of his medical training and, as a result, my Cotswolds childhood was peppered with Swedish notes: breakfasts of knäckebrot and Kalles kaviar branded smörgåskaviar (crispbread and caviar paste), evening feasts of my Australian mother’s take on svenska fisksoppa (fish soup) and afternoon snacks of Annas Pepparkakor (ginger thins). Aside from the odd delirium-inducing trip to IKEA, a passion for Wallander and late night cook-ups with friends making vats of that same fish soup, Sweden had somehow fallen off my radar . . .
I’m often asked if I visited Sweden just to go to Fäviken. And it’s a fair question, for Fäviken Magasinet is a unique, intimate restaurant in Järpen, about 700 kilometres north of Stockholm, happily sitting in the middle of nowhere. Led by young chef Magnus Nilsson, with his commitment to real food (read: local, seasonal and foraged ingredients), it is justly counted as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. But the trip to Fäviken is not an easy one, requiring a flight, drive and hotel check in. Only then, being mindful of time, do you set out for the restaurant, located in a converted grain store within a 24,000-acre hunting estate.
Upon entering the restaurant I am greeted by what appears to be almost every member of the Fäviken team, including the head chef. Feeling immediately welcome I manage to chat with Nilsson without looking too much like the chef-groupie I am. I think. The room is as rustic as the location is remote, featuring simple wooden tables and chairs, a hanging full length wolf fur coat (Nilsson’s winter foraging wear) and small vases of local greenery, all bathed in the soft flickering light of candles and spotlights. Very cosy indeed.
To the clapping of hands (the signal that announces each dish and also how Swedish children know to stop talking, the first appetiser arrives - linseed and vinegar crisps with mussel dip. The crisps are as fine and delicate as you can imagine, a thin layer of linseeds suspended in an invisible crisp cracker, and the creamy dip complements it perfectly. Tick.
24 more ‘courses’ follow; a journey through amazing produce and interesting ideas. The huge scallop from Norway cooked over burning juniper branches is a highlight - soft, succulent, pearly meat served on the shell in its own cooking juice. Similarly memorable is the porridge of grains and seeds finished with a big lump of salty butter, fermented carrot and wild leaves, beef broth filtered through moss’. With a complex texture and flavour it is truly divine. The bowl is definitely too small and we want more. Tick, tick.
The brown cheese pie is possibly my favourite dessert (but it is hard to decide) - dark, caramely, smooth custard, complete with a spooned in smiley face, sitting on top of sweet, cake-like pastry. The sweets continue with some strange creations (like sugar-coated, pickled, semi-dried root vegetables) but it is the tiny, teaspoon-sized ‘bon-bon’ of pure rasberry ice that I find perfectly simple and fabulous. Only my husband is brave enough to stick a bit of snus (like snuff) in his mouth to finish the meal. cowards, the rest of us!
So back to that first question. I always wanted to visit Sweden, the Fäviken reservation just confirmed that this was the time to do so.Thus the answer is, sort of. Fäviken is a magical dining experience, a must-do if you’re going to be almost nearby.
Words by Lisa Goldberg - Taken from issue 5, the Sweden magazine.
This week we paid a visit to Monocle HQ in London to be interviewed by the team at Monocle Radio for their magazine show The Stack. As they say, the programme is 'essential listening for anyone who cares about what they read – and how they read it. The Stack is Monocle’s take on the world of print, focusing on everything from the glossiest fashion title to the grittiest newspaper'. You can listen to the interview below.
From the cool and crisp landscapes of Sweden to the dark cinemas of Asia, evoking a sense of place on the page is a delicate art. We talk to the editors of two magazines doing just that: Liz Schaffer from travel title ‘Lodestars Anthology’ and Davide Cazzaro, the man behind ‘Nang’ magazine.
When putting together our Sweden magazine we were sent a wonderful collection of photographs from artists working across the world. However, with only 156 pages to fill, we couldn't find a home for every shot. So, we have decided to share some of the photographs we loved here - and we're sure they'll bing on a spot of Nordic wanderlust. To purchase the Sweden magazine, click here.
Photographs by Tom Bland, Tom Bunning, Tobias Hägg,Thomas Harrison, Louise Nordström Pettersson & Diana Pappas.
This week we launched issue 5, the Sweden issue, at the Swedish Ambassador's Residence in London. So, it seems like the right time to share a sneak peak of some of our Scandinavian content and say a mighty big thank you to the fab team at Visit Sweden, the Embassy of Sweden and of course Ambassador Nicola Clase. If we've learnt anything it's that few people are as generous and hospitable as the Swedes (and that they have a rather glorious country too).
The Magazine ...
Rich in coastal hideaways, ancient archipelagos and islands rising from the sea, Sweden has a fondness for the sublime. With remote restaurants challenging palates and expectations, hotels carved from ice and pathways draping her frontiers, this is a country of extremes. But its cosmopolitan icons, and cities famed for their food, flair and design, also set hearts aflutter. Seasonal splendour allows creatives to delight in the daring and while there is a sense of wildness, the landscape shaped by glaciers and blanketed in forest, solitude is easy to find. Visit this northern wonderland and you’ll soon discover that Swedish escapes are good for the soul.
You can order the magazine online here.
Some featured destinations (and people) ...
We had a chat with our issue 5 cover photographer Louise Nordström Pettersson about Sweden, light and the joys of spying the first buds of spring. You can see more of Louise's work on her Instagram page.
Why do you love taking photographs and when did you start?
I’ve always been creative and I loved to paint and draw when I was younger. But at the age of 14 I got my first camera and fell in love with photography. Photography means ”draw with light” in greek so I guess I let my eyes and camera draw for me instead of my hand and pencils. I just love to capture everything I find beautiful and show everyone what an amazing world we’re living in!
What do you enjoy taking photographs of in particular?
Nature. I grew up with the sea and forest just minutes away from my home and I think the nature is so amazing and beautiful. Especially sunrises, there is nothing as peaceful as being out in the forest an early summer morning, catching the first sunbeams through the trees with the camera in my hand.
Where are you from in Sweden?
I’m from a small village in Båstad county in the southern part of Sweden.
The subject of your photo essay in the new magazine is Swedish light - what makes the light in Sweden so special?
I think it’s special because the light is so different from season to season. It’s most extreme in the northern parts of Sweden where the sun never sets during summer and never rises during winter. And when the sun never rises we have the Northern Lights or aurora borealis which light up the skies instead. I love the variations and differences between the light of all seasons.
Do you have a favourite season?
I think summer is my favourite season, because it has the most beautiful sunrises and everything in nature is blooming. Everything feel so alive. Although, every spring, autumn and winter I think to myself ”this is my favourite season!” haha... Every season has its charm.
Do you have a favourite part of Sweden?
I fell completely in love with Björkliden in northern Sweden when I went there for the first time 7 years ago. The mountains, tundra and views are stunning and took my breath away. It’s just as beautiful in the summer as in the winter. But I will always love the peninsula, Bjärehalvön, in southern Sweden where I live and grew up. There is something special about this place and it’s where I shoot most of my photographs.
You've photographed quite a few flowers, what is it about them that you like so much?
I’ve always liked flowers, they are beautiful and they come in so many different shapes and colours. And when the first flowers bloom in the spring, you know it’s really spring. And when the meadows are full of all sorts of flowers, you know it’s summer. Flowers just bring so much happiness to me.
With our Sweden issue happily printing away we felt it was time to share some of the photographs gathered during our Nordic adventure. Here are the images of Londoner Tom Bunning who travelled to the serene Stockholm archipelago at the very start of Autumn. Won over by the golden hues and pervading sense of calm he captured a region adored by natives in the Summer during one of its quieter moments. Cue a sense of wanderlust. To order a copy of our Sweden magazine, due out in early June, click here. You can purchase Tom's prints here.
"Wild horses couldn't drag me away from a summer on the Stockholm archipelago." Bjorn Ulvaeus
To get us into the Swedish mood we thought it would be a grand idea to share these images of Skåne. Found at the very tip of Sweden (and made all the more famous by The Bridge - the team may be a little hooked on Nordic Noir right now), this region is the birthplace of the Swedish foodie revolution and boasts some of the most astounding landscapes around; farmland, forests and seascapes sure to lift the soul. This is a place where artistic traditions fuse with modern sensibilities, elegance is second nature and return trips are inevitable.