A few weeks ago now, Visit Sweden invited me on a culinary adventure to explore the food over there. It was my first time in Sweden and I am completely floored by the amount of great food this country has to offer. And I barely scratched the surface! Here are some of the highlights and talented people making a mark on West Sweden’s food scene right now.
Meeting Jonas Pettersson and learning about foraged seaweed was possibly the biggest highlight of all! Jonas and his wife started Catxalot back in 2014. They forage and supply local chefs, alongside running similar excursions with anyone who’s keen to learn more. Jonas was so incredibly enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge, would highly recommend booking onto one of the courses should you find yourself in the region.
pictured: Elly Pear and Anna Jones braving the sea. I decided to stay warm and dry on the side!
I have an interest in all things foraging but what I didn’t know, is that none of the seaweed is poisonous. At worst, something will taste bad. You can even eat it straight out of the sea. I was really quite surprised by the different tastes of each variety, not one of them tasting like an accidental seawater gulp, as you might expect. Once it has been air dried, seaweed has a huge range of uses from flavour in bread making, using in stocks and adding that umami hit to dishes. Even face creams! Obviously, I don’t recommend you eat those.
Sustainability is a huge incentive for seaweed foraging too. It keeps on growing back and can even be farmed like mussels.
pictured: sweet seaweed energy balls and seaweed tea
When we arrived here in Grebbestad, our host at Everts Sjöbod was already pulling the oysters straight out of the water! It doesn’t get much fresher than that, does it? 90% of Sweden’s actually come from this area so what an experience to try them first hand. We later enjoyed a feast of langoustines, crayfish, prawns and shrimp. There is nothing else quite like the seafood of West Sweden!
Sofia B. Olsson at Restaurant vRÅ
Back in the centre of Gothenburg, I met head chef Sofia B. Olsson at restaurant vRÅ, where Swedish ingredients are used in a Japanese way. On the rooftop of the Clarion Post Hotel (where the restaurant can be found), there’s an urban garden growing all manners of fruit and vegetables. We learned of Sofia’s approach to sourcing local ingredients, the importance of seasonality in food and how more and more restaurants are becoming attuned to the complex issues of sustainability. It was a joy to meet Sofia and as soon as I am back in Gothenburg, her restaurant will be the first place I return to!
…more seafood feasting at the recently opened Isabelle. The oyster paired with apple and herbs was one to remember!
You can’t visit Gothenburg without a trip to the indoor fish market. Otherwise known as the fish church, I thought this might be a converted church but it gets its name from the Neo-Gothic artictectural resemblance. I always love visiting food markets in other countries. Upstairs there is a neat little restaurant called Gabriel. Enjoy fresh seafood (obviously) and Valencian beers made with 10% sea water.
More food places of interest in Gothenburg:
Da Matteo – for coffee/cinnamon buns/Fika fix
Kafe Magasinet – visit not just for the great coffee but the plant-filled interiors
Jinx Food Truck – baos and tacos, perfect for a quick lunch
Wine Mechanics – urban winery serving up small plates of food
Råda Gelato – gelato made from organic ingredients and vegan sorbets
Brewers Beer Bar – local craft beers
Bhoga – seasonal tasting menu and natural wines
HUGE thank you to Visit Sweden and West Sweden for inviting me on this trip! As always all words, thoughts and opinions are of course my own. Head to either of their sites if you are looking for a place to start in planning your trip.