There are many good reasons for exploring Scandinavia and the food is definitely one of them. With so much forest and uncultivated land, wild berries and woodland mushrooms are plentiful, and you’re likely to see bilberries and cloudberries on every summer walk. Many restaurants source ingredients through foraging and their menus give you a good idea of what’s available locally at that time of year; near the coast you can expect an abundance of seafood, while in the mountains you’re likely to be eating reindeer and Arctic char. The tendency to use local, traditional and seasonal produce but prepare it in new ways typifies New Nordic cuisine. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, follow local expert Ben Love’s lead and book in for one of the following wild food experiences across the region.
A traditional Swedish family farm that has been organic for two generations, there’s a restaurant serving home-cooked meals prepared from the farm’s own produce (get there early on weekday mornings in summer for the ‘bondfrukost’, a traditional farmer’s breakfast that includes freshly baked bread, cheeses, preserves and porridge), or you can sign up for a baking course. It’s around three and a half hours’ drive northwest of Stockholm; if you want to stay overnight, you can rent a cabin in the farm’s summer pasture – you’ll need to walk, but will be given a more-than-sustaining picnic to help you on your way. The farm is beside the Västerdalälven; wake up with a morning swim in the river. walstedtsgard.se
A traditional Norwegian dairy farm that’s also home to a timber-built café and restaurant (and several accommodation options) this is the place if you want to enjoy rustic local food, such as farm cheeses and home-made waffles in an idyllic mountain setting. brimi-seter.no
Widely rated as one of the world’s best – and most isolated – restaurants, Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken is housed in an 18th-century barn on a large hunting estate around half way up Sweden, near the Norwegian border. It can only seat 24 each night and opens seasonally but guests can stay in basic rooms on site. The food makes the most of farmed, hunted or foraged local produce in dishes such as wild trout roe in dried pig’s blood crust, and diced raw moose heart with moose marrow, grey pea flowers, toasts and herb salt. favikenmagasinet.se
In a quiet location, on Bornholm island’s west coast, this elegant Danish restaurant serves dishes rich with local ingredients, from foraged herbs and berries to fish prepared using traditional techniques of smoking and pickling. The owners also run a summer bistro on Bornholm and both a version of Kadeau and Pony in Copenhagen. kadeau.dk
A unique camp, far from any road and surrounded by granite outcrops and birch forest, this is a cluster of 10 stylish yurts, a sauna, a shower and a larger yurt for meals. Pricing is all-inclusive and experiences are tailor-made for guests. It’s set on the edge of a lake and in an area full of biking and walking trails, but the food is integral to a stay here; the camp chef makes post-adventure feasts that range from fresh lobster to moose steak, all on a table-top raclette grill. canvashotel.no
Wild Guide Scandinavia, by Ben Love, is published by Wild Things Publishing (16.99)
Written by Ben Love
First published April 2016
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