Foody Summer vibes in the far south of Sweden last week. The Swedish province of Skåne starts on the other side of the famous Öresund bridge – as in The Bridge, hello Saga – from Danmark and is just a 20 minute train ride from Copenhagen Airport to Malmö. Easy does it.
We’re on a 3 day culinary press trip to the country where organic and fair trade seems to be the norm and people lead a laid-back way of life. First stop is 24H in Malmö.
More is more in Malmö
The More Hotel is a studio apartment hotel in the Möllevången neighbourhood. A former chocolate factory (Mazetti) from 1888 transformed into a 68 studio apartment hotel with spacious rooms – kitchenette included – with an Ikea-ish interior. Bikes included. But first lunch!
Inspired by the shape and form of the diningroom, the More Bistro is called Cirkus. The decoration doesn’t match the food, which was fantastic. As they justed changed ownership I expect that the interior design will change to the taste and style of the new owner.
Wellknown Malmö chef Anders Vendel, who quit the restaurant rat race in Stockholm and downsized from seven to one restaurant, is the new chef. It was his first (!) day when we enjoyed our lunch.
“To cook makes me happy, not to manage. I want to change to a slower life and return to the kitchen.”__ Anders Vendel – chef
With him comes a new concept without limitations. Traditional swedish cooking with asian flavours it will be but also his vegan dishes are so impressive that even meatlovers seem to opt for these specialties.
My rice noodle tofu soup with fresh grilled broccoli, shitakes, broad beans and coriander was more than delicious. A kind of flirt with vegan and raw food. Anders cooks with the season and with local – where possible, organic – produce. The greens of the season are leading, he adjust the rest of the menu to that. So apples only when they fall of the tree, which is starting around now.
Making pralines at Cacaofoni, Malmo
After lunch we took the bikes – just like Amsterdam, everybody is on bikes – and headed for Cacaofoni, a small chocolates hop owned by Ann Thydell. She switched careers some ten 10 yrs ago from chemist to dedicated chocolate maker together with her daugher Elisabeth Cewers. They opened this nice little cornershop in the Carolikvarteren neighbourhood of Malmö where all revolves around organic and fair trade chocolate. Make, sell and serve with coffee or thee.
The chocolate is imported from Switzerland, from a company who directly buys the beans from an organic farm in the Dom. Republic.
Ann is specialized in making the filling first, solidify it and only then dip in the warm (32 ºC) chocolate emulsion iso moulding and connecting two halves.
Before we knew it, we had our aprons on and were flipping white chocolate mint fillings into warm chocolate. This is nice! Not for the impatient ones though, dedication and precision are qualities needed for the job. After dipping and flipping comes decoration. I opted for pistachio nuts and black salt and to be honest, I felt quite proud of my bunch.
Once a month on saturday from 10.00-16.00 (check and book in advance) there’s a praline making workshop and chocolate tasting. The good part is, you don’t have to spit it out.
5 course veggie dinner in Far i Hatten
I quickly learned that the people in Malmö are very aware of the benefits for all of organic food. It is the standard and regarded strange if fresh products aren’t organically grown. I really, really like this and hope we will follow soon with this way of approaching food.
In the middle of Malmö you’ll find restaurant Far i Hatten – literally means father in the hat = tipsy, avery cosy, living room style restaurant located in the Folkets Park with a large outdoor terrace. Folkerts Park is a park where people meet since 1891. In Summer the outside part of the restaurant has a weekly pop-quiz if you want to test your musical knowledge.
A culinary playroom where the chef cooks with love from local produce. The closer the ingredients grow, the happier Ulf Redelius is. He likes to know the farmers and is addicted to fermenting and proudly showed shelf after shelf with delicious vegetables, ready for colder times.
The mammoth beetroot we had in our second course travelled the longest way, as far as 150km from Malmö. All other – mostly organic, what else? We’re in Sweden – ingredients come from local farms and some even as close as from the rooftop like the honey used in the dessert.
The flavours in our 5 course veggie menu – including a wine tasting menu, which I skipped – were very well-balanced and complementary to each other. Sweet, sour, salt and bitter.
Roasted, fermented, poached, grilled or marinated, it never ceases to amaze me what one could do with vegetables.
The burnroasted red cabbage tasted like crispy bacon and I was tempted to order another portion of the artichoke and honey ice cream with grilled pear and sunflower leafs. Don’t worry, I behaved myself.
Food tour by foot in Mollån, Malmö
Hipster food area alert. The neighbourhood of Mollån was a working-class neighbourhood until the 80’s. With both the harbour and chocolate factory close by, this area provided a lot of work during the 20th century. When both harbour labour demands changed and the factory closed, young creatives took over and stayed ever since. The process of gentrification is seen everywhere, though in Malmö they succeeded to keep the multi-culti mix of workers, different nationalities and creatives in balance. They are proud to have already 4 Syrian restaurants newly opened this year in the area.
Easy to walk around and like everybody else, start your walk with a cup at Kaffebaren, Claesgatan 2A. Here everyone meets before work, stall workers from the market opposite – Möllevångstorget local produce daily market – the bar and managers before the office rush starts.
Around the corner do walk in at cheese-deli store Möllans Ost. For 25 years they sell the largest cheese assorti of sweden. Mostly local cheeses and although it was quite early for some cheese tasting, I found another cheese favourite. Brown goat cheese, with the name getmese, which gets its colour from caramelisation, a fudgy texture with a hint of liquorice. Or you like it, or you don’t. It also happens to be one of the favourites of *chef Magnus Nilsson from Fäviken Restaurant in north Sweden. So.
Finish your foodie-morning-walk with a delicious vegan ice-cream made by Peter Svanberg, another international executive who swapped his laptop for an icemaking machine. Finding pure, vegan ingredients – in stead of early morning budget meetings – for his recently opened icecream parlor, Köld is his new core business. I like!
The Malmö identity is about going back to mother earth with a modern twist. About incorporating global influences with original methods. The new Nordic Cuisine is self-evident. Why import when you can eat local produce where it grows?
Awareness for health and sustainability is a natural way of life. Part two of my Skåne trip will takes us along the wide, countryside fields of Skåne. Up next!