In the second part of our culinary trip through the South of Sweden we swap Mälmo citylife for the countryside of Skåne. This is the most Southern part, therefore the part with all the sunshine. Blame it on the latter that everything blooms here first and only then it’s the rest of Sweden’s turn.
Skåne as organic trendsetter and ‘greenhouse’ of Sweden provides fresh organic produce for the rest of country.
What to do and where to go?
Lunch by the sea at Hörte Brygga
A short drive – 45 min – from Mälmo down to the South coast leads to a unique, small restaurant – with terrace – at a tiny harbour overlooking the sea. Hörte Brygga is owned by Martin Sjöstrand (walking around with baby Ilsa on his hip) and Emma Andersson who run the place since 2014. The restaurant used to house fishing equipment during winter times of this old eel harbour.
The couple both have a been working for ages in the restaurant business, they know a thing or two about food, drink and last but certainly not least: hospitality. It is striking that, as I shared in Sweden part one about some Mälmo entrepeneurs, also Martin and Emma quit the rat race, stripped down to the basics and have found the perfect balance between work and play (with the kids). Being close to farms and producers is a must, the majority of their suppliers is located only a few miles away.
This restaurant serves the best of Skåne soil with local produce, either fresh, preserved, pickled, smoked, brewed or fermented. Stand in line, choose your favourites and leave the counter with a deli tray. To enjoy outside on the terrace or inside at the community table. Smoked mackerel with black pepper coriander and cod with dill smoked in sea salt, in my case. With the best soya mayo ever. Back to basics in South Sweden. Go!
Swedish wine? Yep, enter Hällåkra vineyard
Ok, I admit. The idea of Swedish wine never occurred to me. Imagine my surprised face when overlooking a rolling landscape (Italy?) between the flat southern plains. To see slopes filled with grapevines.
Hällåkra Vineyard, owned by the Hansson family for five generations, encompasses approx. 6,5 hectares of fertile, sandy land and has about 20,000 vines. Skåne’s mild climate and long growing season contribute to the success from grape to glass.
The Hansons very carefully allowed their vineyards to develop since 2003 according to favourable weather conditions created by nature. This has given their renowned – organic – wines their characteristic Scandinavian traits. Reflected in the wines’ colour, aroma and flavour.
The naturally created conditions in this part of Sweden provide the base, the dedication and efforts of the family to develop honest and authentic wines do the rest. Pure fruit and marked acidity are distinct characteristics provided by nature’s kitchen. Let’s start some tasting.
Countryside hotel, Karlaby Kro in Osterlen
Former farm stables turned into a cosy countryside hotel in 1990. Karlaby Kro (kro means inn) is a popular base for those seeking a bit of luxury at the end of a day outdoors. After turning into a dirt road, amid rape fields and farmland, lies a whitewashed Skåne farm.
Like everywhere else we’ve been these days, organic local produce prevails and food shopping for the restaurant is mainly done at farmers in the neighbourhood. Seasonal cooking is king.
The decoration is a mixture of different styles, which do not always strengthen each other. As if the hotel is in transition from ’80’s style into more modern country house hotel style. The atmosphere is very informal, there’s a spa and an indoor pool, bikes for rent and clogs in every room.
Karlaby Kro is a great starting point from which to explore Skåne easily by car, the coast is just 7 kms away.
From manager to chocolatemaker at Österlen choklad
Let’s talk chocolate. From beans to bar in an old school building in the picturesque village of Skåne-Tranås. It will come as no surprise that the owners, Ulrike and Frederik, made a career change from marketeers to the – award-winning – praline business…
They looked at the chocolate making process with new eyes without knowledge or restrictions. Sourcing cacao beans directly from selected – fairtrade, eko – plantations around the world to make flavoured and origin chocolate bars first and only then the pralines. Resulting in challenging combinations with use of local organic produce of Österlen, like rosemary, lavender or raspberry. Testing new flavours and thinking outside the chocolate box is what they do best. Will beetroot work? And bacon and caramel?
The organic, local ingredients make the pralines incredibly delicious, my favourite is the goat cheese with honey. Or is it the lavender one?
Do attend one of the Österlen Choklad open chocolate tastings throughout the year, to learn more about chocolate and chocolate making. Make a reservation by email.
Travelling around and discovering new countries proved a recipe for happiness for me and now another great ingredient was added to the mix. Three days was too short, I have to come back for a road trip. Bring the golf clubs – saw some stunning courses in the cornier of my eye – and mr. B.
Skåne is the Toscane of Sweden, don’t leave your taste buds at home!
part one: 24H in Mälmo
I was visiting the South of Sweden by invitation of Visit Skåne and did not pay for my stay. Words, photos and opinions are my own.