53% of Sweden is covered in dark dense woodland, needless to say the Swedish national soul is very connected to the forest.
When I I’m back in my home country I mostly hang out in the city.
Stockholm’s were my friends and family live but the pull of the magic woods is always present.
I found it very healing to take a hike in the rough and ready forest (it’s not as manicured and kept as the woods you find in the UK).
I also love the fact that you now can buy yourself a pice of wood-essence (in the form of bark bread) and eat it!
Forest on a plate.
The old way of using the inner bark of the pine tree as flour dates back to the vikings and nowadays this has become a bit of a delicacy. In the olden days there was a saying in Sweden “so poor they have to eat bark bread” now you need a bulging purse to buy the stuff, it’s incredibly expensive to produce.
The bark is harvested in early spring when it’s easy to remove and has a very high levels of nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and flavonoids.
Bark bread is not super easy to get hold of, but I managed to bag a packet of hard bread which miraculously survived baggage handling at Heathrow.
More from the nordic woods tomorrow
Coming back from Sweden this Christmas my suitcase was filled with delicious, healthy treats. (There was more room than normal since I didn’t buy anything at Acne this time).
Among other things, I brought with me Cold-Smoked Reindeer Steak. Yum!
There’s was a big hoo haa just before Christmas when Harvey Nichols sold Reindeer Pate’. Animal activists were up in arms and demanded Harvey Nichols pulled the product.
I became a vegetarian when I was a teenager, it lasted about 8 years.
The main reason was the way animals were treated.
I belive the energy/essence of the animal transfers to our plate and we need to do our very best to make sure that they have had an ok life. For me that is just common sense.
Reindeers have had the sort of life other animals ending up in the butchers can only dream of!
The Reindeer’s are semi-domesticated, they are looked after by our indigenous nomadic Sami-people in the very north of Sweden, as they have for thousands of years.
They run free for most of the year and are only round-up when it’s time for marking and slaughter. I’m more than happy to eat this low-fat nutritious food as a special treat, in the knowledge that their life was short but happy. Running free, breathing the fresh arctic air until the end.
This is how we eat it in Sweden:
Cut the smoked reindeer meat thinly and spread a thin layer of horseradish cream over it. (Mix 250g whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of finely grated horseradish and a pinch of salt)
I’m really excited to have found these swedish jams in my local health food shop.
I’m especially excited about the Cloudberry jam. Cloudberries are known as The Yellow Gold or Arctic Gold in Sweden with good reasons, they are incredibly rare and extremely hard to find. This rebellious berry won’t be controlled, it can’t really be cultivated, the soil and temperature has to be just right. I love the fact that they are tough as nails, they can withstand -40° but if something is a bit skewed in its environment it won’t play ball. If the conditions are right on the other hand this magical berry, ripened under the midnight sun, gives you an extraordinary health gift: Pure Sun Energy, Amazing Amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Ellagic Acid which might fight cancer and wrinkles. A yellow happiness berry that tastes like nothing else. ♥L
We stayed at Nobis Hotel in Stockholm this summer, a contemporary hotel slap bang right on Norrmalmstorg. You don’t get more central than that, walking distance to absolutely everywhere, so no need for practical shoes!
Also next door to Acne..
Rooms are small but practical. Staff are really friendly and VERY good at getting tables for 11 people at a “completely full” restaurant.
An iron and ironingboard was swiftly delivered to our room on request, and the dress I had altered and delivered was hanging in our wardrobe when we arrived, top marks!
And another 10 points for free WiFi! Hopefully more hotels will follow suit.
Another highlight was the cocktails in the early evening sunshine, especially the left one in the picture above. The “Victoria” (named after the crown princess) came full of crushed cloud berries so almost a health drink!
Stockholm has not been on the forefront of cocktail making, you would be hard-pressed to even get a rubbish Cosmo, but the mixologists at Nobis have upped the ante, big time!
Here is a video of our small but perfectly formed room.
Stockholm is truly spectacular in summer.
Where else can you catch a boat in the middle of the city and after 20 minutes find yourself on a magical island in the archipelago.
After some exploring you can chill out in this excellent restaurant. Lunch or dinner here is highly recommended
I had A LOT of shrimp salads this week, the best one at Zink Grill a super nice, laid back, trendy french style restaurant 2 min walk from our hotel.
Don’t let the decor fool you, it looks way to much like a Cafe Rouge chock horror, but the food is beyond nice and clientele is very amusing.
We also indulged in Prinsess Tårta, the best cake in the whole wide world.
No self-respecting swedish café is without this green Blumenthal-esque delight.
We spent a lot of our time in Stockholm on roller coasters.
Gröna Lund is the amusement park a mere 10 min walk from the city center.
Me and the Mr also checked out, or checked in to the fairly new Hotel Nobis (Next door to Acne!!), will post a video review soon.
A visit to Stockholm would not be the same without raiding Acne, came back with among other things the perfect silky bomber jacket that I’m not taking off, ever!
…and of course I had to get a couple of bottles of Pure Pine Tree extract.
The essence of Sweden!
I recently found myself doing things I’ve not done since September 2003, like going to the bathroom alone, visiting Portobello Market early Friday morning, having a long sunny lazy breakfast by myself and reading books. My kids are now 7 & 3 and my life is slowly getting back to what it used to be. Just having the 3-year-old mini man in nursery for a measly 3 hours does a hell of a difference to ones sanity.
Portobello Market is lovely, but it’s certainly not what it used to be many years ago.
The vintage selection is a bit more err, limited. Maybe I’m getting old but Kate Moss for Topshop is not vintage in my book.
The vegetables are still good though.
So apart from fresh spring greens and fish I left empty-handed.
Portobello has moved on I wish it hadn’t.
Walked briskly to another old haunt of mine BK (before kids) Nicole Farhis restaurant 202 and had a healthy prosciutto omelette.
Same head waiter as last time I was here, must be a good place to work. Super helpful staff, and if you are mega nosey like me, fabulous conversations to eavesdrop on. People on Westbourne Grove have interesting lives…
Haven’t blogged for a long time.Can only blame my new found freedom and the above books. The award winning crime novels by journalist Stieg Larsson.
I’m possibly the last swede reading these . Can’t put them down, they are Sooo good!
There’s a tiny bit of Lisbeth Salander in me for sure,(sadly, not the computer skills) and having grown up in Sweden I feel a real connection with her rebelliousness. A lot of Big brother stuff going on over there, you need to kick back.
Sure, I can be more than a little jealous of basically free childcare and low house prices in Sweden (in comparison to London that is).
Sweden is a bit like utopia if you squint hard and don’t mind snow.
You need to squint extra hard after reading these books.
We where staying at Lydmar Hotel while in Stockholm. Can highly recommend it. The über friendly staff made us feel really welcome. Here are some pictures and a short tour of our room. I will absolutely return next time I’m in Stockholm. Perfect location and no need to jump places for dinner/drinks – a big plus when it’s MINUS 16 degrees.
I’m in Stockholm Sweden for the festive period.
It’s so beautiful and cold and christ-messy.
It’s all about kids and cousins and Lego and cats and food with cream, but I managed to sneak out for some essential swedish shopping. This is where I go every time I’m here:
1. Acne on Norrmalmstorg. A must. Still cheaper than London. Loads of nice new things for cruise/spring. So unfair if you live here and is not off to a nice hot resort any time soon. Spring in Stockholm starts in May- if you’re lucky.
2. Skeppshult cast iron frying pans. Another must. These pans contains NO nasty chemicals that are released when cooking or scratched. The only thing they might release is some healthy iron. Sure they weigh ehh - a lot! But if you’re interested in keeping healthy invest in cast iron pots and pans.