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Melissa Richards-Person

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Sharing Stockholm with Louisville foodie friends

by Melissa Richards-Person » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:17 pm

The hubby and I had the opportunity to spend last week in Stockholm. It is simply a beautiful city, and although I was somewhat concerned about trying 6 different kinds of herring (I'm NOT, unfortunately. kidding), we found it to be a terrific food city as well.

I won't give you all of our meals, ad nauseum, but will share a few with you to give you the "flavor" of what we experienced.

Our "hands down" best meal -

Was at a restaurant called Wedholms Fisk. Not an overly fancy meal - in fact, no real "frills" or showyness at all - just incredibly simply, but incredibly well-prepared fish. It's written up in both Gourmet and the guidebooks, but for good reason. When fish is unadorned, it really shows off great technique - and that was evident in spades! Here's a menu link:
http://www.wedholmsfisk.se/mat.php

I had the Boiled Turbot with Brown Butter and horseradish. This dish made me want to take extra time and seek out fresh horseradish root. They presented just the simple, perfectly cooked piece of fish, and two sauce dishes with the browned butter, and with horseradish grated like you would a hard cheese - surprising for me, but a wonderful flavor epiphany!!! Hubby had Salmon, grilled with bacon, mushrooms and Beaujolais sauce - diced chunks of bacon, and what I think were chanterelle and porcini mushrooms - and the sauce managed to be full-flavored and surprisingly light at the same time. Both fish were nicely accompanied by an Pinot Gris from Alsace that was a floral, acidic counterpoint to the butter in both dishes.

All I can say is WOW!

Other great meals were at Hotellet - which was very french-inspired
http://www.hotellet.info/
and where the standout for me was the Terrine of foie gras with ligonberry brioche (ligonberries being very traditional and featured prominently throughout Swedish cooking) and caramelized apples. The first thing that surprised me about this dish was that it, frankly, was that it incorporated the largest piece of foie gras I've ever seen in a starter/appetizer. This piece was about 1/2 inch thick, and the size of a small slice of quick bread! It was draped over a slice of thick cut brioche, and crowned with ligonberries (which are similar in look and flavor to currents, but with a bit more "berry" flavor) and apples. After I stopped swooning over the decadence and richness, I really enjoyed it with the New Zealand Pinot we ordered.

We also tried REAL swedish meatballs, which were served with ligonberries and small potatoes that I swear must have been boiled in butter! This was a dish we had best at a lunch counter in the Ostermalms Salumhall - which was a food hall featuring about 10 different fresh food purveyors. Incredible fish, cheese and baked good selections. Semla buns - which are sort of like a "cream puff" but with an added almond paste filling, then crowned with a light buttercream. They are traditional for around lent and easter, and only available then, so our timing was good. Bleak roe from Kalix was also traditional and on most starter menus. It's a golden orange whitefish roe that is somewhat like salmon caviar, but with a smaller egg and with a milder briny flavor. It was usually served with creme' fraiche, capers and onion. Of course, Gravd Lax (or "gravlax" as we often see it in the states) was offered as well - I think I now like it better than smoked salmon - and I'm becoming brave enough to try to cure it myself after this trip.

Then there was the aformentioned 6 kinds of pickled herring. Hubby was there to give a speech for a conference and e-learning awards dinner, and the night before, conference organizers took us for a traditional "snaps" (schnapps - although not what we would associate in the US as "schnapps") and herring tasting before dinner. Then, the following night, the dinner buffet at the awards was a modern interpretation of the traditional Swedish Smorgasbord - a huge selection of cold dishes, followed by a few select warm ones. We tried two types of mustard herring - which I liked, a tomato herring, where I think the herring was first actually poached, then put in a sweet-sour tomato based sauce; a caraway and carrot herring, which I also liked; and the two I didn't - a creamed herring from the West Coast of Sweden - which just was too strongly "fishy" for me; and an onion herring, which didn't agree with me because of my aversion to strong raw onion.

It was an adventure in both food and fine dining, that we both loved. Given that it was just starting to turn from winter to spring, it made us want to return - this time in the summer when all of the lovely squares and plazas we saw are alive with food, music and cafes of all types.

Hope you enjoyed this admittedly long "window" into a foodie adventure in Stockholm!

Cheers!
Melissa
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Laura SS

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by Laura SS » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:58 pm

Wow Melissa! Sounds like one heck of an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing so we can all daydream about going ourselves ...

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