Cooking over open flame is something most of us rarely get to do, but on a recent trip to Sweden we found ourselves surrounded by thick pine forest, the nearest towns over 15 minutes’ drive away in either direction and building a fire from scratch, cooking a meal amidst the elements and enjoying by candlelight next to the soothing sounds of a gently lapping lake. So Swedish, right?

Almost forgot to mention we spent the rest of the night cosying up in a wooden treehouse with no electricity whilst it rained and the wind howled… bliss!

Connecting with nature does the heart good, and reminds us where our food comes from – which is something that is truly driving modern Swedish cuisine right now, too. How does one describe modern Swedish cuisine? You almost have to look back to the past, because Sweden embraces traditional, natural techniques, methods and processes when it comes to its finest dishes. Swedish cuisine is unique because the most modern and cutting edge is often using simple flavours and time-honoured techniques to create something outstanding, often linking in to memories of the past. 

Uncovering Swedish cuisine is an adventure in delving back to basics and celebrating those techniques that shouldn’t be lost in an ever-evolving world. Curing, fermenting, pickling, smoking, foraging – processes that have been passed on through generations. Eating with the seasons, eating more plants and less meat (with meat being a luxury and high quality), embracing wild food and game, sourcing local berries like lingon, cloud or havtorn (sea buckthorn). In fact, in winter in most west Sweden restaurants you’ll find havtorn in the dessert menu as it’s a coastal berry in abundance.

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When we visited @oaxenslip some time ago, we managed to be the first people to arrive just to take this photo. Stupidly no one told Russell a photo was being taken (seen here on the right, before he discovered peroxide) so it’s not QUITE perfect! 🙄 This restaurant (which also has the Michelin starred @oaxenkrog where Irish chef @chefbigdog is at the helm) is located on the island of #Djurgården, which is home to some of Stockholm’s best attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants including @abbathemuseum, @pophousestockholm, @skansen, @vasamuseet, @nordiskamuseet, @rosendalstradgard, @spritmuseum and so much more. We’ve written all about it- Link in bio for you to read! 🇸🇪 #6WeeksOfSweden . . . #GastroGaysTravels #Sweden #Sverige #igerssweden #Stockholm #igersstockholm #visitstockholm #topswedenphoto #lpfood #topeuropephoto #topswedenphoto #topcityphoto #travelbloggers #architecture

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With a coastline of 424,000km, naturally Swedish cuisine is also all about connecting to the sea and shoreline. Freshly-shucked oysters, pickled herring, caviar and juicy shrimp and crayfish. Wild seafood is much of what Sweden is about. Arctic Char is a fish you’ll find widely enjoyed. In fact, we spent six weeks travelling around the country in late winter and found it available in almost every restaurant, served in a variety of ways.

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We visited the island of #klädesholmen which is otherwise known as the ‘Capital of Herring’, as it accounts for almost half of Sweden’s pickled herring production! On the island is the beyond stunning boutique floating hotel that is @saltosill, set on the lapping waters of the Bohuslän archipelago along @sodrabohuslan 🐟🚣‍♂️ We had lunch in the restaurant of sea trout, heavenly creamy mashed potato and trout terrine. Then, from dining at a table with a view overlooking the water to finding ourselves IN the water, geared up, strapped in and kayaking right outside the window 🙈 Can only imagine how even more spectacular this place would be during the summer, but we really are suckers for Sweden in Winter 😍😍 [Guest] #WestSweden #6WeeksOfSweden 🇸🇪

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Salt & Sill is one of the best fish restaurants we visited, located on Tjörn an hour outside Gothenburg, If it’s a connection to the sea you want in Gothenburg itself, visit the Feskekôrka – or Fish Church – a market heralded for its daily catch, here’s where you can find Gothenburg’s freshest fish to take home, or if you want to eat it right there and then head upstairs to Gabriel’s. Hard to find fish fresher when it arrives from the daily boats in the very same building.

(C) GastroGays

Wild meat and game is also intrinsically Swedish. For those looking for a true Swedish foodie experience, you’ll jump at the chance to try moose, bear and venison. Wild meats and game are generally more flavoursome, often leaner and provide a true expression of the natural landscape of Sweden.

The ultimate must-try in Stockholm is Ekstedt, Niklas Ekstedt’s Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant in Östermalm. Everything is cooked without the modern conventions of electricity or gas, so it’s open flame, wood-fired ovens, charcoal, smoking, curing, preserving, raw. You feel the heat, you smell the smoke, you see the charcuterie aging. All the natural elements come together in a fine dining experience that’s unrivalled, especially with the open kitchen on show.

Book one of the coveted seats at the chef’s table for an unforgettable dining experience – a celebratory meal together, perhaps?