How to Get Lost in the Swedish Countryside

Read about blogger and foodie Cole Ruth’s culinary trip through West Sweden. Enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win parts of her itinerary at saveur.com.

Shrimps - Photo Jonas Ingman

When my diary about my trip through southwestern Sweden was posted on Saveur.com, several of my friends wrote and asked if I romanticized it. The answer is no.

Though I love the city, I’m a nature-lover at heart. So whenever we had a little extra time in our itinerary, we took less direct routes for the chance to drive through quiet seaside towns and rural farming villages. The countryside in Sweden is filled with castles and rune stones and medieval churches – many of them missing from the map and barely mentioned on the Internet or in guidebooks. One tip I have is to look for the symbol used on Macintosh computers for the control key. This indicates a historical site or lookout. The fun part is not knowing what it is until you turn down the road. But watch out, one time I ended up driving headlong down a road that ended in steps!

In terms of food experiences, the oyster safari at Evert’s Sjöbord is something I will savor for a long time to come. I tried crayfish years ago and decided they were not my thing. But when I saw the three-tiered platter filled with crayfish and shrimp and mussels, I had to give the poor creatures another chance. I ate until I thought I would burst. They taste like the sweetest lobster.

That was the same day we drove to Villa Sjötorp. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is the place. Hot tea and coffee were waiting for us on arrival, so we sat on the veranda looking out at the archipelago, having a quiet “fika” and reading our guidebooks. The next morning we came downstairs to find that our host, Linnéa, had put together a buffet that could have fed twenty even though my friend and I were the only guests at the inn.

Villa Sjotorp - Photo Jonas Ingman

Even a Swede will tell you that people are kinder in the south and I hate to admit it (sorry all my Stockholm friends!), but after seven days in southwestern Sweden, I have to agree with them.

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