A few years ago, the Scandinavian cuisine became really hot, when the Danish restaurant Noma found new ways of preparing vegetables, berries, seafood and meat from our region, different from anything we had ever seen before. All of a sudden, gourmets and food journalists from all over the world showed an interest in our Swedish cooking traditions. And other chefs joined the trend and started making room for both tradition and innovative creativity in their kitchens.
Frida Ronge, who runs Restaurant Vrå in Gothenburg where she serves food with an Asian theme, is a good example of this fashionable cooking style, based on Scandinavian ingredients of the highest quality. In recent weeks, she has been to New York, where West Sweden Tourist Board, Visit Sweden and Göteborg & Co have been promoting Swedish food at the North – Nordic Food Festival. Frida was involved in a number of different activities, including cooking classes and a guest appearance at Restaurant Aqvavit. Her signature dish, sashimi on halibut with browned yuzu butter, is cross-over cooking at its best. Entirely in line with Frida’s culinary style, this dish is full of innovativeness and tastes wonderful.
Jill Axelsson Pabst from West Sweden Tourist Board was also present. She told me that Frida’s food combines classic techniques with new thinking and that the result is unbelievably delicious. The chef Fredrik Andersson also took part. He chose to make his own sausages with pork from West Sweden and gave New Yorkers an opportunity to experience his personal take on genuine Swedish hotdogs. The sausages were further enhanced by matured cheese from Gäsene Dairy being stuffed into the casing. Fredrik then added lobster mayonnaise and pickled cucumber, which resulted in a brand new type of hotdog that would work just as well in posh restaurants as in food truck.
The Swedish National Culinary Team is another example of how Swedish food is of a high international standard. Fredrik Andersson is a member of the team and competed in the World Championships in Luxembourg in November, where the team took silver. The Swedes served a starter of halibut, lamb and cabbage for mains, and a variation on currants for dessert. The menu reached gold level in the Hot Kitchen category and was amazingly beautiful to look at.
Swedish food, with its amazing fresh ingredients, has become synonymous with tradition mixed with influences from all over the world. And with sustainability as an important ingredient. Restaurants like Wasa Allé, owned by chef Mats Nordström, are keen to follow this particular trend. He was recently in London to showcase and promote local dishes from West Sweden. Joining him was Anders Arena from Vatten Gourmet & Café, who held Master Classes for specially invited guests. Many of the participants were very interested in our traditional ways of preserving foods, by pickling and salting. All the dishes were accompanied by carefully selected Swedish drinks, including schnapps and different types of beer.
Try Swedish, an initiative from Visit Sweden, is quickly gaining ground abroad. This is a way to put both Gothenburg and West Sweden on the map using food-related activities, designed to create interest in our cuisine, which is of the highest class. When the Swedish lifestyle is combined with great food, our country becomes a very interesting visitor destination, both globally and locally.
Text: Maria Zihammou