There is no mistaking the warm spring winds. Slowly but surely they push aside the cold winter air, leaving that very familiar feeling we all know, but few of us can describe in words. One day, spring is simply upon us, with the promise of more light and a greener landscape. The birds are twittering optimistically and the buds on the bare, brown trees burst into leaves. To me personally, spring has for the last few years also involved a sense of longing, and of happiness, to yet again be able to step into the magical landscape of Munkängarna, on the mountain of Kinnekulle, where the forest is completely taken over by Ramson at this time of the year. I am ridiculously infatuated with ramson. In the early part of spring it forms a green carpet on the forest floor, towards the end of the flowering season it turns into a white layer that covers the ground like snow. It is wondrous and magical.
The flowering mountain
The King of Flowers, Carl Linnaeus, wandered around on the mountain of Kinnekulle and was amazed at its ‘peculiar location and shape’ in 1746. He was taken by the natural riches of Kinnekulle and wrote in his notes that Kinnekulle is ‘a place among the most remarkable in the land’.
Kinnekulle was formed 500 million years ago and is a 306-metre high flat-topped hill. Its geological composition makes it a paradise for plants, and many rare orchids grow on ‘the Flowering Mountain’, as Kinnekulle is known.
Ramson loves the calcium-rich soil on Kinnekulle and grows extremely well here. This plant, which is actually an onion, is also known as ‘wood garlic’ or ‘bear’s garlic’. When the ramson flowers, the whole forest smells of garlic. Visitors to Kinnekulle often smell the flower before they see it – this is a lovely feeling; as if it welcomes you from afar.
I recommend a Ramson Walk in the lush broad-leaf forest at Munkängarna. I want everyone to have the opportunity to see the sea of white, star-shaped flowers with their lancet-shaped leaves, and to experience the aroma of garlic floating through the air. This may very well make you want to taste ramson, which is an excellent cooking ingredient. Ramson has become a staple ingredient in the kitchens around Kinnekulle and when it’s in season, in May-June, ramson soup is served at a number of cafes and restaurants in the area. Some of the restaurants are members of Västsvensk Mersmak and some are included in the White Guide restaurant guide.
If you would like to sample ramson and experience the magical Kinnekulle landscape, why not book a Ramson Package, available 13 May – 14 June. The package, priced from 1,500 SEK, includes:
- One night in a double room, incl. breakfast at Lundsbrunns Kurort
- Ramson -inspired lunch at Berget Orangeri
- 3-course gourmet dinner with a ramson theme at Forshems Gästgivargård
- Gift bag with ramson products to take home
- Directions for a Ramson Walk
Ramson has become something of a celebrity plant, increasingly used as a seasonal ingredient in different dishes and food products. For the last few years, ramson has even had its very own day. On Saturday 23 May 2015, ramson will again be celebrated on Kinnekulle, outside Lidköping. The many virtues of ramson will be extolled at the heart of Munkängarna. There will be ramson soup tastings, Falkängen Ramson Market, and restaurants and coffee shops in the area around Kinnekulle and in Lidköping will serve everything from Ramson Toast to Ramson à la Carte.
Text: Gunilla Davidsson, Business Developer Food Tourism Skaraborg & Västsverige
Photo: Monika Manowska – Destination Läckö-Kinnekulle AB