A passion for food and for fresh, local ingredients. That is what the Taste of West Sweden scheme (‘Västsvensk Mersmak’ in Swedish) is all about. This quality program includes an array of certified restaurants in West Sweden, which are all in a loving culinary relationship with local producers.
Twelve new restaurants received the Taste of West Sweden stamp of approval at the end of May 2012, bringing the total number of certified restaurants in the scheme to 36. What they have in common is that they offer every guest the best possible mealtime experience. Their love of locally-sourced ingredients and of food in general, is what links together these restaurants from very different environments – the wilderness of Dalsland lake district, the fertile plains of Västergötland, the salty coast of Bohuslän, and our little big city, Gothenburg.
Gothenburg – The Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012
According to food writer Maria Zihammou, a ‘Food City’ is characterised by its access to high quality ingredients, restaurants where people like to linger and food that invokes curiosity. There must also be chefs who can prepare both classic dishes and innovative foodie experiences. Gothenburg is one of those cities, which is why it was awarded the title the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012. The archipelago of Gothenburg is also where we find the latest new addition to the Taste of West Sweden family – Styrsö Skäret. Only 20 minutes by boat from Saltholmen is this seaside restaurant, which despite being so close to the city, offers a calm and pleasant island atmosphere. The menu is inspired by the closeness to the sea. It’s rustic with a twist, according to restaurant owner Ylva Tulldahl.
Dalsland – Sweden’s Lake District
Dalsland is Sweden’s smallest, but also most varied, county and is often likened to a miniature Sweden. Think mountains, forests, lakes, hilly areas and plains. This untamed landscape is where we find another Taste of West Sweden restaurant – Baldersnäs Manor. This restaurant makes the most of Dalsland’s reputation as a wonderful wilderness. On the menu you’ll find things like elk, deer, hart, pike, pike-perch, perch, mushrooms and berries, as well as herbs from the garden and vegetables from the local area. Add to this the view of the park and the country house atmosphere, and you get a meal which offers a truly unique experience.
Västergötland – fertile plains Between the two largest lakes in Sweden is the county of Västergötland. Its fertile soil has been home to different civilisations since the early Stone Age. The historic Göta Canal runs through Västergötland, and it is by the canal that a new restaurant is found – Norrqvarn is an old mill which dates back to the early part of the 20th century. Today, this former mill is a certified member of the Taste of West Sweden scheme and focuses on making the most of local produce from the county of Västergötland. This means that there is no set menu – the dishes are based around what the season has to offer. Chef Emelie Nielsen likes to work in close cooperation with local producers and her philosophy is to keep it simple and bring out the original flavours of the ingredients.
Bohuslän – home to the best shellfish in Sweden
At the heart of Kosterhavet Marine National Park is a green oasis – the Taste of West Sweden restaurant, Kosters Trädgårdar (the Koster Gardens). The garden café serves meals based on home-grown produce and ingredients from the local area. The farm shop sells organically grown vegetables, herbs, cheeses, jams, oils and more. The Marine National Park works to preserve the unique flora and fauna of the Koster Islands, both above and beneath the surface. The fishing in this area is heavily regulated to ensure the long-term survival of the native fish and shellfish. North sea prawns, crabs, lobster, mussels and oysters are some of the species that are caught here and sold on to local restaurants, including Kosters Trädgårdar.
Are you looking for genuine, exciting mealtime experiences? Go on a foodie tour of some of our Taste of West Sweden restaurants this summer.