Few things are as enjoyable as foodie holidays. To travel where your stomach takes you. To discover new gastronomic highlights, interesting cultures, and pack the suitcase full of local delicacies. Last week, I found myself in the middle of a heaving throng of tourism people, food journalists, food lovers and chefs from 28 different countries. For the first time (ever), the World Food Travel Summit had come to Europe. Gothenburg was at the center of proceedings, and the theme for the event was the fast growing food tourism sector. More gastronomic tourist routes to the people.
Gothenburg’s star chef, Håkan Thörnström, opened the event and immediately put the focus on food with welcoming Swedish flavours. Ami Hovstadius from VisitSweden continued on the same theme. She has a key role in the initiative ‘Sweden the New Food Country’, where our food – the Swedish – travels with chefs to various events to tempt food lovers to visit Sweden.
Erik Wolf, Executive Director of WFS, talked about the fact that food travels faster today. Personally, he enjoys looking for that perfect place; it doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be unique and worth remembering.
– Today, we can travel anywhere we want and no parts of the world are unreachable. Food has become a universal language that everyone can experience, Erik said.
Food tourists are often searching for something a bit special. How the product is packaged is important. Gothenburg is synonymous with open prawn sandwiches. I would prefer to see more fresh prawns in their shells. And as the French food journalist Maria Canabal told me in no uncertain terms:
– You have a great range of fine fish and fantastic shellfish, but very few fishmongers showcasing this. The shellfish are often already cooked and far too salty, there is no balance, explained Maria.
My dream scenario would also be that more fish shops offered raw shellfish. So that you can add the flavors you prefer. Exactly the way they do things around the Mediterranean.
Swedish and Scandinavian food will continue to grow. With fine dining and rustic structures and concepts like the success stories Fäviken and Noma. And my guess is that the new Nordic food will focus on street food. Extraordinarily tasty but very simple are the buzzwords behind this new craze. From the farmer in the country and the local food producer straight into the city.