Category: Travels

Lilla Askerön, Tjörn, Sweden

Browsing the grocery shelves at Pergolia Heavenly Italian, a boutique located at Lilla Askerön, Tjörn, along the Swedish west coast.
The boutique specialises in importing hand crafted Italian products, from accessories to food.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It’s a spring/summer thing to do. To drive along the Swedish west coast. Sometimes we head north, sometimes we head south. Once, we headed south and kept going way past Germany to land in Rome, Italy. We walked around some, had an ice-cream at Vacanze Romane at Piazza Navona, and made an about turn back to Sweden again. This time, we thought to head towards Tjörn and Orust, twin islands that contain some of Bohuslän’s most beautiful summer sailing and bathing spots that’s only about an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg city. The intention was to scout for small local grocers and antique shops along the way.

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A walk through scenic Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley, Chengdu, China 2019

At Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley, Chengdu, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

I was expecting a Yuyuan street experience like that of Shanghai 2011, when I thought to visit Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley in Chengdu, China. But this was a different adventure of sorts. Cozy yet vibrant, visitors are greeted with beautiful architecture throughout the alleys. Located in proximity to Tianfu Square and Renmin Park a taxi ride will take just about ten minutes to Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley and what I think is one of the more scenic (historic-) urban areas in Chengdu.

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Chengdu by night, China 2019

Night scene at the intersection of Shangdong Street and Chunxi Road, Chengdu, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

According to a World Economic Forum 2019 [1] article Chengdu is among 10 cities that the UN predicts will break the 10 million mark by 2030, bringing the global number of megacities to 43. About 55% of global population live in urban areas today, compared to the less than one-third of the global population living in urban areas in 1950. In one generation to come, the proportion of people living in cities is expected to grow by 68%, adding to our current already crowded cities.

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Morning skyline in Shanghai, China 2019

Morning skyline in March 2019, Shanghai, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

I’ve often written that landing in Shanghai, China, feels as if I were coming back home. If there was a city in China that I have visited the most, it would be Shanghai. Between 2010 and 2014, I found myself almost annually in Shanghai for various work and study visits. It’s been about five years since I was in Shanghai and expectedly, the city has developed some, a morphing burgeon of its 1920s and 1930s personality from Paris of the East unto its own. I do not know how else to describe other than, it is, Shanghai, lacking nothing.

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Passion för Mat 2019, a focus on seafood

Skrei (wild captured cod), as presented in Sweden at Sweden’s most prominent gourmet food fair, Passion för mat 2019. The event (1 to 3 March, 2019) was held at Åbymässan, an conference and exhibition venue located in Mölndal, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Sweden’s most prominent gourmet food fair, Passion för Mat 2019 took place between 1 to 3 March 2019 in a new conference and exhibition venue, Åbymässan, located in Mölndal in the outskirts of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. An upside to this location is certainly, more parking spaces for visitors. Stepping into the exhibition space, the atmosphere was electric, as it always is for food enthusiasts, with a pleasant mix of people of the trade whom you’ve gotten to know over the decade and some new exhibitors with whom we can spend time with getting acquainted in their trade and product.

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Skrei season in the north of Norway

Skrei season in Norway is during January to April each year. This is when the fish arrives to the northern coast of Norway in order to spawn. In Northern Norway, this seasonal fish is traditionally served as a dish called mølje. As such the fish is boiled together with its liver and roe and served with a side of potatoes and carrots. This particular skrei was captured at Lofoten and bought at the main market square in Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The Norwegian skrei season is a miracle that repeats itself.

For those few unfortunate that are not yet familiar with skrei, it is a North-East Arctic cod that lives in the Barents Sea, in an area enclosed between Franz Josef Land on the north, Novaya Zemlya on the east, and Svalbard on the west. Skrei is the Norwegian word for wanderer.

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Valentine’s at Graffi Grill Tromsø

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The roses were brought out in most flower boutiques here in Tromsø on Sunday 10 February 2019. It was in celebration of Mother’s Day in Norway. The Feast of Saint Valentine which falls on 14 February in celebration of love and friendship, seems a fairly understated affair in Norway, and in particular as observed, in this city in the Arctic Circle. In a walkabout the city centre prior to dinner, I came across one of my favourite flower boutiques. There was a significant absence of bouquets of roses for the Feast of St Valentine’s. The shop had for ready-made bouquets, clusters of chrysanthemum and lily blooms. Roses were available but firmly potted. In Gothenburg, I loved to have tulips at this time of year sitting on the kitchen table in a vase. In Tromsø, four metre high snow walls built from clearing snow off the sidewalks and driveways is not encouraging weather for tulips, even in vases. I did however, bring home a new pet plant from that shop, a ficus elastica robusta.

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20190204 21:14 night sky Tromsø Norway

Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

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Spark, a traditional form of Nordic transportation, Tromsø, Norway

On a Spark (kicksled) in Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The Swedish and Norwegian word spark means kick in English. This ‘winter walker’ has been a small, more lightweight form of transportation since the mid-1800s for the wintry landscapes of northern Scandinavia. An observation between the city of Gothenburg located along the southern southwest coast of Sweden and the Arctic Circle city of Tromsø is how much less gravelling of the snow is done here as compared to Gothenburg. This also means that in the northern regions of Scandinavia, kicksleds come more into use, facilitating longer distances and heavier carrying loads. These kicksleds are crafted from wood, where the seat in front of the kicksled could comfortably accommodate a child whom you’d want along with you if you were in a smaller town or village on a half day’s errand to the market or nearest grocers. In today’s context, kicksleds are used more for recreational purposes, like on this Saturday afternoon, the perfect time to går på tur along the snowy waterfront of this island.

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February colours, Tromsø, Norway 2019

Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

Tromsø International Snow Festival 2019, Norway

The Tromsø International Snow Festival 2019, 26 January 2019, Stortorget, Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was just about a week ago, almost immediately following the final movie screenings of the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF) 2019 that the large market square in the city centre was cleared and up sprang these carved ice-sculptures. Lit in various neon colours for a fantastic light and ice display, these ice sculptures certainly brightened and complemented the still darkened winter sky in this Arctic Circle city.

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Tromsø International Film Festival, TIFF 2019, Norway

At the Edge Sky Bar, Clarion Hotel, for the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF 2019), Tromsø, Norway. DJ for the TIFF 2019 evening event is Christian Bruun.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The 29th Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF 2019) is currently ongoing in this Arctic Circle city. Beginning on 14 January and ending on 20 January, the film festival is expected to see over 60 000 thousand visitors to the city of Tromsø. TIFF 2019 draws both local and international visitors to its annual event. It is also an important meeting space / platform for Norway’s local film industry to meet with its international network. An important socio-economic catalyst, in 2018, the film festival generated 26 million NOK in related activities for the local community [1].

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Knekkebrød, a Norwegian variety

Knekkebrød, a Norwegian variety made with different seeds.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

A tiny brown paper package that contained some crispbread / knekkebrød turned up at my kitchen table counter top during a gathering in early December 2018. Next to that was the cheese platter, laid out with different types of honey, fruit marmalade and jam. I assumed that the crispbread was a variety of Wasabröd, except this version was peppered with different types of seed. Wasabröd is a crispbread that is quite ubiquitous in Sweden and I usually pay little attention to it as a food item when grocery shopping. Why eat that when you can have intoxicating kanelbullar dribbled with pearl sugar?

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Fractal organizing on the eve of 2019, Styrsö Gothenburg, SE

In the moment of a Walden read. Although this article post is mostly about Taleb’s 2004 incerto meta-framework of writing.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

I received this year as part of the Christmas presents exchange, one of my favourite books written by Henry David Thoreau, Walden1. What’s special about this Pan Macmillan Collector’s Library 2016 edition is that it is petite, and bound most decoratively in floral print, in the colours of the planets Saturn (pale gold) and Uranus (pale blue)2. Another book received was written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness3 (2004).

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Good morning Sunshine! Styrsö, Gothenburg, SE

A winter’s sunrise along the Swedish west coast, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Out at the Gothenburg southern archipelago, it seemed a perfectly mundane winter’s morning, albeit a little warm hovering between 5 to 6 degrees celcius. The big family gatherings on 24 and 25 Dec. is done, the quayside this morning was parked full of shopper bags and luggages of varying sizes, with varying goods belonging to individuals moving between points of interest. Christmas was warm and cozy, now it’s time to prepare for a sparkly new year’s!

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Christmas at Styrsö Gothenburg, Sweden 2018

Christmas market tranquil at Saluhallen in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Even if the markets are not as populous in Scandinavia as they are in Southeast-Asia where I grew up, there’s always a certain sense of panic with last minute shopping, especially during festive seasons, like Christmas. I was however, pleasantly surprised to find the main market hall Saluhallen in Gothenburg, in complete calm during the late afternoon on the eve of the eve of Christmas, Christmas eve being the big family meal for most families in Sweden.

So it was thoroughly enjoyable doing this year’s Christmas marketing, picking up a bit of liver pâté, an assortment of cheese and some more preserved herring to add to our existing collection of flavoured herrings for the home Christmas table. Since Gothenburg is a coastal city, our own Christmas table very much reflects the culinary traditions of the region with an emphasis on piscatorial dishes. A favourite this year seemed to be smoked rainbow trout. That, and there’s always room for dessert. This year’s favourite was caramelized baked apples with vanilla cream. The vanilla cream was made the old-fashioned way with lots of egg yolks, and vanilla beans.

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Coffee as an art form at RISØ Tromsø, Norway

Kawaii cat cappuccino. RISØ Tromsø, Norway, takes coffee customization to the next level.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

If there was a must-visit café in Tromsø, then RISØ, located along Strandgata is it. A walk-past on most days will find this café filled with guests for want of an excellent, personalized cup of coffee. Their cinnamon rolls (closest to Swedish kanelbullar I’ve found here in Northern Norway) and coffee cake are good too.

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Egon Tromsø, Norway

A festive season pizza buffet on a Sunday? Super. At Egon Tromsø Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

The Egon chain was established in 1984 with headquarters in Trondheim. Having worked as a waitress at Chili’s Grill & Bar when they first opened in Singapore prior to my university years, I was skeptical. Due to my experiences in bridging between kitchen and customers at Chili’s, I knew both what to expect and what not to expect at the same time. But any misgiving about bar and grill franchises dissipated stepping into Egon Tromsø. With warm friendly smiles from the service frontline to the complimentary coffee to each meal, I found very little not to like about Egon Tromsø.

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Alice and Indigo M-theory

Christmas light-up in Tromsø, Norway, 2018.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Alice sat rag doll on the ground her full skirt semi-circling around her knees. Minutes, or was that tens of minutes (?) had passed when Caterpillar with a note of ire in his tone of voice asked, or was that suggested (?), “Contemplating…, Alice”

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Evening out with Olaf, Tromsø, Norway

Me (left) with Olaf.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

It was an evening stroll that led to the serendipitous meeting with Olaf. It had been some years since we last met, and I was delighted to see him standing there with arms outstretched in a welcoming Hello! I returned the warm greeting. It being a chilly night, we noted that it would be tempting to make a cup of hot chocolate and get warm in a blanket with a good book. We agreed however that it was perhaps not something he should do.

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Julebord at ROAST Tromsø Scandic Ishavshotel

Eyes on the view of the harbour that is just outside our table by the window at ROAST Tromsø. We were there for a traditional North Norwegian Christmas table sitting. ROAST restaurant is located at Scandic Ishavshotel, at Fredrik Langes Gate 2.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

This would be my first jultide spent in Northern Norway. It was mentioned several times in the course of various conversations had that the long Norwegian coastline has given rise to slight variations of culinary traditions and Norwegian culture within the country. And I could expect it to be much different from the culinary traditions of the Christmas tables in Gothenburg, along the Swedish west coast. As such, I was curious about the Northern Norwegian julebord or Christmas table. How different is it from the Swedish west coast julbord?

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Arctic Circle light on an October morning, Tromsø, Norway

Arctic Circle (latitude of 66°33′47.3″ N) morning light in October 2018, an intense gemstone colour of orange spinel, Tromsø (69°40′58″N), Norway
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2018

If weather was a significant fika topic in Sweden, the changing light reflected in the Arctic Circle through the seasons captures greater conversation interest over fredagskaffe sessions. These pictures were taken this morning at about 0725 hrs. I sit at Tromsø, staring at a morning sky that streaked an intense gemstone colour of orange spinel to the left over the mountains at Tomasjord. Moving the eyeline from left to right over Tromsdalen, the morning light turned an ametrine bi-colour, cleaving both mountain and ocean at an almost surreal perpendicular. Moving the eyeline further right towards Solligården, the morning light turned gradually into shades of pale amethyst.

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A walk through Tromsø sentrum, Sept 2018

Strandgata, a main shopping street in Tromsø city centre, Norway
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

With houses built from the 1700s that remain standing along narrow cobbled streets close to the waterfront, the city centre of Tromsø makes for romantic evening strolls and compact access. One could spend just about 20 minutes navigating the main shopping street from end to end. And where I have bypassed souvenir gift shops in most other places I have visited, I would certainly recommend visitors to stop by a souvenir shop in Tromsø. Souvenir shops here offer some well crafted, artisan Scandinavian products that range from sustainable fashion made from salmon leather, kitchen wear made from reindeer antlers and natural pure wool throws that is perfect for cooler nights in.

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Culinary journeys in Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø harbour, walking along Sjøgata, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

After the oil and mineral industry in Norway, fish is an USD 11 billion industry in Norway [1], making it the make the second largest industrial sector in the country. Tromsø with its location in the arctic region and access to the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea makes it perfect to serve up some of the world’s freshest seafood on a daily basis. Something of the most prized culinary experience here is to go out on a boat and catch your own white fish, in particular, cod, whose fish stock is currently abundant and has been expanding northward since 2004 [2]. And if not, there are many eateries and resturants around the city centre that serve an array of sustainable seafood that is fresh caught from the Arctic Ocean from king crab (a 2015 Seafood report ranked Red King crab from Norway’s Barents Sea–Pot as best sustainable source [3]) to minke whale meat [4].

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Äggboden, a boutique farm shop in Halland, west coast Sweden

Standing outside of a gårdsbutik/farm shop called Äggboden, where a variety of woven goods for sale are displayed. This shop is located along Sandövägen in Vallda, Halland country, along the west coast of Sweden. At fifty percent summer sale discount this basket, I thought, would be nice for a bushel of apples that are just coming becoming ripe for the season.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

One thing I love doing during summers in Sweden is to drive along the west coast of Sweden and visit small farms and flea markets along the way. Halland county is about a 2 hour drive south of the city of Gothenburg. We counted about four flea markets situated around the area of Lerkil and Smarholmen that we found by driving around some.

The region is full of small farms and private markets of whatever those who live there can think up to entertain tourists and temporary guests. One that has stuck in my memory was a place where they had combined an outdoor café, a barnyard flea market with a small farm animal zoo. On our comments about a particularly cute shaggy little pony, the managing lady said, “We love to have visitors over to give our animals something to look at.”

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Cradle of the sun, Castle Hill, Nice, France

On a walk up to Castle Hill, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

“Shall we go for a short walk?”, was the question that came just about before the 93m climb of a large limestone rock called Castle Hill in Nice, France. The walk was indeed short, but unfortunately more or less straight upwards.

Because it offers such spectacular views of Nice from sunrise to sunset, the place is romantically called ‘cradle of the sun’. I’ve been on walks before, but this vertical experience was challenging under the clear skied Mediterranean summer. Once at the top however, the panoramic views of the pebbly beach of Nice is priceless, on condition you’re not too out of breath or cross-eyed to view the scene after the climb.

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A walkabout Place Masséna, Nice, France

At the tram stop Masséna at Place Masséna, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

It was an evening’s walk around Place Masséna, that might be considered the heart of the city of Nice where most public transportation systems converge, then diverge into the city’s tributary streets. The city’s quintessential architecture, and its vibrance is literally reflected at Miroir d’Eau at the Promenade du Paillon where children run and dance around the water fountain display.

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A Côte d’Azur morning

Along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

During the 19th century, the season for visiting Nice was during the winter months in northern Europe. Later in more modern times, the season extended to include also spring and summer. The most popular place is still the beachfront, where the old villas are located between Promenade des Anglais and Rue de France. With increased urbanization, the private villas have now been turned into hotels and museums. The beachfront today seems a favourite place for morning strolls, bicycle rides and workouts by the beach. The Mediterranean waters are pleasantly warm, even at hours just after sunrise.

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When in the Mediterranean, gelato

At Palais de Justice à Nice, France, with a double scoop serving of chocolat noir and pistache from oui jelato!
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The last time I had gelato was at the Gothenburg annual culinary food fair, Passion för Mat 2018 held at Erikbergshallen in early March. I went back for seconds after an initial double scoop serving. If I had any deep preference for anything, it would be gelato over ice-cream. After an evening’s walkabout in the older part of the city of Nice, I was filled with glee that gelaterias were established in about a third (if not half) of the places designated for food and beverage. The abundance of crème glacée establishments set my culinary agenda for the next few days. As with my visit to Naples 2016, the mission is to gelato through the day.

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Stalking Louis Vuitton

Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

A meeting perchance, with Louis Vuitton in Nice, along Avenue de Suède.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

It was not two hours after landing in Nice, the second largest city along the French Mediterranean coast, the Côte d’Azur, that I walked right up perchance to the Louis Vuitton store located at 2 Avenue de Suède, 06000 Nice. I was on my way figuring out the city’s public transportation system for the IRMBAM-2018 conference that takes place between 5 to 7 July 2018 at the IPAG Business School in Nice.

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Passion för Mat 2018 walkabout

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

Trying out a bite bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.

Gothenburg’s largest annual foodfair, Passion för Mat is back for 2018! It runs from 2 to 4 March 2018 at Eriksbergshallen event hall located on Hisingen island. The event gathers food exhibitors from different industry sectors, who literally span the globe in food sourcing and production. Some new entrants include Varberg of Halland County, who are in Gothenburg to market not just their destination brand but their food products. Halland Country lies directly south of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Visitors can find for example, Källsjö A-fil from Källsjö Mejeri AB, a locally produced yoghurt whose smooth and creamy consistency makes a perfect accompaniment to fresh fruits and cereal for breakfast, as well as cheeses from Skrea Ost (Kattegatt white and Kattegatt blue cheeses). Visitors can also find some exciting new food products and concepts such as Mjölby’s Food for Progress’s award winning brands Oumph! and Beat that give noone an excuse to never eat their vegetables again, ever.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Fredrikssons Smakglädje

Mona and Christer Fredriksson of Fredrikssons Smakglädje (fredrikssons.eu) at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

I think it’s wonderful to catch-up with people with whom you share a passion for artisan culinary craftwork and the exchange of food/life experiences but don’t often get a chance to meet with. I spent some happy minutes visiting Mona and Christer Fredriksson foodstall at Passion för Mat 2018. Fredrikssons Smakglädje began in 2012 in southern Sweden (near Kalmar), with a focus on handcrafted, quality marmalades. Their key marmalade philosophy is to focus on the type of taste experience they wanted people to have when eating their marmalades. They also wanted to craft new marmalade flavours, choosing their ingredients carefully for each batch created. The intense flavours and luxurious textures of their marmalades are reflected likewise in the jeweltoned bottles lit on the display stand. Fredrikssons’s efforts on craftsmanship have not gone unnoticed in the Swedish culinary circles. Their products have since 2014, consistently won awards in the grand Swedish artisan culinary mastership (SM i mathantverk). Of notable mention is their 2017 Mona sauce, chosen for its excellent summer feel to a perfect grill sauce. Fredriksson’s Juleglögg (Swedish Christmas mulled wine) won silver medal in the 2015 SM i mathantverk and they took home both gold and silver medals in SM i mathantverk 2014 for their Hot Apple and Apricot Chutney, and Honeypear and Ginger Marmelade. The bit of news that made me happy was that Fredrikssons has a webshop and now deliver to your doorstep.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Flavours of Halland County

A white chocolate and caramel cheesecake from Halland County to be sampled at Passion för Mat 2018.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

Passion för Mat 2018 draws a network of small medium enterprises in not just food and beverage as product, but rather, food and beverage in connection to a specific destination experience. This year, Halland County took centrestage at this event, marketing products of the region that lies just south of Gothenburg city. In 2011, the city authority of Varberg embarked on Varberg 2025 with the ambition to be the creative centre of Sweden’s west coast region. Varberg lies in the region of Halland County, to which several booths at this food event enticed visitors to sample the produce and flavours of Halland County.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Beriksson

Spending time product browsing at Beriksson’s foodstall, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

I met Benny Eriksson, owner and founder of trading company Berikssson at Passion för Mat 2009 [1]. I was all over the Italian chocolate and candy imports, Cuneesi al liquore by Dulcioliva, not being able to carry home enough quantities to secure a full year’s supply to myself. Some things just don’t change. I came across Beriksson’s food stall at Passion för Mat 2018, and by far, this was my absolute favourite food stall to spend time product browsing, still not being able to carry home quantities enough for the upcoming year’s supply. The non-acquisition made more wanting by the sheer variety of chocolate bars that now span the globe in cacao sourcing and chocolate production.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Helmut Walch Chakuteri est. 1978

Helmut Walch Charkuteri AB (walch.se) was established in 1978. They are at Passion för Mat 2018 from 2 to 4 March at Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The narrative of Helmut Walch is of an industrious individual from Austria, Vienna, who in the aftermath of scarcity in World War II came to a career decision point in his life. He applied to be a cook in Karlstad, Sweden, and in his culinary journey from 1965 took him to various Swedish towns such as Karlstad, Skara and a hotel kitchen in Halland. He soon found himself in Gothenburg, and when the opportunity arose for him to acquire Asker Svensson’s store at Saluhallen in Gothenburg, the city’s central marketplace, he decided that Gothenburg would have access to Austrian traditions of charcuterie. Till this day, Helmut Walch Charkuteri AB uses spices imported from Austria to flavour their meats and meat products, where the differentiating factor of Helmut Walch’s products is in the skill of preparation.

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Passion för Mat 2018, PLUS4630

Thanasis Sindikiotis (left) and Yannis Georgilas (right) of PLUS4630 and Meraki, fine Greek products for the Swedish market.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The affable aura of Yannis Georgilas, owner of PLUS4630, is difficult to miss as you walk by his booth at Passion för Mat 2018, Gothenburg’s largest annual foodfair that runs over this weekend from 2 to 4 March 2018. PLUS4630 is a Swedish company located in Borås, which is about a 45 minute east drive (ca. 60 km) from Gothenburg. The B2B company is run by Yannis and Pernilla. The company supplies artisan and selected Greek products for the Swedish market. It was Yannis’s and Pernilla’s love of Greece and Greek food that brought them to bridge the Greek-Swedish culinary journey. They have also developed their own premium product band name called, Meraki. The word Meraki means soul, creativity and love in Greek.

PLUS4630, Meraki, had several offerings for customers at the foodfair, from olive oil to varieties of preserved olives. My absolute favrourite was the thickened rich cream cheese that tasted a luxurious version of Turkish yoghurt drink Ayran. Salty and velvet smooth on the tongue, it is not difficult to sit and polish off a 200g serving of that cream cheese. PLUS4630 has an online catalogue at plus4630.se for easy viewing to their products.

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Passion för Mat 2018, France Fromage

Jacques Six of France Fromage, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The focus this year for Jacques Six of France Fromage [2,3] at Gothenburg’s annual foodfair is Comté, a French cheese made from unpastuerized cow’s milk in Franche-Comté. As a cheese, Comté can be said to closely resemble the Swiss Gruyère much due to that the regions are close, with Franche-Comté bordering Switzerland. Comté or Gruyère de Comté has the highest production of all French AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée )cheeses. In 2016, 5193 tons of Comté cheese were exported directly by companies in the sector [1].

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Tjolöholm Christmas 2017

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Our first julbord sitting at Tjolöholm Slott was in 2014. Tjolöholm Slott usually has two julbord sittings per day during julbord season. Although most pictures from 2014 indicate a clear silver-grey horizon from the garden out back of the castle grounds facing the sea, I think this year’s dining was distinctly selected for the lunch hour. This lunch hour sitting offered us a view of the castle grounds by daylight. Different to previous Christmas sittings, most notable this year was the opening of the basement as closet for guests, and glögg served at the respective tables of the guests. This shift of welcome glögg from common area to individual tables opened up the possibility for guests to move around the hall and dining areas in their own space and time, unstressed by crowd following procedures that usually accompanies julbord sittings as a means to facilitate crowd control experienced at other dining places. Variations in the annual Christmas decorations include the decorated tree in what was formerly designated as closet space. Activities to the event ran more smoothly this year, with the usual impeccable hospitality from the services team, and a more streamlined visualisation of the presentation of the julbord that gave plenty of room for guests to take their time exploring the julbord’s offerings.

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Future world in neon ArtScience Museum Singapore

By the lotus pond at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
Text & Photo © K Teng, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I remember sitting across Marina Bayfront in 2010, looking-on at the huge lotus shaped building in construction in what was to be the ArtScience Museum (ASM) at Marina Bay Sands Singapore [1]. In this visit to Singapore, I found myself sitting right beside that very lotus shaped building by its lotus pond. The museum opened in 2011 and currently features 21 gallery spaces that showcases artworks that incorporate science and technology. As permanent installation, ASM has Future World, produced by teamLab, a Japanese founded interdisciplinary art collective headquartered in Tokyo. teamLab produces interactive digital installations exhibited globally, spanning countries from Europe to Asia-Pacific. They have permanent installations located in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Their permanent installations opened in Singapore at both the National Museum of Singapore and ASM in 2016. In Sep. 2018, their work Au-delà des limites will be on exhibit in Paris, France [2].

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Pintxos, a culinary signature of Basque Country, Spain

I sit in the shared dining space of the stalls of the market place at the Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The glass of deep burgundy Viña Real Crianza 2014, is a wine made in the region just south of Bilbao.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I resesarched the weather forecast ahead of landing in Bilbao, a city located north of Spain in the autonomous Basque region, Bay of Biscay. It was advised that the days in Bilbao during the RESER 2017 conference would be rainy and I should bring an umbrella. I had not however read up too much on the culinary scene of Basque Country Spain. I assumed it would be plenty of tapas, sangria and wines, perhaps much like that to be found in Barcelona, when I was there for the International Faculty Program (IFP) 2011 program at IESE Business School. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not so much tapas as pintxos to be discovered as a social event with the intention that one could move from eatery to eatery, exploring in one evening, different atmospheres of different places*. If living in Bilbao or Basque Country Spain in general, I would expect to slow down the nomadic pintxos eating, taking one place for one evening at a time, if not making your own creative version at home. And instead of sangria to the food, Txakoli, a very dry white wine produced in the region, was suggested as accompanying drink to pintxos.

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Guernica, Province of Biscay, Basque Country Spain

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Guernica, Basque Country Spain
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

About an hour’s train ride away from Bilbao, Spain, is the town of Guernica or Gernika-Lumo. Basque Country outside of the provincial capital influences and its industries is heterogenous. Passing by in a train, a fleeting glance could make one label agricultural Basque region as ‘rural’ or ‘traditional’, termed as such because these places have either remained untouched by urbanisation, with no evident applications of modern technologies and/or have not reached mass consumerism [1]. But a closer study indicates that alongisde a mixed agricultural economy is an impressive inshore fishing sector supported by small and medium enterprises complements local agriculture, whose economic influence is impactful enough to make changes to the daily lifestyles of its people from how they allocate time between work and leisure, and what forms of entertainment they prefer [1].

For Gernika-Lumo, not a hundred years have passed since the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. Under the soft drizzle of the late summer’s rain, Guernica, or Gernika which is the Basque spelling, looks very different than anyone more familiar with Picasso’s representation or indeed the old journal films of the late 1930s would have lead anyone to expect.The bombing of Guernica on 26 Apr. 1937 was made on the personal request of Francisco Franco, who at the time enjoyed military support from nazi Germany and fascist Italy. The devastation of Guernica was an experiment and a way to decide in a discussion within the new Nazi Luftwaffe, if an enough horrible attack on defenseless civilians would lead them to give up and surrender, or to just fight harder. This was the first intentional terror bombing of civilians in the history of modern warfare. The torn civilians of Guernica did give up. The lesson was learnt, and this dragon seed led to names of events that we know more of such as Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

At the time, the bombing of Guernica created a worldwide uproar and made visible the divide between the power hungry and the artistic, more civilized part of humanity. The latter are best represented by Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, which in my view, might well also have been the inspiration to the architecture of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum.

Today, Guernica has become an international symbol of peace [2] due the senseless violence and waste its people endured during the hours of uninterrupted destruction. The onslaught left 70% of the town completely destroyed and most of the rest, seriously damaged. Guernica was in the early 1900s, a small market city with hardly more than 6,000 inhabitants. Some accounts say that almost one third of them perished in the attack that went on in wave after wave with different kinds of bombs, from light to heavy to fire bombs. The central idea was to force people into shelter, and then set fire to the rubble. Today, the city is inhabited with slightly more than 16,000 people.

For someone coming from outside of Spain, I find the beautifully kept surroundings and quiet streets difficult to reconcile with its painful past.

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Strawberry and shrimp

At Brogyllen konditori, Västra Hamngatan, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It might have been as early as 2003 or 2004 during my first years living in Sweden, that I visited Brogyllen. Brogyllen konditori is a bakery-café located at the southwest corner of Hamngatan in the city of Gothenburg. The café opened early, at half past seven in the morning, and my doctoral studies courses usually began at nine. This gave me ample time to sit, have coffee with a Swedish kladdkaka, a sweet, sticky chocolate fudgecake served with whipped cream on top, and watch the trams go by. In a routine sitting, I could almost tell the time by the tram number that went past. From the time I sat down, by three tram no. 2s gone by, it would be about time to leave for university campus grounds.

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Mincemeat pie, a takeaway from Scotland

Mincemeat pie, the savoury kind.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

At about midsummer in June this year, I was in Glasgow, Scotland, for the EURAM 2017 conference. During the days in Glasgow, I took the opportunity to explore the city’s eateries and local fare. First thing I had wanted to try when in Scotland was haggis. This, I found already on the first day’s lunch hour whilst exploring the streets closest to the conference venue, which was the University of Strathclyde, the campus nearest George Square.

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Styrsö Uttervik



At Styrsö Uttervik, a seaside bathing spot well-liked by both locals and visitors to the Swedish west coast during the summer months.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

There are a number of seaside bathing spots to go to when visiting the harbour city of Gothenburg. Some of the most scenic of swim areas can be found at the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg, along the Swedish west coast. Styrsö Uttervik, located at the island of Styrsö is one of them.

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