Pickled cucumber Swedish style 2020

The Swedish Västeråsgurka is a late summer harvest. Often turned into a delicious pickle for sandwiches, we hope this year´s harvest will make enough jars to find their way to the Christmas table.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

It´s rewarding to see your spring planting efforts bloom and fruit. This year´s growing was alright. There was a short strawberry season, literally lasting about a month when we could get strawberries from the garden. But the tomatoes and Västeråsgurka (a variety of cucumbers known to grow in Västerås, Sweden) are still growing, and we get small harvests now and again.

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Summer BBQ, Styrsö, Sweden 2020

Fava bean burger with ketchup, tzatziki and mayonnaise, Styrsö, Sweden.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Swedish summers are marked by numerous BBQ-parties. Sometimes, it can feel as if you´re in an implicit neighbourhood race to fill the air with the aromas of BBQ grilled foods. I was in fact, introduced to the Swedish BBQ-party on my very first trip to Sweden when I was still in my university days. It was mid-May and a warm 10 degress celcius outdoors. I met with a group of young men with beer in hand. They lounged in nothing but shorts in beach chairs pulled up close to the smoking BBQ pit. I wore an orange knitted turtleneck sweater and thought I should really have brought a light jacket with me. I was promptly introduced to the group of BBQ party-goers, some of whom looked at me as if they had questions to ask. My introduction was then followed by “she´s from Singapore”, to which there was an acknowledged round of nods. Even if the smell of meat on the BBQ grill was fantastic, after ten minutes, I politely asked if I could go indoors to warm my hands on the oven stove.

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Black turtle beans with Herbs de Provence marinara sauce

Black turtle beans or svarta böner as they are known in Sweden, baked in the shape of spheres, served atop fresh tagliatelle. The baked black turtle beans are smothered in a marinara sauce infused with Herbs de Provence and parmesan. The delicate green leaf-stems on top of the dish is Olivenurt (Santolina Viridis). This herb is native to the Mediterranean and in this case, was imported from a cultivator from Denmark. It is highly aromatic of olives and popular uses include pasta, pizza, salads, meat / fish cooking.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

An pan (Japanese red bean bun), Dou Sha Bao (Chinese sweet, steamed, red bean buns), Penang Tau Sar Piah made with savoury green bean filling and Ling Yong Bao (sweet lotus seed paste steamed buns) are some identifiable warm aromas of the Singapore morning hawker centres, usually located adjacent to wet markets. These sweet and savoury food items were also some of my early childhood favourite eats.

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A walk around Marstrand island, Sweden

Onboard a ferry, going across to Marstrand island, Marstrand harbour, Sweden. The ferry ride is about 5 minutes, crossing the channel.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

The high cirrus clouds signalled fair weather for the day and it looked perfect for a drive up along the Swedish west coast. We headed for Marstrand, a pearl of an island for summer visits located in the Kungälv Municipality of Sweden. This island is a well loved tourist destination. We too, love this place and this day’s drive would be the second sweep around Marstrand to see if we would make it out to Marstrand island this summer.

Under the global circumstances of uncertain international travel and increased domestic travel in 2020, an indication that it was a good day to hop across to Marstrand island was the short and quick moving queue of people waiting to board the ferry. There are 2 ferries that run consecutively, which allows for fewer passengers onboard, without the sacrifice of travel time to Marstrand island. In the summer of last year, the ferry queue snaked around the ticketing house and up into the lanes where the nearest grocery store is located. On this visit, the ferry queue was short, going about less than 20m from ferry terminal to where the fruit stand was located. For sale at the fruit stand were locally grown, organic strawberries. Lovely and delicious reds in boxes if you wanted to bring some with you to Marstrand island.

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Sinnenas Trädgård, Marstrand, Sweden

At Sinnenas Trädgård, Marstrand, Sweden.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

After completing the morning’s errands of some grocery shopping, the brilliant Swedish west coast weather beckoned us in taking a slightly longer drive up the length of the coast. We decided to head to Marstrand, which was a comfortable distance from our grocery shopping place of the day. Driving up into the roundabout of the ferry terminal to Marstrand, we noted that it was not overly crowded. Perfect indication to buy two ferry tickets to cross over to Marstrand.

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Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser, Kongahälla Shopping Center, Swedish west coast 2020

Shrimp, salmon and cheese salad at Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser, Kungälv, Swedish west coast.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Although culinarily fairly homogeneous (take for example, varieties of preserved herring and boiled potatoes and/or meatballs with lingonberry jam), the food in Sweden does carry regional variations and characteristics. Seafood and fish tend to distinctly characterise west coast Swedish regional food, not only in terms of the variety of food types but how they are prepared, plated and eaten.

There is little chance at getting bored with the vareity of pescatarian food creations in the Swedish west coast region. This year’s new find is Kungälvsröra and the Kungälvsbakelse from Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser. Kungälvsröra is a creamy mixture of shrimp and mayonnaise with red onion and dill. Kungälvsbakelse, is Kungälvsröra served on top of seeded dark rye bread and topped with savoury lemon gel. These delicious mirror glazed lemony confections are sold in neat squares that on quick glance over the counter, resemble a sweet lemon curd dessert.

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Styrsö Bratten, Styrsö, Sweden

Text & Photo / Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

A morning view from a ferry from Styrsö Bratten. Styrsö is a southern archipelago island to the city of Gothenburg, located along the Swedish west coast with about 1400 inhabitants. The island has several popular summer bathing spots that include Uttervik (north-west of Styrsö), Sandvik (north) and small sandy beach pockets right at Styrsö Bratten (north-east of Styrsö) where the boats dock.

Tjörn and Restaurang Tjörnbron, Sweden

Along the Swedish west coast across the islands of Tjörn and Orust, Sweden, Summer 2020.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

If you take the E6 expressway from the city of Gothenburg by car, you’ll get to the islands of Tjörn and Orust in about 45 mins. The twin islands are perfectly charming places to visit particularly during the summer months, with many antique shops for browing, and cafés to serve as rest stops.

It was just about lunch time when we drove across the Tjörn bridge, so we thought to try lunch at Restaurang Tjörnbron. Known for its excellent menu and friendly service, Restaurang Tjörnbron is located at one of west coast Sweden’s most scenic spots, at the top of a lookout point into the waters of Tjörn, right at the corner of the bridge.

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Creel caught Scampi (Langoustine): A Swedish west coast delicacy

Scampi (Nephrops norvegicus) is a stable population European crustacean that live primarily in the Nordic oceans. Differing from sweet water crayfishes, this crustacean is available all year round only depending on demand and weather. These scampi are KRAV-certified [1]. KRAV is a sustainability standard for the labelling of fish that has been farmed / harvested ecologically in Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

While food quality has always been a topic of discussion, food sustainability has in the past decades become a subject of increasing interest for consumers [2-4]. Consumers today are more educated on food ecology and the impact of food production on the environment and climate. They often inquire at the shops after product origin and methods of harvest / farming. They also want to know about plant (how much use of pesticides?) and animal (how humane were the animals treated?) welfare. In the Nordic countries, even prior to Covid-19 travel and trade restrictions, short food supply chains (SFSC) were in the early 2000s, being discussed and implemented as means to sustainable food consumption and food safety [5]. In Sweden, “närodlat” (regionally produced) and in Norway, “kortreist” are selling arguments that allow for agri-products and food services to command higher prices.

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Midsummer’s reflections 2020

Pickings from the garden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

On Saturday, 20 June 2020, Sweden celebrated Midsummer’s Day. A celebration that traditionally coincides with the summer solstice. Usually the inevitable – How’s your Midsummer this year? question, would be answered with the similarly inevitable reply; – As usual. Plus 10 degrees, and rain. – Ah, same as New Year’s eve then, – Yep.

It might sound sarcastic but really, I can’t think of a sunny Midsummer’s Day since I first landed in Sweden in 2002. I remember when I first landed that I wrote home to my parents and told, “Sweden got only two seasons leh”. They had winter, which was cold and wet, with possibility of some snow, and summer, which was cold and wet, with no snow. This year was certainly different. There’s been as much sun as you could wish for, in Sweden. I can only assume that this, in some kind of quantum entanglement of weather, is dependent on me having relocated to Tromsø, the very arctic part of Norway. Living in Tromsø by the way, has given me a completely new understanding of winter, and summer. Tromsø also has only two seasons. Winter, without daylight, and summer, with daylight. Endless dayligt. Sunrise in February and sunset basically in November. This said, to be fair to Sweden, I have over the years managed to get some nice midsummer pictures in my album labelled “Sweden”.

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Hemgjord leverpastej and pâté de campagne

A Swedish hemgjord leverpastej [1] is a rich spreadable pâté that complements most festive tables in Sweden from Christmas to Easter. Here, it´s served with cumberland sauce and French cornichons.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

In the midst of my 2019 Christmas marketing in Gothenburg city´s oldest market place, Saluhallen, I picked up by chance, the most wonderful rustic/country pâté made with the livers of duck, chicken and pork. The terrine that sat on the market counter simply read “3 Confit – Duck, Chicken, Pork” and it looked like a fine spreadable pâté. We bought some, took it home for our Christmas table and it was such a treat that I went back to Saluhallen, determined to wrap some to bring with me to Northern Norway for after the New Year´s. But there was none to be had, with the reason given by the charcuterie, “That is a very special dish, we only order it for Christmas.”

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Semla of the Year 2020 at Ahlströms Konditori, Gothenburg, Sweden

Settling in at Ahlströms Konditori in Gothenburg, Sweden, for that semla fika.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

It’s been a number of years since I stepped into Ahlströms Konditori, one of Gothenburg city’s oldest confectionaries. Here, you’ll find that the late morning crowd consists mostly retired elderly individuals. They sit, absorbed in their own worlds, and read the news in a scene that could come from any early 1900 Paris café postcard. It´s a beautiful scene to observe. The atmosphere at Ahlströms is languid but very much cheerful. The city’s local newspapers have done their annual semlor best-in-test for 2020, and Ahlströms won top-3 for serving up the city’s best semlor.

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Christmas magic at MR Cake, Gothenburg, Sweden 2019

At MR Cake bakery and café in Gothenburg, Sweden. Offering some of the city’s most visually appealing and innovative desserts, MR Cake is located across Stenpiren at the corner of Comfort Hotel.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Some things in life are meant to be. For example, serendipitously finding my way during lunch hour on the eve of the eve of Christmas, to MR Cake in Gothenburg.

I had been away from Gothenburg for a while, but that was enough given time for some substantial changes to be made in the city centre, with new bridges and roads constructed, and more delightfully, new cafés, eateries and restaurants lining the city’s harbour front.

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Christmas marketing in Gothenburg, Sweden 2019

At Gothenburg’s Saluhallen located at Kungstorget, central Gothenburg. Saluhallen is an old-fashioned wet market cum food hall that offers customers direct contact with regional agri-food producers, as well as importers of produce such as cheeses, vegetables and meats.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a little bit of a shouting match at the Christmas market this year at the heart of Gothenburg city, only because there were so many people in an enclosed market hall that the arena resembled more like a stock exchange floor. People used sign language to get their orders across to the counters, and the traders signalled right back, which cashier counter had the shortest waiting queue. There was no shortest waiting queue to any one cashier.

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Farmer’s autumn market, Haga, Gothenburg

Saturday morning marketing in Haga, Gothenburg. Picking up autumn harvests for sale from farms in the surrounding region of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well, no. Not quite. But yesterday morning was a little wet and windy to do some proper marketing. Still, the charming cobbled streets of Haga in Gothenburg is always inviting, rain or shine.

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Skärhamn, Swedish west coast, summer 2019

At Skärhamn, about an hour’s drive upcoast from Gothenburg, sitting with a docked fleet of Norwegian wood boats, built in the late 1800s. These boats were part of the Hurum Trebåtsfestival 2019 that took place between 31 May and 2 June 2019 in Sætre, near Oslo, Norway. They are here for the Swedish Träbåtsfestival in Skärhamn.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It felt like an exchange of realities when we stepped off the ferry that took us from Strysö to Saltholmen. Saltholmen is the gateway ferry terminal that leads to the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg city. We met with large numbers of people, most were crowds of tourists intent on a summer day’s visit the southern archipelago. The southern archipelago islands are exotic. With beautiful bathing spots and large yachts docked strategically around the islands, in front of equally beautifull coastal houses, the southern archipelago of Gothenburg is Sweden’s Côte d’Azur. So it felt surreal that we would escape this reality (if only for a few hours), and head in the opposite direction of the general Saltholmen crowd. We were taking a drive further upcoast to a small fishing village called Skärhamn, located at Tjörn. It’s one of my favourite summer-dos.

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Styrsö festival weekend. 5-6 July 2019.

Styrsö, Swedish west coast, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tourism is certainly in full swing this summer at the southern archipelago of Gothenburg. 5-6 July 2019 marks the much awaited Styrsö Festival 2019 (styrsofestival.se) with 20 music artists performing over Friday and Saturday. By noon, the ferries were packed with visitors on their way to the islands, ready to party! With slight winds and clear skies, we’ll be expecting an electric evening with good music at Styrsö Bratten.

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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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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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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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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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Passion för Mat 2018 walkabout

Trying out a bite bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

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

A Christmas setting. At Tjolöholms Slott, Sweden, 2017.
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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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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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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Culinary Team West of Sweden, Spring Dinner 2017

A dessert of coconut ice-cream with puréed mango, yuzu and roasted pineapple.
Culinary Team West of Sweden [1] and the Swedish Chefs Association [2] present their Spring Dinner 2017 at Ester Mosessons gymnasium, 12 June 2017.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Outdoors at Lindholmen harbour in Gothenburg, gusts of spring/summer seawinds threatened to let fly loosely fastened tarpaulin on smaller boats docked rocking in choppy waters. Indoors, at Ester Mossessons gymnasium along Utvecklingsgatan 4, a calmer, more inviting atmosphere beckoned to guests of the Culinary Team West of Sweden’s spring dinner 2017 held on 12 June 2017.

Members of the board of the Swedish Chefs Association stood by the entrance in greeting of friends and associates. We were invited to place our coats in a designated cloak room and thereafter proceed into a room with dining tables that were set with several wine glasses to each person, the table centres lit with black candles. We seemed to lack nothing in terms of how the evening’s event was spatially organized.

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Styrsö Valborg 2017

Valborgsmässoafton with perfect weather along the Swedish west coast for a funfair and playing outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It is the weekend of the Swedish Valborg in celebration of Saint Walburga. Despite its naming heritage, this festivity has little to do with religion but rather everything to do with the ushering in of spring. Across the land, large bonfires are lit in symbol of cleansing of the past (plus, a fantastic way to getting rid of unwanted wooden furniture) and welcoming the season that sees trees visibly come back to life and flowers blossom. There are few, if hardly any, Swedish festivities that do not in essence celebrate fertility in one form or another. It is only that some festivities have a touch more explicit use of fertility symbols than others.

As indication that globalisation and cultural confluence was already in place thousands of years before scholastic theorising, in Viking folklore the lighting of a bonfire is believed to scare off witches and evil spirits, this night being the night when witches gather on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany. Sweden and the Nordic region would be just a swish of a broomstick’s flight away from the woods of central Germany, so one could never be too cautious. The larger the fire, the better. On the practical side, the bonfires also work well in keeping predatory animals such as foxes away from newborn farm animals who are often let out to graze freely from the beginning of May.

On Styrsö, an island located in the southern archipelago of Gothenburg, Valborg is celebrated with a funfair held on the island’s school grounds filled with games, bingo lottery playing and traditional Swedish fika fare such as cinnamon rolls, marzipan filled sugar cakes topped with various fruits and creams. Come evening, a bonfire is lit and neighbours and friends gather around the bonfire in song and dance. Apart from keeping witches away, the presence of a bonfire fills all with anticipation of the long summer nights to come. Nights presumably similarly filled with more drink, song and dance.

Donated Flee market bargains for the benefit of the 5th Year annual School outings.

Face painting.

Flee market bargain hunting. Both sad and a blessing that you can now have printed books for next to nothing.
I haven’t decided yet if I should be sad about this or just dig in and carry home the loot…

– That’s a monstrosity of a barbecue grill! Who would want such a thing in their garden? – Who wouldn’t?
At this time the highest bid was about $50 USD. I certainly hope they got much more for it at the end of the day. Imagine how quick you could become the happy owner of something you didn’t knew existed just a few minutes earlier. Flee markets are plain dangerous.

In that sense, books are much safer.

Not too far from the funfair grounds is this sheep farm, the quiet of which is punctuated with the occasional bleats of the tiniest of bouncing balls of black, tight ringlet wool.

The sweetest. This one took the time to come say hello to us.

Pretending not to be curious this soon to be mother of a lamb, nibbled its way towards us on the sparse fresh grass strands.

We had an instant connect with her. So amazingly alive and so closely related to us humans.

Located center of the funfair grounds, a café tent pitched and ready for guests with traditional Swedish fika items such as these cinnamon knots.

Carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate swiss rolls in the background topped with fresh strawberries.

Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

Highlights from Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden. At the Höganäs Saluhall exhibit stall who have travelled from Mölle, Sweden to be at this Gothenburg tradefair.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Gothenburg’s annual culinary fair (24-26 Feb. 2017) is one of my absolute trade fairs to visit, not only because the trade fair grounds at Eriksbergshallen provides a meeting place for the small network of culinary experts that I have gotten to know over the years, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with new traders with new expertise and experiences to share. The fair’s Kitchen School that informs the public on food processes, best recipes and best methods of cooking was progressing at full speed when we arrived on scene, where the crowd looked genuinely interested and enthusiastic. Making our rounds, this post brings you some pictures and highlights of Passion för Mat 2017.

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Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

A fox, with a pipe attached to its mouth. It was by far one of the more sophisticated logos hanging upon an exhibition stand at the expansive Erikbergshallen food fair, Passion för Mat 2017. For the love of clean lines, grey tones and empty space in the midst of a Saturday evening crowd at Gothenburg’s annual culinary trade fair, I approached the stall to find Per Nordby, owner and entrepreneur to globally sourced single coffee bean plantations, grinding some coffee beans. A couple of minutes later, he turned around and grinned broadly in our direction. Anything we wanted? Coffee perhaps? Sure.

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Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017

Passion för Mat 2017

The chickens that laid these eggs have a mandatory company rule to follow – they must spend half of their time in a year roaming free, outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro E Jacobsson 2017

Fettisdagen is just about two days away, which means, a long way to Easter yet. Still, these eggs sitting so happy in the basket as they were couldn’t help but make me put shades of striped pastels and polka dots on them in view of Easter. Continue reading “Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017”

The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016

Inside the little shop Göteborgs Choklad & Karamellfabrik, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Part of the fun of the winter’s festive season in Sweden, is to make time to visit the various Christmas markets. Located in a corner of Kronhusgården at Kronhuset, the city of Gothenburg’s oldest secular building designed by royal architect Simon de la Vallée and built from 1643 to 1654, sits Gothenburg’s Chocolate and Caramel Factory. It’s the kind of a small chocolate shop that reminds me of some scenes described in Enid Blyton’s stories that I read from when I was a little girl. With old fashioned wallpapers and the numerous clocks that adorn the wall, this shop is a little magic come winter evenings. Place chocolate concoctions of different sorts in the middle of it all and you have a place that even I might find difficult to walk out of even after acquiring what I want packaged and bowed in a brown paper bag. Continue reading “The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2016

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish yuletide table sitting, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Upon first reading A Christmas Carol there appears little evidence of anxiety. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge would seem to be the least anxious person imaginable. A belligerent, spiteful man, he seems strikingly sure of himself. However, a closer reading of the text from an existential standpoint shows that this is hardly the case. Scrooge, from the outset, is a cold, nasty and mean-spirited character. As the story opens, he turns down his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner; begrudges his clerk’s only holiday in the year; refuses to contribute to charity; frightens a carol singer; and violently claims that “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” (48). Where is anxiety to be found in such a stance? Everywhere, I suggest.” [1:744]

A Christmas Carol is a story I grew up with, having first watched Walt Disney’s version Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983. The Charles Dickens read came later. A characteristic of narratives by Dickens is how I’ve found to be able to revisit protagonists and characters presented in his novels from various perspectives. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2016”

Styrsö Sandvik, 2016

Mermaid in distress

Styrsö Sandvik guest harbour [1], Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Styrsö Sandvik was one of the best sandy beaches that the old summer resort Styrsö ever had in the 19th century. But landscapes evolve and eventually, modern times caught up with even this small part of the world when the local fishing fleet decided they needed a current and better protected harbour. So it was that the long sandy beach so much appreciated by the locals as well as the city slanker* (as they were called at the time by the locals in local dialect), were no more.

Now in the current millennium the tide is turning again and the tourist, service and “experience” industry is reclaiming territory. The novelty and charm of harbours such as this for visitors for the moment is to get to experience first hand, island life and island living. Docked in this harbour are larger fishing boats, and in neat piles by dockside are lobster and crab nets for when it is season.

The fish harbour shares its space as guest harbour for pleasure yachts complete with harbour café, neat bathing facilities, a children’s playground and a barbecue pit for the occasional older children who might want spare ribs and a beer. Continue reading “Styrsö Sandvik, 2016”

Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016

Flying into Sweden on an aerial view before landing, I continue to marvel at how green the country is. More green than I have ever seen before even if I was born in equatorial tropical rainforest region, this Scandinavian landscape far north of the globe has its green interspersed with water fills of varying dimensions. The first few years of my being here which is now more than a decade ago, I thought nothing much of it. There was nothing to see, just green. Today, the sight of the Nordic tree tops interspersed with water, as far as the eye takes you, is a treasured moment of aerial encounter. And contrary to my initial impression, there is a lot to see.

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Most of Sweden is very scenic. The panoramic terrains from Skåne in the South of Sweden to Lappland, way north of the arctic circle, is distinct and different.

The west coast of Sweden is the country’s own riviera. Besides facing the North Sea and the Atlantic, it is kept warmer than the rest of Sweden by the Gulf Stream that passes just outside its coast. The west coast goes from long sandy beaches in the South until you hit the old Viking territories, around Gothenburg. From there and up north, the terrain becomes rocky and the coast is cut into hundreds of large and small islands, separated by steep cliffs and deep fjords.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016 Continue reading “Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016”

Latticework for little gherkins

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.

Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.

Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit. Continue reading “Latticework for little gherkins”

Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe

22 Jun. 2016. Munich, Germany.
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Louis Vuitton,  München Residenzpost, Germany  2016.

Louis Vuitton, München Residenzpost, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2016

– You know there’s nothing much in Munich if you’re not into beer guzzling or wurst eating.
– I could do pork knuckles.
– Schweinshaxe. No, you don’t.
– No, you’re right, I don’t. And stop swearing at me.

I thought Munich one of the prettiest most liveable cities I’ve thus far visited. From the chimes of the clock tower in the city centre that advise the time of day and task to accomplish before sundown to the historic cathedrals built around the old market square, Munich is anything but nothing much.

I didn’t need to look for it. I knew I would come across it just like so, an old friend along the street. And I did. The Louis Vuitton boutique located along Residenzstraße.

Continue reading “Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe”