Category: Sweden

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

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Highlights from Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden.
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.

Continue reading “Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden”

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

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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.

Continue reading “Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden”

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”

On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik

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Styrsö Halsvik 2017
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

“A thing is right when it embraces the stability and beauty of the total ecosystem. It is wrong when it damages it.” Marjorie Kelly, quoting Stephan Harding (Kelly in Capra & Luisi 2014:402). Continue reading “On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik”

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”

Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg

Domaine Wines Sweden
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Passion för Mat 2016

A sample of wines from Domaine Wines Sweden at Passion för Mat 2016 (26-28 Feb.), Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just about a decade ago, the idea of using locally produced raw ingredients saw its effects of the pulling together of marketing efforts of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage industry. One such marketplace that facilitated the actualisation of the ideology of ‘locally produced’ that in turn helped Sweden rediscover their own culinary heritage that might have even breathed life to the current Nordic cuisine scene is the food trade fair, Passion för Mat that began in 2008 at Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg.

This year’s theme for the food fair is “Food with Identity”. First that came to my mind on the theme were the lengthy, interesting and sometimes heated Swedish midsummer night debates with friends of the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy on the heritage and origins of certain wines and cheeses, particularly from France and Italy. Continue reading “Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg”

January winter 2016, Swedish west coast

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

– I wanted to see this place in winter. I wanted to know what it looked like with snow all around.
– Well yes, you’re in luck. Here is the Nordic gods boasting of what they can do, tinting the sky in complement to the waters. Would you like your hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon, or vodka?
Swedish west coast

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016 Continue reading “January winter 2016, Swedish west coast”

Winter festive, Göteborg 2015

Winter festive, streets of Gothenburg

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

On the way to market, eve of Christmas eve, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After planning for weeks to explore the festive winter markets whether in Gothenburg or Västerås, I went right ahead and missed every single one of them, in both cities.

This series of miss-events reminded me of what was told of me years ago, “For you, my dear, planning doesn’t work. You might as well give up on planning things altogether.” Perplexed at the woman’s absolute tone of voice, I had asked the woman who seemed so convinced of my stars, “What do you mean ‘planning doesn’t work’? I plan all the time!”, “Exactly what I said” she promptly replied, “And it doesn’t work for you.” I shot her a look of one raised eyebrow, expecting an elaboration on her part. But I received no further elaboration. I watched as she continued to peer with furrowed brows, into the astrological charts she had unfolded on the table in front of her. Continue reading “Winter festive, Göteborg 2015”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2015

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish Jultide Table sitting, 2015.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I had just voiced the observation that Swedish Christmas table sittings were so much more homogeneous than Singapore Christmas table sittings when I stepped through the heavy carved wooden doors of Tjolöholm Castle and found on the dessert table – Crannachan – a traditional Scottish Christmas dessert made with raspberries, whiskey, cream and oats.

The Crannachan sat right next to the very English Christmas pudding, a close cousin of the dark Christmas fruitcake drenched in rum that the Cordeiros are so fond of during jultide, weddings, baptism, and most any other family designated festive day through the year. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2015”

Marketplaces: converging inspirations

Saluhallen Västerås

Saluhallen Slakteriet, Västerås, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Whilst the field of transdisciplinary research contemplates the effectiveness of the use of metaphors as a means to transcend boundaries between different fields of academic research, walk the streets of Västerås on a sightsee tour and you’ll find anything but the use of metaphors in street names or buildings, the sign designating the name of the road being metaphor enough. There is one skyscraper in the entire city, and that is aptly called, ‘The Skyscraper’. This weekend, I had the opportunity to go a little farther out of the city centre to the former abattoir, to a farmer’s market called ‘The Market Slaughterhouse’. You’ll find this market right next to the city’s landmark energy plant in the midst of a romantic industrial setting. Most street and building names are so straightly connected to the city’s power and energy industrial roots that one might come to think that the effort of keeping things in two dimensional vectors was considered effort enough in deployment of metaphor in itself.

Having observed two vector namings in three dimensional space, entering Saluhallen Slakteriet came as a surprise visual Continue reading “Marketplaces: converging inspirations”

Weekend farmers market, Västerås

Farmers market, Västerås

This piece of public art, the ASEA stream, depicts people cycling to work. It sits by Stora Torget and is the creation of Västerås artist B G Broström. Cycling remains one of the preferred means of transport in this city.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The move from Gothenburg to Västerås in Sweden with a brief visit to Maastricht in Netherlands prior to Västerås is surreal. It is not only that these two cities are one of the oldest in Europe dating back to 1000 AD or earlier, but their size and layout are fairly comparable. Both cities are best reached by train, and both have its city centre close to the train station that is navigable on foot, with having a bicycle making navigation a notch more efficient on their cobble paved streets. In the case of Västerås, one can literally see the undulations of the cobbled streets from the inner-city radiating outwards from the river. Reminiscent of the structures of Rome (although less fantastic), newer constructions in Västerås have been built upon older constructions, making the newer parts of the city sit on higher ground.

As weekend unfurls, the city comes to life most prominently with a weekend farmers market located at Stora Torget. The large square that hosts the market place sits in the oldest quarters at the heart of town, just alongside Svartån and a block away from the three Michelin Guide starred Västerås Domkyrka that is also one of Sweden’s episcopal see. Continue reading “Weekend farmers market, Västerås”

Philosophies of summer drives

Laxå

View from sitting at the edge of one of Sweden’s many waterways.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It seems like summer decided to begin just as the tail-end of its official months with many regions of Sweden feeling warm as toast. If not too warm, a favourite thing to do is to get in the car and do small road trips, anywhere from between two hour to three hour drives from Gothenburg that leaves quite a radius of interesting exploration.

While there’s been a culture of second-hand findings where Swedes readily barter or trade at low cost things tired of or unwanted to what they want, it has only been in the past couple of years that antique shop hopping and second-hand goods browsing has really taken off, much due to the hipster culture and greater awareness of the sourcing of ecological produce. It is just about these past years that see the those born from the 1990s and forwards step out of school and into the labour force, bringing with them their own awareness and motivations into their living interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

It was on one of these summer drives where we decided to absolutely ignore the voice of the GPS nicely suckered onto the windshield insisting that we go where we should go that we found an interesting farmhouse set up with several barnyards for different needs. There was the family house of medium size, then there were two barns that housed a vintage shop and a café. Continue reading “Philosophies of summer drives”

Finally, a strawberry harvest!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, strawberry harvest, strawberries and cream, 2015

Enjoying strawberries, the Swedish old fashioned way.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

This year, Sweden saw one of its coldest and rainiest Junes in twenty years. Between 1920 and 1991, it has happened only once that temperatures in the month of June had not gone upwards of 25 centigrade, until now. The Västerås cucumbers know this, so they’ve refused to grow, insisting on a bedding temperature of at least 14 centigrade before showing themselves. It was a pleasant surprise however, to have found that the strawberries thought it was alright to unfold their leaves, flower and produce fruits that are now ripening heavy on the soil beds.

In traditional Swedish farmlands, strawberries as with most other fruits, were summer luxuries. Their presence at all on the outdoor tables depended much upon the proper amounts of rain and sun. As soon as the strawberries were ripened and picked, it would also be customary to go into the barnyard and get some fresh cream straight from the cows.

If there was a favourite way of enjoying freshly picked strawberries, it would be that time honoured manner in having them with cream, generously dusted over with sugar.

That, and curling under the bed covers with a good book and a hot chocolate. Best summer evening doing. Continue reading “Finally, a strawberry harvest!”

Kullen Lighthouse, Höganäs, Sweden

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Kullen Lighthouse 16

Kullen Lighthouse sits atop a cliff, at the apex of the Kullaberg Peninsula in the southwest Swedish coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Being in Mölle to attend the 17th annual conference on European Integration in Swedish Economic Research, SNEE 2015, provided the opportunity to visit Kullen Lighthouse or Kullens fyr in the neighbouring town of Höganäs. Continue reading “Kullen Lighthouse, Höganäs, Sweden”

Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö v2015h

As part of broadening student perspectives in business and organization management education, Tom Estad, Associate Dean Undergraduate Student Matters from the Singapore Management University (SMU) had his students visit Swedish SMEs and learn about the history of trade between Scandinavia and Asia for the Business Study Mission (BSM) 2015 out at the southern archipelago of the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Some pictures to share of a study visit from a university in Singapore to the Swedish west coast.

Part of the narrative and evening’s conversation revolved around the historic trade relations between Sweden and China, and how Singapore en route continues till today, to be an important trade partner for Sweden.

The historical voyages of the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) more often than not started from this very spot where we now stood in the garden. Known as Vargö Håla, water was taken on board the ships from the surrounding fresh water wells, and good sailing winds were awaited in the waters between the islands right here, that through a peculiarity of the Gulf Stream was kept ice free even in the winters. Continue reading “Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast”

Separating the perennials from non-perennials

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home garden 2015a

Working with Lovage (known in Swedish as libbsticka). Lovage is a perennial herb with anti-inflammation properties, used in Sweden since the Medieval times by monks in apothecary concoctions. It also makes an excellent flavour enhancer to soups and stews, if not just tossed fresh into salads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It’s finally starting to get warmer outdoors. Spring will officially turn into summer in two weeks, so there is a lot to be done by nature in order to make that materialize in a convincing manner.

Outside of research in academia, I spend my time reading literature of various interests, these days interspersed with planting out some vegetables and flowers, that now seem grown up enough to have their feet plunked down in proper soil, from the plant nursery in which we have kept them the past few months. Continue reading “Separating the perennials from non-perennials”

The Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III

The Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

The Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III, at Eriksberg, awaiting her European Tour 2015.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It is one of those days with low dark clouds, heavy with water, framed against azure skies. At dockside, the rigging of the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III stood sturdy against the winds. The jests and laughter of the crew onboard that were working towards preparing the Ship for her European Tour 2015, sounded a contrasting more upbeat tone compared to the darkened, more sombre oak of the Ship. Continue reading “The Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III”

In belle époque, the eve of 2015.

1 Cheryl Marie Cordeiro IMG_0445a 598

In belle époque Dorsia, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

“The conception of nature as fundamentally semiotic is certainly not new; what is new, rather, is the nearly unanimous repression of this conception by learned society.” [1]

Language fills in when semethic interaction fails. But here, I would say that language tries to fill in what human cognition fails to connect and decode in nature. Because language is more often metaphor for living than living in itself, what is described is at best, approximate. Continue reading “In belle époque, the eve of 2015.”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 1O4P4249

By the Christmas tree in Tjolöholms Billiard Room.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, W Rose, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

It was a long, quiet walk up from among the large barns and horse carriage sheds where the guests parking lot was located, up the gravelled carriage way. With the rain and winds of Swedish west coast autumn, the weather felt as much Tudor as what greeted us up ahead the road, the Tjolöholm Slott. Except now, the short bushes around the garden were decked in the prettiest of Christmas lights, casting a dancing play of gold shadows on the building’s facade.

Up at the manor were two entrances. A front garden entrance, and a back garden / seafront facing entrance. Guests this evening were to enter through the doors facing the seafront, and for that, you needed to go around the manor. As we rounded the left corner to make a soon right, we were greeted with the view of the back garden, and framed as backdrop, the dark hues of a dramatic silvery sea. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2014”

Sjömagasinet julbord 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Hello there!
Glögg by an open fire, outside of the restaurant Sjömagasinet 2014.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

It’s the first week of Swedish Christmas table seatings at restaurants across the country. In Gothenburg, treating yourself to a julbord is a bit like getting to open your Christmas presents a little early. Even if the point with Christmas tables in Sweden is to offer traditional Swedish fare found year round at different junctures, it is still the manner in which the food is presented, plus the Chef de cuisine’s personality that comes through with each dish presented that provides all the fun in the dining experience. Continue reading “Sjömagasinet julbord 2014”

Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Maria Förssell Six

For the seventh year in a row, Tjolöholm Castle, a country house built towards the end of the 1800s in Halland, Sweden, hosts its skördefest (harvest festival). Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, with Maria Förssell Six, the person behind Tjolöholm Castle Harvest Festival 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

This year marked the seventh consecutive open harvest festival held at Tjolöholm Castle, along the coast just south of Gothenburg.

Tjolöholm was the last private mansion to be built in Sweden large enough to be denominated a castle. The area around the main house that has been tilled and farmed from medieval times, continues to remain prosperous as farmland today. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014”

Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014

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Apple cake served with vanilla cream sauce.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Thanks to generous neighbours, we once again had an abundance of apples to enjoy. Of the many recipes to choose from, cinnamon flavoured apple sauce to last throughout the winter, is a given.

Then thinking about the meal just enjoyed during my recent visit to Singapore, in the hands of the Valtulina family of Ristorante Da Valentino, where Perla Valtulina of Perla’s Pastry Boutique served up a most delicious apple tart as dolci, I decided to try my own hands at making an apple cake. Not that I can ever dream of matching hers, but lacking the possibility of having her gorgeous desserts in Singapore, this will have to do when back in Sweden. Continue reading “Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014”

A Swedish perspective on cucumber pickling, a matter of pragmatic luxury

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“Swedish Västerås” pickling cucumber crop from our own garden, scrubbed clean.
The preservation process depends entirely on the Lactobacillus bacteria that cover the skin of a naturally grown cucumber. These are removed by the food industry while harvesting as a matter of routine, thus complicating the home-pickling process.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Continue reading “A Swedish perspective on cucumber pickling, a matter of pragmatic luxury”

August crayfish 2014

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Crayfish. Often consumed, under the “soft August moonlight” (Swahn 2004:248), is popular in Sweden during the late summer months.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

From saving Middle Ages monks from starving too much during the long period of Easter Lent, and in 1522, being prescribed as a remedy for cholera, to later being seen as disgusting to eat because they were thought to be scavenger creatures that fed particularly on human corpses, the humble crayfish has seen its ups and downs in terms of reputation: Continue reading “August crayfish 2014”

Swedish west coast Harbour Festival, Donsö 2014

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“What do you mean this is not antique?”
Donsö hamnfest 2014

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

So autonomous are the archipelago islanders that closest neighbours, living in the same summer house, agreed to visit the harbour festival each at their own time and convenience, coming back to discuss, “So, what did you think about the harbour festival? Did you like it?”

Most noticeable this year was the lack of an urgent and pushy crowd, witnessed only a few years ago at this annual hamnfest. The change in general behaviour could perhaps be attributed to several factors, though two that come across as most likely are, that the festival this year seemed catered much more to children’s summer activities with a mini-Libseberg of sorts going on, and the other being the establishing of online communities of trade that the islanders had initiated, rendering trading in goods and services between themselves an everyday affair where the harbour festival provided a bolstering physical meeting point. Continue reading “Swedish west coast Harbour Festival, Donsö 2014”

Uttervik waves, Swedish westcoast archipelago

At the Swedish west coast archipelago, Styrsö.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

“It seems like the more I read, the less I understand of things and how they work.” was the exasperated comment.

He looked up from the daily broadsheet, his expression curious and silent.

“For example, if people knew about Gravesian theory, would they then choose to not intervene without first understanding the larger circumstance of society, how it worked in that context, and with that, the consequences to follow, following certain actions? Would they not know? They should know, no?”

He smiled then and nodded, “Things, go in waves. So I’m a little more optimistic than you are in that sense.” Continue reading “Uttervik waves, Swedish westcoast archipelago”

Sandvikshamnen, Styrsö 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

On top of a granite boulder that has been softly rounded by the Scandinavian Ice Sheet during the last ice age, ca. 11,000 BC at Sandvikshamnen, a guest harbour found at the Swedish west coast archipelago, Styrsö.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

The landscape of the Swedish west coast noticeably lacks sandy beaches. In place of sandy beaches are granite rocks, shaped by thousands of years of mostly cold winds and rains. These rocks have been around for quite awhile and have been smoothened round by the moving glacial ice sheets of the last ice age to render soft looking mounds, set against the horizon of the North sea. But appearances can be deceiving as the granite composites are anything but soft; comfortable only in as much as you can make on them yourself with brought cushions and fluffy beach towels. Continue reading “Sandvikshamnen, Styrsö 2014”

Sailing schools with wind in their sails

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö

A touch of Spain along the Swedish west coast: scarf, from Barri Gòtic in Barcelona 2011.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

For the first time in more than a decade, I stayed home during the summer, as in, remaining in Sweden during the warmest part of the year.

These evenings, we are often greeted by the monotonous rumble of high powered pleasure crafts going up and down the western archipelago, of people seeking yet another hip place to spend the night (where there seems to be as many rock festivals lined up along the Swedish west coast as you can anchor), alternatively, an absolutely silent and secluded natural harbour, where you will be lulled to sleep by the soft evening breeze to wake up to the curious pecking of some sea fowls finishing off your evening meal carelessly forgotten out in the open. Continue reading “Sailing schools with wind in their sails”

Tjörn and Orust, Swedish west coast

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The Tjörn Bridge is the landmark bridge that connects mainland Stenungsund
with the northern archipelago islands of Tjörn and Orust along the Swedish west coast.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Sweden is a large and not very densely populated country. Summers are as made for long drives and long conversations following the sun to see it touch the horizon before rising again.

Where increasingly, time is considered a personal luxury, Swedish summer months seemingly uninterrupted by nights are when you can truly feel the endless stretch of time ahead of you. Today we decided that we’d go barrel hunting. And for that, we headed towards the northern west coast archipelago of Tjörn and Orust, driving across Tjörnbron.

The modern bridge replaces the original Almöbron, built in 1960. In 1980, the bulk carrier MS Star Clipper hampered by heavy fog during the night, collided with the span of Almöbron. That night, several vehicles plunged into the sea before they were able to close the bridge. The foundations of Almöbron, can still be seen sitting directly under Tjörnbron. These foundations now seem to provide the perfect angling spot and in the nearby park, an Erik Nordström’s memorial was built to acknowledge his initiative for building Almöbron. Continue reading “Tjörn and Orust, Swedish west coast”

Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg

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No overcast sky would discourage the long queue for this warm lunch
served at the most popular stall at this food market.

Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2014

I love marketing. And what better way to market than to chance upon these tented food stalls at Järntorget in Gothenburg during lunch hour?

Despite the overcast sky that threatened a tropical rainstorm, it was a decision to head towards Järntorget for lunch that landed this serendipitous find of a food market, courtesy of Tentazioni of London. Continue reading “Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg”

Eriksbergshallen in ultramarine

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Eriksbergshallen, at Quality Hotel 11.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Summer is here and I don’t think any form of soft or coercive persuasion would keep Swedes on office grounds unless absolutely necessary. My years working in executive education also taught me that holding organisational seminars outside of office grounds could prove more productive for project work. The change of environment provides a welcome break in everyday routine that encourages the workings of the creative. It was for this reason that I found myself standing in the lobby of Quality Hotel 11 at Eriksbergshallen this morning, looking to congregate with the rest of my colleagues whose main focus is research in the European context. Continue reading “Eriksbergshallen in ultramarine”

“Rose Rose I Love You”

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The First of May 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

The symbolic flower for the month of May is the Rosa Chinensis or the China Rose, which shares the same name / title to one of my paternal grandfather’s favourite songs, “Rose Rose I Love You”.

That song was first recorded in 1940 by Yao Lee and then by Frankie Laine in 1951 with the lyrics of the latter unrelated to the original.

What I found interesting in Laine’s version is that the song references a girl, possibly named Rose, as a “flower of Malaya”. This reference brought me back to the origins of Clifford Pier in Singapore, built between 1927 and 1933 and named after Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor of the Straits Settlements at the time. The pier was one of the busiest embarkation and disembarkation points in Singapore that belonged to the Straits Settlements Crown Colony during the early 1900s, from immigrants to the trading of goods. That Customs House at Collyer Quay stands in close proximity to what was once Clifford Pier today is testament to its history.
Continue reading ““Rose Rose I Love You””

Gothenburg in jultide, 2013

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Sjömagasinet
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Since being in Sweden from the early 2000s and with a little variation in weather conditions from cold and windy to very cold and windy, December in Gothenburg has always been a medley of small events that come together to form what I would today associate with the Swedish jultide season. The shortening of days gives every household here good reason, some as early as late October, to hang in place their Christmas lights on their windows that in turn make festive the walking paths of surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading “Gothenburg in jultide, 2013”

A Christmas dinner 2013

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JE Nilsson, who has researched and written about 1700s Swedish food,
was happy to play Santa ‘Chef de Cuisine’.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

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Selecting first class produce is the key to all good cooking.
Here, we were planning a new orange and honey glazed spare ribs dish,
looking at blood oranges flown in from Italy.

By December every year as the days grow shorter and shorter, it is fun to spend time in the kitchen, planning and cooking Scandinavian classics, trying to recreate inherited recipes from days long gone past. The old fashioned dishes and the manners in which they are prepared, usually involve a lot of time consuming manual work, but nonetheless worth the effort in terms of rediscovering what has been and making it current again.

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Gravad lax is maybe one of the oldest dishes on the traditional Swedish Christmas table.
Today it is pickled with a mixture of salt, sugar, pepper and a generous helping of freshly cut dill.

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Once done, it is ideally eaten with a honey mustard sauce.

Continue reading “A Christmas dinner 2013”

Reverberations of Royal summer parties at a Swedish 14th century castle

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A copper engraving of the castle.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

North of Stockholm sits a grand and picturesque castle that was the residence of Princess Sophia of Sweden from 1578-1611. It is today in fact the only privately owned Royal castle in Sweden. It has a rich history that is best associated with Sweden’s King Gustaf III and his young Danish consort Sophia Magdalena. They lived in the castle during the 1700s enjoying a mostly carefree and happy life. From the 1300s the castle belonged to a succession of Swedish royalty that included Gustav Vasa, John III, King Gustav II Adolf and HSH Hereditary Prince Frederick, who eventually became Frederick I of Sweden and reigned at the time of the foundation of the Swedish East India company (1731-1813) who had their first ship ever sailing to China named after him i.e. – Fredericus Rex Svecia.

In 1917 the castle was acquired by a Swedish industrialist who eventually took a great interest in Chinese porcelain collecting in a circle of friends that included the then reigning King Gustaf VI Adolf and the then young arts historian professor Bo Gyllensvärd. The castle and its substantial porcelain collection was subsequently inherited by his children in 1967. The family settled in the castle trying the best they could turning it into a home. Today, the castle has been passed on to new owners and theatrical performances, weddings and other large banquets continue to be held at the location.

The castle and its grounds, having seen its fair share of social parties and crowds moving through its rooms, reverberated such energies that waxed and waned with time of day and seasons of the year. As with most castle grounds in Sweden, as night falls, the silence that encompasses those grounds become so deafening that the drop of a pin on a polished tabletop might come as a relief. But the castle grounds were seldom quiet, especially at night.

A while back when the castle was still a home and its grandeur silently lingering in private hands, after a long day and night of pleasant conversation on our common interest in Chinese porcelain, the topic eventually ventured over into the supernatural and the possibilities of this huge building housing some uninvited guests. “Well not really”, the hostess answered, “we don’t really think of any of it much. It is just kind of part of the house but incidentally, I hosted you all on our guest floor and was just curious if any of you experienced anything unusual this night?”
Continue reading “Reverberations of Royal summer parties at a Swedish 14th century castle”

Chokladkalaset 2013, Göteborg

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, 1O4P9102a

At the annual Gothenburg chocolate festival.
Rule Forty-two.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

I didn’t think I would meet Douglas Adams’ thoughts in this context, but this was an event of forty-two. In Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979:181), in answer to the ultimate question of life, the super computer, Deep Thought, was adamant forty-two was the answer.

“Forty-two!… Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

“But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.. .. ”
“Yes,” said Deep Thought with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, “but what actually is it?”

Thing is, Adams was not alone, for Lewis Carroll might have known the same.
Continue reading “Chokladkalaset 2013, Göteborg”

Bok & Bibliotek, Göteborg Book Fair 2013

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At the Göteborg Book Fair 2013.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

It’s been a few years, since 2008, that I’ve found myself at the annual Gothenburg Book Fair, one of the Nordic regions largest market place for the book trade that began as a trading platform for teachers and librarians. Since opening their doors in 1985 with just 5,000 visitors, the book fair has today, more than 101,000 visitors over four days, with three parallel running sessions of conferences, seminars and events, alongside sales stands and an International Rights Centre for agents and publishers. The book fair celebrates their 29th anniversary this year at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre.
Continue reading “Bok & Bibliotek, Göteborg Book Fair 2013”

Stora Känsö, Swedish west coast archipelago

Känsö’s ship observations tower at the island’s high point,
offers a splendid view over the neighbouring islands of Gothenburg’s southern archipelago
and is well worth the effort making it up there.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Känsö synopsis

Känsö is a small island in the Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg. The name refers to its use by the people of the nearby island of Brannö, who let their cows grass on it over the summer.

In the early 19th century, science medical theories had made enough progress to suggest that becoming ill could be avoided by insulation. The island’s location immediately south of the Gothenburg port entry made it ideal to be used as a quarantine to try to protect Gothenburg and Sweden from any number of contagious deceases that at the time, plagued continental Europe and Asia.

The theories and practices developed here were advanced, though as time moved on, the progress and knowledge in hygiene standards that was made through the use of this facility eventually disseminated to the mainland hospitals. The consequence was that the island was gradually made available for other purposes and it is today, a military naval base and training camp.

The first quarantine manager, Jacob Forsell and chief surgeon of this facility had plenty of free time on his hands, some of which he devoted to developing the island’s meagre flora. Being mostly rocky and barren he created space for an apple orchard of 150 trees and planted the remaining island with more than 5,000 other trees of which quite a few appears to have been pine, considering what is still standing on this restricted access island.

Continue reading “Stora Känsö, Swedish west coast archipelago”

Summer perennials

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A noticeable feature of the houses found in the Swedish west coast archipelago are the picturesque gardens that look unkempt. Seemingly forgotten and left wild, it is this visual feature that I find gives the gardens their defining, core beauty.

Since settling in Sweden more than a decade ago, I have now had ample opportunity to admire these grounds whether it is via seasonal garden parties or from long evening strolls around the neighbourhood.

The garden closest to my heart, was once under the care of a professor in botany. To that extent, set in an undulating landscape, this garden has some interesting varieties of plants from Iceland Poppies (papaver nudicaule) that every year shed red petals after only a week of intense efforts of drawing attention to themselves from the local bee population, to sprawling crawlers such as the Grape Ivy (parthenocissus tricuspidata), that come autumn covers nearby branches and facades in a fiery red and green.
Continue reading “Summer perennials”

Swedish west coast Harbour Festival, Donsö 2013

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Donsö hamnfest 2013. The harbour festival draws a large crowd,
both from the local community and from farther away.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Late in the summer every year, a harbour festival is held at Donsö, an island situated at the southern archipelago of Gothenburg. Events to this festival go on for two days that includes a marathon around the two islands of Styrsö and Donsö. The route is marked by deep blue and yellow tapes tied to street lamps, branches of trees and fences to help the runners find their way. Come evening of the harbour festival, the air fills with the sounds of live bands, the guests fed with fresh grilled seafood sandwiches, under tents and eaten right by the waterfront.

So it’s no surprise that the harbour festival draws a large crowd, both from the local community and from farther away. The natural means of communication is by sea, and the harbour at this event is fully packed with rows upon rows of pristinely polished boats and yachts in various sizes. Occasional product tankers and trawlers owned by the islander families are also pulled home and docked for greetings at the quay side.

All in all, the elements and atmosphere make for a glorious cocktail of fun and hanging out the next few days.

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Continue reading “Swedish west coast Harbour Festival, Donsö 2013”