Philosophies of summer drives


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

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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.

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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

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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”

Existential authenticity in tourism and Ahlströms konditori from 1901, Gothenburg

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Hot chocolate, at Ahlströms konditori, Swedish west coast, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

In the past week, a conversation in a restaurant at Haga, between myself and a restaurant steward, after lunch when I was looking for cookies to go with my coffee:

“Yes, can I help you? You’re looking for something?”
“Yes, do you happen to have cookies to go with the coffee?”
“Only on Fridays, sorry. But you can walk over to Jacobs. They have cookies and dessert in general. We don’t.”

Two things struck me when I first arrived in Gothenburg about the cityscape in the early 2000s. The first was how lacking in skyscrapers the city of Gothenburg was, and the second, much due to the first, you apparently needed to walk for miles to get to where you wanted. Continue reading “Existential authenticity in tourism and Ahlströms konditori from 1901, Gothenburg”

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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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


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

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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”


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Carlstens Fortress at Marstrand as seen from Koön
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, 2013

About an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg lies an old stone fortress called Carlstens Fortress. Huddled around its imposing stone wall is the old town of Marstand. The town is located on two islands, the one outermost and housing the fortress is called Marstandsön while the inner one is the Koön – the Cow’s island.

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Ideally, one would arrive by boat to dock alongside other seafaring adventurers, a natural thing to do since during the summer, Marstrand hosts an endless number of sailing competitions. The winter season is somewhat of a lull while most activities try to hibernate the best they can.

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By the quayside, having spotted some über lush princess yachts flagged Norwegian (not pictured), christened “Rojoto” and “Fru Nilsen” (Mrs. Nilsen).

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Continue reading “Marstrand”

Swedish west coast summer party

One of the things in life to be grateful for, is to have friends. And that they sometimes have garden parties during the summer. Another thing to be grateful for, is that they invite you. I would consider time spent with friends, one of life’s luxuries. Thank you! for a wonderful day and evening.

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, 2013


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Continue reading “Swedish west coast summer party”

Seven flowers from seven fields – Midsummer’s Eve along the Swedish west coast 2013

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“Seven flowers from seven fields”.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Even as I write this, I can hear the laughter and music coming from several neighbouring parties, the sounds of people chatting from near and far made possible only because the islands to the southern Swedish west coast archipelago allows no vehicles save bicycles, mopeds and electric golf carts.

Swedish Midsummer’s Eve celebrations run like clockwork, come rain or shine. This year’s rain was intermittent, giving just enough sunshine and time to the children to have their dance around the Midsummer pole.
Continue reading “Seven flowers from seven fields – Midsummer’s Eve along the Swedish west coast 2013”

Straw hat weather in Sweden

In weather that calls for a straw hat and a pareu,
by the dandelions, along the Swedish west coast.

Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Summer and straw hat weather in Sweden arrived with express speed – if you blinked you missed the spring – and it is already time for outdoor activities such as a visit to the beach front, coupled with gardening and grass cutting.

One of my personal favourite sights in the garden is the slightly obnoxious and always seemingly happy dandelions. Considered weeds, however threatened they are to become one head shorter in the process of clipping and pruning, they continue to beam like small suns in the grass.
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The Gothenburg International Science Festival 2013

Per-Olof Arnäs on “Terminator, TinTin and Teleportation”, an variation of his lecture on “The digitization of transportation” at Vetenskapsfestivalen 2013.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2013

The 25th of April was the second day of the Gothenburg International Science Festival 2013, where in the public arena of Nordstan in Gothenburg, a lively presentation on the topic of transportation for the future was ongoing by Per-Olof Arnäs of Chalmers University of Technology in the morning. Colleagues from the University of Gothenburg would also be giving some presentations through the day, regarding the various aspects of the crisis in Europe and how that might have rippling effects on issues such as European state leadership and workforce migrations between countries in Europe.

This year’s theme at the science festival is Cruise and Control. In a multi-dimensional and multi-levelled approach, the event aims to address questions pertaining to the Individual such as personal health and fitness, to security controls by use (or abuse) of technology in Society, to larger Environmental issues such as finding balance between consumption and sustainable living.

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A European wine odyssey at Passion för Mat 2013

With Zdenka and Martino (pictured) Oliboni of Italian Wine Bar.
When I asked which Amarone they thought should I have for the evening, the bottle I had in hand was politely removed and replaced with this bottle of Villa Crine Amarone Classico 2008.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Sunday 3 March was the last day of the Gothenburg Passion for Food Festival 2013. The winding down hours, or the final rush, depending on your disposition, found me at the Italian Wine Bar with Martino, his wife Zdenka and their colleagues. Trade fairs, as much as they are for marketing and doing business is for me a meeting point to catch up with old friends and make new ones. In these closing hours I had just one thing left on my wish list, a glass of Amarone.

Seeing that Zdenka and Martino were busy, I began browsing their assortment of red wines. But I didn’t have long to ponder my choice since as soon as they spotted me, various bottles were promptly brought forward and just as long lost friends, we picked up chatting from where we left off last year.

The Italian Wine Bar

The Italian Wine Bar they represent is an Italian company they own jointly with the purpose of introducing a little piece of Italy to Sweden. They source wine, beer, grappa and various delicatessen (such as panforte from Antica Pasticceria Masoni) from their local friends and neighbours in Tuscany, just in-between Florence and Siena which is a pretty significant place in the regional history. In fact Eva and Gino Vettese live within viewing distance from San Gimignano, which I had the pleasure to visit just a few years ago. Their own olive oil is also sold via the Italian Wine Bar. It is fun to notice that what I was looking at today was specifically that kind of olive oil I was advocating already by then:

When it comes to olive oil, there are different qualities beyond “virgin” and “cold pressed” oils. What you want is something better than extra virgin olive oil in flavour. The oil to look out for is from those that hand pick their olives and have them pressed on a daily basis. Although this kind of quality olive oil is difficult to source

With their minuscule yearly harvest, it was no hard decision to pick up a few bottles at once.
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Lesvos olive oil: from the Aegean Islands to the Swedish west coast

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Lambriní Theodossious (right)
at the
Passion for Food Festival 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

What I love about traveling is the adventures and the new experiences that come with it. My favourite souvenirs are new food ideas, and where possible, I love bringing home local produce of the region coupled with recipes of places I’ve visited and of dishes I loved. Eventually I will also synthesize the experience, mix and match with things I already know and make the experience my own.

Meeting with Lambriní Theodossious who owns her own olive plantation on the islands of Lesvos in Greece at the Passion for Food Festival 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden, was another one of those wonderfully unexpected experiences. She brings her efforts of love in the form of dark bottles of unadulterated olive oil which she produces herself with some help of local farm hands, from Greece to Sweden. Its called the Todora Olive Oil, named after her grandmother Theodora.
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“Enjoying good food with open senses” – a Fredrikssons approach to marmalades

“[A]tt nyfiket njuta av god mat”. With Christer and Mona Fredriksson of Fredrikssons Marmalde, who have their base on the east coast of Sweden, at Öland.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Naturally there are different things that people say they ‘cannot live without’, but one of the first things I do at these Food Festivals, is to walk right up to Mona and Christer Fredriksson and their stand with quality marmalades from Öland, and bag a generous helping of jars to last – if not till next year – so at least a couple of months into the summer.

It was also fun but not entirely unexpected to hear that the jams and chutneys from Fredrikssons made it to the recent Nobel festivities, the Nobel Night Cap 2012 in Stockholm.

Business processes are sustainable with use of the highest grade raw produce available.

An absolute favourite, the Apple and Calvados marmalade.

Their home and plant is in Kalmar County, at the island of Öland, located almost directly across Sweden, from Gothenburg at the Swedish east coast.

Standing at this fair with the Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg, resting at the quay just outside, I can’t help thinking of how connected things are in this world. It was just a few years ago since I visited the Kalmar Nyckel ship replica that docks in Wilmington, USA. The Kalmar Nyckel was a pioneering emigrant ship that left from this very place to the New World in 1638, leaving its passengers there to establish the first permanent European settlement, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware.

A somewhat unrelated jump in thoughts perhaps, but now marmalade from Kalmar is nevertheless delivered to the quay side, where the Götheborg III Ship lays bundled prior to high summer season, for us to pick up at will with no complicated sailing involved at all. See here the wonders of modern trade.

A nice bottle of wine, some good cheese and my favourite choice of marmalade and I think I’m pretty much set for a perfect evening with friends, or a good book.

Link: Kalmar Nyckel ships replica, Wilmington

Highlights from Passion för Mat 2013, March 1-3, Gothenburg, Sweden

Finally the long awaited Gothenburg food festival Passion för Mat (Passion for Food Festival) has opened and is currently ongoing from 1-3 March 2013 at Eriksbergshallen, Gothenburg.

Being invited to bypass the crowds on the opening day, we had the pleasure of joining the exhibitors in the early morning hours as they put in the last touches at their stands. As with previous years, we completely enjoyed strolling around the market area on our own, making new culinary discoveries and meeting with old, as well as new friends.

Last year, in 2012 Sweden’s Minister of Agriculture, Eskil Erlandsson, named Gothenburg the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012 in recognition of its rich natural produce, not the least because of its long time focus in various seafood, but also because of the many new various food companies specializing in high quality and gourmet food from all over the world setting up businesses here. Being an internationally small city, its culinary footprint is quite large with several Guide Michelin star chefs and quite some significant prize winnings and notifications at global food events (ref. Gothenburg Culinary Team).

Below, some picture highlights from the first day of this food festival.

At Eriksberg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Having a relaxed morning coffee at Hotel 11, to the sounds of Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico, Op. 3, Concerto No. 8 in A minor for two violins and strings, RV 522.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Jonas Wickstrand of Öckero Fisk explaining the flavours of this tray of smoked salmon paté hors d’oeuvres or tapas.

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The Cordero | Cordeiro affinity to islands

Do You Sleep?
Text and Photo © A Neikter Nilsson, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Judging from the numerous books launched by Eurasian authors on their heritage and family history, it seems that the Eurasian community in Singapore has a general strong interest in research on genealogy, which in itself makes for interesting study due to a mixture of cultures, ethnicities and even traditions in cuisine.

The Portuguese with their sense of inherent adventure, had close ties to the East India trades already in the early 1600s. It is probably these factors in combination that landed the Cordero / Cordeiro family in East Asia in the first place. The genealogy of the Cordeiros can be traced from the highlands of Andalusia in Spain during the Medieval times, to the autonomous archipelago of the Azores of Portugal (ca. 1600ff), right through to Macau (ca. 1800ff) and then to Singapore during the early 1900s. To that extent, one could argue that the Cordeiros have flown flags of many colours, the most prominent (for the older generations of the family) being the vibrant colours of Portugal.
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A Walden moment

My Walden moment, of “home-cosmography”.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

It’s just a few days before Christmas, the Christmas weekend in fact upcoming. It is also that time of year when my mailbox gets filled with greetings alike from friends and relatives, many of whom send out a year-end summary of activities gone by as a tradition of keeping in touch – I delight in reading all narratives on how everyone is getting on in their lives no matter how large or small those changes are, from the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done at school / work to moving into that dream home of theirs and starting a family. Many updates also contain New Year’s resolutions, of goal setting for that constant strive to improve on life, on themselves, lending insight into what motivates each and every individual around us.

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Yuletide in Sweden

Yuletide red.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Every year this time of the season, yuletide invites pour in to spend time with family and friends, so there’s every opportunity abound to get dressed in something warm, go Christmas marketing all over the city and then to dinner.

Most years at the Christmas markets, you’ll meet familiar faces, who delight in showing you their handmade wares and new decorations in festive red, tinsel silver and gold.

This year, a note of more candles than electric lamps lighting up the interiors of the market places, all creating a warm feeling that contrasts so nicely against the frosty Nordic nights. Outside on a clear moonlit market evening, the stars stand crisp against a black velvet cloak of night, dim voices that float through the air and what you hear most is the soft crunch of snow under leather soles.
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