For my last post on Stockholm, I’d like to focus on what I always associate with Sweden – baked goods, excellent baked goods. These excellent baked goods made up my breakfasts and my fikas and were eaten on the hoof, in cafes, at tourist attractions.

My first fika was at Vete-Katten, a well-preserved labyrinth of a coffee shop in the centre of Stockholm.

Fika

There was, of course, coffee (apparently Swedes have the 2nd or 3rd highest coffee consumption per capita) and an excellent kardemummabulle (cardamom bun).

Kardemummabulle

And their Prinsesstarta! I never really understood this cake, thinking the green layer on top was all a bit odd but my goodness was it ever good. The lovely thin layer of green marzipan held together the lightest freshest whipped cream and a most delicate sponge. It’s a popular cafe and you may struggle to find a seat on the weekend but it’s worth the wait!

Prinsesstarta

Later in the week, I visited another well-known cafe located down the road – Sturekatten (what’s with the cat names?). The cafe is quite a well known one locally with its original vintage furniture and tasty food.

Sturekatten

I settled in with some coffee and a punschrulle (aka the dammsugare, or vacuum cleaner). Both very good though most of the baked goods did look a little better at Vete-Katten.

Coffee and Punsch-roll

And then there were the rest of the bakeries I frequented every morning before work each day for the remainder of the week. I was based that time very close to central Stockholm and I’d grab something from a different place each day. From a chain called Gateau, I tried an orange brioche filled with vanilla cream and then topped with chocolate. Not outstanding but very good. Perhaps it was a bit too much cream for me for breakfast time.

A few Stockholm photos to still get through. This was yesterday's breakfast: an orange brioche filled with vanilla cream and covered in chocolate.

From Fabrique, the Swedish chain with outlets in London (hooray!), an outstanding flaky bun with rhubarb and hazelnuts …

Today's breakfast was a flaky bun with rhubarb and hazelnuts. I'm loving all the buns here.

… and an excellent kardemummabulle (shh, I prefer cardamom buns to cinnamon buns).

A final kardemummabulle. I do prefer the cardamom ones over the cinnamon buns. I'm gonna miss your bakeries, Sweden.

And I discovered the mandelbulle (almond bun) sold at Bröd & Salt, another bakery chain found throughout Stockholm. Imagine that cardamom dough rolled up with frangipane, sliced and then topped with a biscuit topping with lots of whole almonds. Yes, it was amazing.

My big Swedish discovery - the mandelbulle (almond bun). It's like a cross between a cardamom bun and a cinnamon bun but rolled with frangipane and with a biscuit topping with whole almonds. ❤😚

There were even visits to two bakeries in Skansen! There was first the village bakery that actually does sell its wares still to the public.

Bakery

Untitled

I purchased a delightfully homemade looking kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and munched that happily as I continued with my visit.

Kanelbulle

Then there was my favourite – the bakehouse. Here is where the famous Swedish flatbreads are baked for keeping throughout the year and being baked that day was tunnbröd (thin bread). Apparently the traditional version would be baked very dry and the soft versions available at supermarkets (and frozen at Ikea) are fancy modern thin breads.

Bakehouse

There was a proper demonstration of how the dough was rolled out and pricked using the textured rolling pin …

Inside the Bakehouse

… and then baked in the wood-fired oven.

Flatbread Oven

And when it came out, there was butter to slather onto the hot bread… it was excellent!

Tunnbröd

I loved Stockholm! I loved its food and its beautiful surroundings and its flowers and everything. I’m hoping to visit again in the future, bringing Blai with me this time, and he’s keen to go too after seeing all my photos. Thanks to everyone who sent information about Stockholm, its restaurants, and Eurovision, which was on the weekend I was there!

As is usual, all my Stockholm travel photos are sitting in a dedicated Flickr album.

The weather that evening was vile – all stormy and windy and with a windchill below zero – and I didn’t want to venture far from my hotel. I was staying in the Scandic Alvik and while there’s a good supermarket and good cafes nearby, there are few restaurants in the area. It’s in a good spot though as the train gets you into central Stockholm quickly but that night really was something; I needed somewhere to eat close by. I did note a cute restaurant at the end of the street by the water on Google maps and heck, that restaurant – Sjöpaviljongen – turned out to not just be by the water but on the water. They found a table for me right by the open fire (I must have looked like a drenched rat) and I am forever grateful to them for it. Service was exceptional that evening and I was made to feel most welcome.

Open Fire!

The selection of bread that was brought over was divine. My favourite was a sweet-ish dark bread that was utterly divine with lashings of the accompanying whipped butter. I could have eaten the whole lot if I didn’t have lots to look forward to.

Bread and Butter

My first course of Råbiff på svenskt gårdskött, ramslökskräm, betor, kapris och sommartryffel (Steak tartar on Swedish meat, ramsons, beetroots, capers and summer truffle, 165 SEK) was beautiful, all delicate little things tossed together with contrasts in every bite. Slivers of fried potato gave the whole mixture a lovely little crunch.

Råbiff på svenskt gårdskött, ramslökskräm, betor, kapris och sommartryffel

I was extremely happy with my Sjöpaviljongens fisk- och skaldjursgryta med aioli (Fish- and shellfish casserole with aioli, 199 SEK) – again another little break from cream. There was salmon, cod, another white fish I couldn’t identify, shrimps, crayfish, and mussels all mixed up in this tomato based broth with fennel, onions and dill. A little slurp of soup, a little dollop of aioli on my fish….mmm… I’m salivating just thinking about this.

Sjöpaviljongens fisk- och skaldjursgryta med aioli

It was lovely and cosy in there and I wished I didn’t need to head back to hotel! The photo below shows you the inside and its coziness reminded me of many of the traditional Swedish restaurants I visited when I visited West Sweden a few years back.

Sjöpaviljongen

I loved the place so much I returned later that week for another dinner, this time with colleagues. And this time the weather was gorgeous (such a change less than a week later!) and we had drinks prior to the meal on the deck on the water. We could look out upon the calm waters across to Kristineberg (another Stockholm district).

This time I started with Toast Skagen med kalixlöjrom (Toast with a mix of prawns, dill and mayonnaise and a fish roe topping, 129 SEK), quite a common classic Swedish starter.

Toast Skagen

I was really looking forward to my main course of Biff Rydberg med rå äggula och senapsgrädde (Biff Rydberg with egg yolk and creamy mustard, 259 SEK); I was thinking about it all day since we had to choose our dishes in advance for such a large group. This was fabulous – a kind of luxurious version of the classic Swedish pyttipanna, which is a hash of potatoes, onions, and meat. And here there was fried potatoes, fried onions, fried pieces of fillet steak and a raw egg to hold it all together. Oh, and a butter sauce. Delicious.

Biff Rydberg

A final photo of the restaurant!

Sjöpaviljongen

If you go, do make a booking if you can – the best way to contact them is via their email address on their website.

Sjöpaviljongen
Tranebergs Strand 4
167 40 Bromma
Stockholm
Sweden

Apparently Friday nights are taco nights in Sweden. There’s some understanding (thanks to a clearly ridiculously successful marketing campaign) that Friday nights are for cosy nights in with tacos (or pizza) and junk food; there’s even a word for it – Fredagsmys (cosy Friday). Swedish tacos are … very different from Mexican tacos and perhaps are more similar to those eaten of the Old El Paso kit variety here in the UK. Actually there are some clear differences from these as well as this hilarious Reddit post illustrates.

Anyway, I thought of this tradition as I munched away on some excellent Mexican food in Sweden. We’ll rewind to half an hour prior to proper tacos – after a few days of butter and cream, I couldn’t face another very rich cream-laden Swedish meal. I contemplated the highly rated vegan Chinese place near my Airbnb flat but when I saw the reviews for La Neta, a Mexican joint just a little further walk away, tacos tacos tacos consumed my mind.

The restaurant on Barnhusgatan is tiny – it’s a basement joint with a large kitchen (I believe they make their tortillas on site) and shared dining tables and a counter by the window. Queue at the till, place your order, find a seat, and pick up your order when your buzzer goes.

I had one each of the tacos on offer that day: Tacos de Pastor (marinated pork with pineapple), Suadero (a slow cooked beef), Bistec (grilled steak). They were 22 kr each and were served on homemade corn tortillas.

Tacos

Of course, tacos are not complete without a salsa bar – and I’m glad to report that La Neta had a little one! I added the chopped onions and coriander and helped myself to the green and red salsas on offer. From what I can see on Instagram, their salsas are made fresh each day. They were perfect – the tacos and the salsas. The meats were all tender and flavourful and tacos just looked right. An aside: I read recently that La Neta was opened by two natives of Monterey, California, both of whom missed the Mexican food they could get easily back home – these were legit tacos.

Tacos and Salsas

There were quesadillas too.

Quesadillas

had a Rajas (poblano chili, courgette, corn, onion and philadelphia – 28 kr) …

Rajas

… and a Choripapa (potato, chili, onion and chorizo – 28 kr). Both were excellent and of note was the Mexican chorizo which was totally on point.

Choripapa

My Mexican dinner hit the spot – and fret not, I went straight back to trying more Swedish foods after my palate was refreshed here. There are freshly made tortilla chips and larger tacos in flour tortillas too. And you can even buy their freshly made corn tortillas by the kilo. I love this place!

La Neta
Barnhusgatan 2
111 23, Stockholm

There’s a second branch on Södermalm.

On our final day in Skane, we left Malmo and took a train to the town of Ystad, famous for being home to the fictional detective Kurt Wallander. You’ll all be glad to hear that Ystad looks like quite a pretty peaceful town whose police-people are more likely to be posing with tourists than dealing with terrible murders!

At Ystad station, we met Karin again and she drove us out to Österlenkryddor, a herb farm about a 10 minute drive outside Ystad. It’s a family business run by Eva and Olle Olsson and they run the largest herb farm in Sweden.

Pharmaceutical Garden

Eva had set out fika for us that morning, with each homemade component featuring their herbs. The rye crispbreads had been baked with stinging nettle. Soft cheese had been mixed with lovage, a savoury herb high in glutamates (Eva suggested boiling potatoes with lovage). Their delicious smoked sausage had a mixture of rosemary and savory in its filling.

Crispbreads, Sausage and Soft Cheese

It wasn’t all savoury though – Eva had baked oat biscuits with sage and chocolate biscuits with mint too. And with it all was a fantastic infusion of lemon balm, mint and sage – I made sure to buy a bag of this from their shop before I left and am enjoying it now as I type this post!

Biscuits with Herbs

Lots of herbs you know and probably some you don’t are grown here. Eva told us of their trouble growing rosemary (usually a perennial here but it’s had to be an annual there in Sweden) and their recent midnight harvest party for wordwood.

Eva

While we didn’t have time to tour their herb fields, we could get a glimpse of them from their herb garden (first photo), where we got a short explanation of some of their more exciting herbs (yes, they had a poisonous plants section…).

Herb Fields

Their shop sells all their dried herbs, herb mixtures and herb products and on weekends, you can fika here at their cafe too. It’s a very calming and relaxing place and their products are delicious. Tours of their herb fields can also be arranged and do take a look at their website for this and other events. Apart from their shop and online, you can also find their goods at the Malmo farmers market.

Our lunch destination that day was Olof Viktors and I was very much looking forward to this visit as every Swedish person to whom I had mentioned the name became very excited themselves. It was a short drive from Österlenkryddor and when we arrived, we were led to a table set for us. See that table in the back of the room? With the sofa? We sat there and we learned, thrilled, that the sofa we sat on had featured in one of the Wallander series in a scene with a grisly murder.

In Olof Viktors

They had arranged for all of us to try their most famous sandwich – an open faced crayfish sandwich. This was piled very high on a very non-Swedish bread, focaccia! It was delicious and very generously portioned!

Crayfish Sandwich

Dessert was a selection of their famous ice creams. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and yoghurt, mango and yoghurt, passionfruit sorbet and raspberry sorbet were scooped for us. They were all truly excellent but special mention must go to the ice creams made with yoghurt – it gave a bit of tang to the mango which helped prevent it from being too sweet.

Ice Creams

We had a short tour of the bakery itself…

With the Oven

…and the rest of the cafe (there were more buildings than I expected!) too. The cafe really was as beautiful as everyone had told me it would be! Mårten Göthberg the managing director then kindly sent us off with some of their famous knäckebröd.

In Olof Viktors

We ended with a whistle-stop car tour of Ystad (I’d love to spend more time there in the future) and then a drive back to Malmo Airport to catch our flights back to London. Thank you so much to everyone we met on this trip and thank you very much to Malmö Turism, Skåne Tourism and Visit Sweden for a lovely food-packed weekend in Skane.

As always, all my photos from this trip are in a Flickr photoset.

My next food adventure was totally different from what both Jeanne and Denise experienced – Visit Sweden arranged for three separate afternoon activities, one for each of us. I’ll leave it to them to let you know where they went but I was headed for Helsingborg, one of the oldest cities in Sweden and the closest point in Sweden to Denmark (across the Öresund Sound from the city is the Danish city of Helsingør). Karin Erlandsson of Skane Tourism very kindly drove me up to the city, about an hour’s drive away, but if you’re not driving, the train connections are also very good.

We met with Jenny and Malin (they’re sisters!) of Food by the Way, a company running food walks throughout the city of Helsingborg, and I would be spending my afternoon with them. Each tour lasts about 2.5 to 3 hours and takes in a few food stops in the city and it was clear as the day went on that they both knew everyone in the food business in Helsingborg, having experience in the restaurant industry themselves.

Food by the Way

In addition to the food stops, they tell you a lot of the history of the city as you go along, making it a good option to keep in mind should you only have a few hours in Helsingborg.

Kärnan

While we were chatting, and of course walking, it transpired that they’d gone through my blog, trying to tailor the tour to my interests (it would be the same if you booked them for a private tour); rather than just trying the more traditional cheese and chocolate shops, we were going to try some of the more unique eateries in Helsingborg. Our first stop was a good example – Brooklyn, an American restaurant in the centre of the old town that the owner Richard had based upon Peter Luger. Richard had lived in the States for a number of years, evident in his big, open and friendly manner. The restaurant was, in a way, like him – warm and open and friendly – and it was buzzing. A table had been reserved for us.

Brooklyn

Richard

When we sat down, glasses of Brooklyn brown ale were first brought to us by Richard followed very closely by serious-sized sample portions of pork ribs and cowboy beans. There was obvious pride in his restaurant and the dishes and pride he should have for they were delicious. Looking around at the other tables, it was obvious that portion sizes are American-sized too – we watched as a family struggled to finish two gigantic slices of chocolate fudge cake.

Brown Ale

Pork Ribs and Cowboy Beans

We couldn’t linger as we still had a few more stops that afternoon. Next was Ebbas Fik (Ebba’s Diner), a 50s diner serving both Swedish and American treats, run by both Ebba and her husband Henrik. Every little detail in the cafe/restaurant was authentically from the era and the place was totally packed that Saturday afternoon.

Ebbas Fik

Slices and Cookies

Three huge cases of cakes and sweets were on display and I was mesmorised by it all. It’s not just sweets for fika though – there’s also a wide variety of sandwiches and hamburgers available.

Ebba

Ebba told us to choose our cakes and after noting my preferences, I left it to Jenny and Malin for the rest. They came back with a lot! Of particular note was the fantastic blueberry crumble with cream and the vacuum cleaner (dammsugare, and so called because you use leftover cake and cookie crumbs to make it). Ebba came to join us as well with snacks of brown bread topped with herring or salmon. The salmon was utterly delicious with its cream cheese base with horseradish.

Dröm (Dream) Cookie Blåbärspaj (Blueberry Crumble)

Electrolux Dammsugare (Vacuum Cleaner) Rallykaka (Rally Cake)

Hallontårta (Raspberry Cake) Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Canapes

I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll never leave Ebbas Fik hungry – Ebba doesn’t believe in small portions at high prices! Ebba is fantastic herself – a very go-getting woman who’s also doing good in her community; apart from serving the usual customers, she’s preparing lunches for students from a number of local schools (I’ve been reading the menus on her site each day and they make my mouth water). Her diner is a fantastic place for a meal or for fika. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish everything on the table and Ebba very kindly packed up the leftovers for me to take back.

Our third stop, Pitcher’s, was only a stone’s throw from Ebbas Fik and to my surprise, was a British pub in the middle of Helsingborg!

Pitchers

Here we were to sample beers from Helsingborgs Bryggeri (Helsingborg’s Brewery). As we all were not big beer drinkers though, we decided to only taste two of the more uncommon offerings from the brewery – lakrits (Swedish liquorice) beer and chilli pepper beer. While the former seemed promising as it was made in collaboration with Lakritsfabriken, unfortunately, it did not taste of any liquorice; the chilli pepper beer, on the other hand, had a great kick to it. It’s probably better drunk on its own than with any food.

Beers from Helsingborg Brewery

It shouldn’t have surprised us but, of course, it wasn’t just about the beer! We were brought a selection of bar snacks and a variety of their homemade sauces: cheddar, cream cheese, bbq and aioli (and truly, we were not expecting this!).

Fried Potatoes Fried Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Onion Rings Wings

Dips

It’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon but again, we had to get going. Anyway, we were surrounded by very upset men, all fans of a local football team, watching their team lose on the televisions…

Inside Pitchers

On our way to our final destination, we stopped by Fahlmans Konditori so they could show me its beautiful space. I adore cafes and this would certainly be my first destination should I return to Helsingborg.

Sweets

It was very kind of them to give me a one minute tour of the bakery/kitchen. Now I have no idea how the food is but I reckon it has to be good for them to be open since 1914.

In the Kitchen

And finally, we rolled onwards to our final destination: Helsingborgs Glassfabrik, a local ice cream company with a stand by the docks. As it was late in August and the days were getting cooler, they didn’t have as many flavours as usual – in fact, they were about to close for the summer.

Helsingborgs Glassfabrik

I sampled two flavours – sea buckthorn ice cream (the orange one) and a lime sorbet. While the latter was just too lip-puckeringly sour, the sea buckthorn was a lovely combination of sweet and tart, perfect for perhaps hotter summers!

Ice Cream

And that was where my tour of Helsingborg’s food scene ended. Thank you so much, Jenny and Malin, for the great afternoon! It was great to see this range of traditional and international places in Helsingborg. Do check our their website for their schedule of tours (all priced at 295 SEK per person or about £28) or to arrange for a private tour.

Jenny and Malin

As I mentioned previously, train connections are very good. One option that I’d like to try in the future is the Around the Sound ticket, giving you one round roughly from Malmo to Helsingborg to Helsingor (on the ferry) to Copenhagen and then back to Malmo. It’s possible to stop off anywhere along the route (taken in either direction) with the ticket that’s valid for 48 hours. The ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingor (which is also home to Kronborg Castle aka the Hamlet castle) is also of interest – a popular activity is to sit on that ferry and have dinner on it as it goes back and forth between the cities!