Sweden - The Edible Country [AD]

AD — This post is created in partnership with Visit Sweden. All thoughts, images and words are our own.

In Autumn 2018, we found ourselves deep in the forests of Sweden, eyes firmly fixed on the ground in search of chanterelle mushrooms to fill up our baskets. We had been invited by Visit Sweden to have a taste of what the country could offer us and we didn’t realise that would be a concept taken quite so literally…

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

The people of Sweden (and visitors like us) have the ‘Freedom to Roam’ (Allemansrätt) which means that the countryside is open for all to access, camp and forage from - with a few simple rules to make sure everyone is looked after in practicing their rights.

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

We were led by our guide and instructed about what to look for (and just as importantly what to avoid) when foraging for ingredients and set to work gathering ingredients for our meal. Thirty minutes flew by as our baskets filled up and we realised that searching the green carpet of the forest floor was a form of secret therapy; there’s something about the focus and the quiet of the surroundings that made us feel so incredibly relaxed and we’ll admit that it was truly satisfying to fill our basket with mushrooms - they’re so oddly beautiful and we love the organic shapes and textures.

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

We prepared and cooked our meals under the skilled eyes of established chefs Titti Qvarnström (Bloom in the Park, Malmo) and Jacob Holmström (Gastrologik, Stockholm), who both specialise in making the most of natural ingredients in their own restaurant kitchens.

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

When it came to the cooking we had some brilliant hosts. Titti Qvarnström and Jacob Holmström are both established chefs and it was an honour to be taught by them as they showed us how to get the best flavours out of produce that we hadn’t ever considered before; acorns, buckthorn, chickweed and (because we were in Sweden) Lingon berries!

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

Over our wood-fuelled fires we created a 3 course meal from forest-fresh ingredients; forest broth, poached perch and broiled herb butter to start, freshly smoked char, chanterelles, juniper berries and wood sorrel for main and an acorn, hazelnut crumb with fruit & berry compote as our dessert. As the India half of us is a veggie she left out the fish in the starter and swapped it for hedgehog mushrooms in the main… Simples.

Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon
Forest in Sweden, photographed by Haarkon

To celebrate Sweden’s natural bounty Visit Sweden have worked with four talented chefs to put together a recipe series that makes the most of each season and what it has to offer. The idea is that you can find all of the ingredients in the land (season/weather/nature permitting!) and cook with them right there and then, using the clearing in the trees as your very own restaurant. You can find the recipes online here.

— A handful of specially-made dining tables have been placed in particularly epic places along with kits that have everything you’d need to create your meals. Info and booking for those can be found here.

As we spent almost a week travelling around Sweden enjoying the natural produce in various (incredible) restaurants we really got to understand the relationship that the food has with it’s landscape and the passion that individuals have to make the best of what is grown naturally all around them. Foraging for our own food was not only a therapeutic activity but something that made us look quite differently at what we see all around us.

We’d like to thank Visit Sweden for inviting us to be a part of this project and for showing us just how edible Sweden is and for including us in the whole project - watch the video below, ten points if you can spot us!