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Swedish Food : Gourmet Gift Ideas

Gubbröra is probably one of the staples you miss the most, while being away from Stockholm - good thing though, they have plenty of it in Restaurante Lechuga. Picture via sweden.se

As I already said, I was never a cheese-and-ham Spanish. However, interestingly enough, I did fall in love with Swedish staples. Maybe because they're mostly fish-based dishes, typically cold, that pair well with veggies and a bit of bread. During our Wedding Weekend, I recommended everyone to pack home one (or two) of the following. Most of them were doubtful about the idea, but the ones who listened found out (already back home) that it was much better than they ever expected (and they wished to have packed in, a bit more).

[1] Sill and Varmrökt Lax
In such a cold country, you have to keep whatever you fish for a long long winter. Hence the tradition of drying, smoking, canning and preserving those fatty fishes which are traditional from the Baltic Ocean, Herring and Salmon. Sill is typically eaten in Midsummer celebration, paired with boiled small potatoes and knäckebröd (hard bread). Those glass jars, are all filled with Herring bits in different sauces. Personally, I like the mustard one (senapssill) and the traditional (inlagd sill) which is only submerged in some liquid with onions, carrots and pepper.

There's plenty of smoked stuff on display. But I strongly recommend the one tagged VARMRÖKT LAX as in WARM SMOKED SALMON, 80 to 120°C. It makes the salmon fully cooked, juicy, moist and flavorful. This is the key difference between the smoked salmon available outside Sweden, which is KALLRÖKT or smoked cold, 15 to 30C. Try it and you'll miss it forever.

vamrökt lax

[2] Tunnbröd, Hällakaka and Knäckebröd
Polarbröd is a Swedish company that made a HUGE success, selling industrialized versions of the traditional bread from the North of Sweden (we are talking recipes from 1400 here). Sometimes, we can even find it in some sandwiches here in Spain, that mix salmon with the soft bread traditional from Norrland. There are 2 main versions:
- Tunnbröd (literally, thin bread) which reminds of a tortilla bread, but a bit lighter in color. It is sold fresh and used for wraps, like tunnbrödsrulle.
- Hällakaka or half-thick cake, which is sold in packages of 6 or 30. Probably the most typical thing, is to see Swedes eating them with butter, a slice of cucumber and cheese (ham or sliced eggs) in the morning.
They are good, but they are fresh. So you gotta eat them fast.

Knäckebröd (hard bread) is probably my favourite. Specially Vilmas - that makes them organic - and Batanun - that besides doing so, includes pupmkin seeds in the recipe - are great picks (in Medborgarplatsen's COOP KONSUM [MAP]). Pairs perfectly with sill but also with foreign delicacies, like cheese and ham (or that's what Enrique says, anyway). These have long lead time, so there's no rush to finish the pack - other than the cravings you'll soon get.

vilmas knäckebröd
batanun knäckebröd

[3] René Voltaire [WEB] - The Organic Design
I am a sucker for packaging, even more than what I am for anything tagged organic. Even keen on them now, knowing that this company is the result of one woman's dream. Maria Renée Voltaire had worked with food in different ways, cafés, bakeries and even written cook books.

But her dream, was "to redefine the health culture by making innovative products that gives customers a better, healthier, easier and a more enjoyable eating experience." The company was founded in 2005. Has now 25 employees and growing. They focus on new product development with raw principles, as much as possible. Many products are soaked, sprouted and dehydrated in low temperature - here's my fav.

rené voltaire

Pay a visit to the super market, it is always a nice experience to learn a bit more about how other people live - as we saw, checking around the one in Tokyo :)


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