Wednesday, 7 September 2011

SWE-DISH, a celebration of Swedish food

Last night VisitSweden, The Embassy of Sweden, the Swedish Trade Council and our partners opened the doors to SWE-DISH, a food event which welcomed 250 tour operators, MICE agents, retailers and press at the iconic OXO Tower in London, to enjoy delicious food and drink from Skåne in southern Sweden.

With its unique geography, a diverse set of pure, natural ingredients, a thriving restaurant scene and a healthy, modern, lifestyle, Sweden is the new culinary destination of the future.

This year’s SWE-DISH food event focused on Skåne, the country’s most southern county and the region known for its seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients.  The evening was a chance for press, trade and partners to get together and also meet regional tourist boards and partners from across Sweden.

The evening began with an introduction by Gabriel Dorch from VisitSweden and was followed by an introduction to Sweden, the new culinary nation by The Ambassador of Sweden, Her Excellency Nicola Clase.  We were then treated to some inspiring speeches from Eva Turesson, representing the food from Skåne and Semmy Rülf at VisitSweden who spoke about all the activities that we are currently doing in the UK to promote Swedish food.

A team of Skåne’s award winning chefs were present to cook up a storm showcasing the region’s finest ingredients during the evening. I sneaked into the kitchen while they were preparing the food and was met by a hive of activities and wonderful smells from the pots and pans.

The fantastic menu we sampled was as follows:

New Carrots with Crown Dill Syrup in crumbled Rye Bread
Hot-smoked Salmon – Marinated Fennel – Sour pearl Sago
Brantevik Herring
Venison rillettes – Lovage Leaves – Golden Beet
Herring Cake – Apple Bread – Lemon
Goats' cream Cheese – Beetroot – Chioggia Beet

Venison Tartare – Sea Buckthorn – Bacon – Funnel Chanterelle
33°C Halibut – Jerusalem Artichoke – Cress
Pear Amandine – Almond – Yoghurt

Crayfish-stuffed Coley – Cauliflower – Leek
Venison Consommé – Wild Boar – Potato
Mature Präst Cheese – Carrot – Rapeseed Oil
Chocolate Terrine – Cherries

Chilled Ingelstorp Tomato Soup
Sugar-salted Wild Salmon Trout – Hard Roe – Apple – Dill Pickle – Potato Foam
Hot Wild Mushroom Broth – Venison Sausage – Juniper Berries –
White Root Vegetables – Red-veined Dock

Air-cured Wild Duck – Red Onion Preserve – Xo Präst Cheese
Smoked Rooster – Parsnip – Apple – Cavolo Nero – Caraway
Gooseberry – Vanilla – Cardamom – Meringue – Pistachio

It was all amazing! The elegant but also quirky presentation of the dishes made the eveing. In the middle of the room stood a wheelbarrow with what at first looked like carrots sticking up out of soil. On closer inspection the soil turned out to be crumbled up rye bread holding small delicious carrots with crown dill syrup. One of the guests even tried to shake off the soil before putting the carrots on his plate.

My own favourites include the venison consommé with wild boar and potato and the very interesting flavour combination of the goats' cream cheese with beetroot and chioggia beet, oh and the delicious hot-smoked salmon with fennel and sour pearl sago as well! We were also treated to some fantastic Swedish wine, Briska cider and Mariestads beer from Spendrups Brewery, as well as delicious apple juice from Kullabyggdens Musteri.

Do you want to try Swedish food too? Then head to Harrods between 3 October and Christmas to sample some Swedish delicacies.

For those who want to try some of the ingredients in action, the Sea Grill will be serving two dishes created by Alexander Meier, the head chef at Swedish Lapland’s renowned ICEHOTEL between 3 and 19 October 2011. An innovative take on traditional Swedish food, the dishes will be Arctic char with dill butter, asparagus and morel cassolette, fried cherry tomatoes and assorted crayfish and King crab mousseline with candied tomatoes, clams, lingonberry vinaigrette and autumn salad.

Or why not try one of the Swedish cafes in the UK? Here is a list of a few places I like.

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