4 mins

Find your space in Sweden’s food: 4 Swedish recipes to spark your Wanderlust

Even though we can’t travel right now, these four recipes will ensure you can get a taste of Sweden in your own kitchen…

Recipes from Sweden (August Dellert/imagebank.sweden.se)

Foraging has been a part of Swedish culture for centuries and its wild landscapes are more akin to a giant larder of edible plants, herbs and vegetables. Even though we can’t travel right now, these four recipes will ensure you can get a taste of Sweden in your own kitchen…

1. Sautéed herbs in browned butter

(Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se)

(Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se)

About 97% of Sweden’s 100 million acres is uninhabited but it’s far more than just an untapped playground for hikers: it’s a giant natural pantry, with a rich array of wild herbs and plants waiting to be picked. Of course, foraging for food has been around as long as humanity, but nowhere is it as important as in Sweden – here, thanks in part to the country’s right to roam (Allemansrätten), wild foraging is woven into the national mindset. The southern half of the country is a particular hotbed for a veritable range of herbs and this tasty dish features herbs that are widespread across southern Sweden. Even if you’re in a busy city, you’re never far from a do-it-yourself dinner – Vättlefjäll nature reserve near Gothenburg or Ormanäs forest close to Malmö are just two options. After the first mouthful, your tastebuds will confirm these delicious herbs were well worth foraging!

The recipe

Ingredients (four servings)

One litre of young nettles
One large handful of ramsons (wild garlic)
One handful of garlic mustard (alliaria petiolata)
One small handful of ground elder
One large chunk of butter
Salt

Method

  1. Heat the frying pan over the open fire and add the butter.
  2. When it has browned enough, add all the herbs and sauté until the nettles are crispy at the edges.
  3. Salt to taste.

TIP: Yesterday’s boiled potatoes or crustless white bread is a delicious addition to the frying pan.

2. Warm berries with smoked butter and meadowsweet with cordial

(Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se)

(Anna Hållams/imagebank.sweden.se)

What could be more tempting than a bush bursting with ripe berries. In the late summer months, once berries start to appear, locals grab their baskets, lace up their sturdy walking boots and head out into the country’s wilds to pick berries. It’s almost become a national pastime but they only lay their hands on 4% of the country’s total – that’s how many berries speckle Sweden. They can be found right across the country, but the leafy woodlands of Småland and the dense boreal forests of Swedish Lapland are two of the places where they thrive best. This recipe uses three of the most common berries found in Sweden – blueberries (also known as bilberries), raspberries and lingonberries – and the latter became such a profitable export in Småland during the 19th century, it was known as ‘red gold’. Swedish locals love getting out in the great outdoors at any time of the year but it tastes sweetest in August, when they can pick up a basket of berries on their hike and fashion something delicious back at home.

The recipe

Ingredients (four servings)

200-300ml berries: a mix of blueberries, raspberries and lingonberries
One handful of meadowsweet (water mint, wild mint)
100g butter
3 tbsp sugar
Salt

Method

  1. Light a fire
  2. Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt it over the fire.
  3. Pick a stick or piece of coal from the fire and put in the melted butter in the saucepan. Leave it for five minutes.
  4. Heat up the butter once again and pour it through a sieve into a bowl.
  5. Boil up 200ml of water with two tbsp of sugar, meadowsweet and a pinch of salt. All to stand for 20 minutes and let it cool (it should be drunk cold).
  6. Pour through a sieve.
  7. Melt one tbsp of sugar in the saucepan until golden brown.
  8. Add the berries and allow to cook.
  9. Add the smoked butter to the berries. Enjoy!

3. Freshly smoked char, chanterelles, juniper berries and wood sorrel

(August Dellert/imagebank.sweden.se)

(August Dellert/imagebank.sweden.se)

This autumn recipe combines three pillars of Swedish cooking – char, chanterelle mushrooms and juniper berries – for a tasty warming meal. Fish is a core part of Swedish cuisine and Arctic char is a staple in the northern parts of the country, where it has been caught and cooked for generations. Now, you can fish in their footsteps, with plenty of ice fishing experiences in Swedish Lapland giving you the chance to drop a rod in a frozen lake and bide your time for your prize. Juniper berries are one of Swedish cuisine’s most versatile ingredients, being used to flavour and season plenty of meat and fish dishes. They are commonly found across the country’s wilds, but it’s recommended you hire an informed guide, as some juniper berries can make you ill. The same goes for mushroom picking, with chanterelles a particular favourite with locals. Go hiking in any forest in Sweden between July and September and you might be lucky and find a prized golden chanterelle – considered the king of the mushrooms. It’s a species valued so highly by Swedes they consider it on a par with truffles.

The recipe

Ingredients (four servings)

500g char fillets (alternatively perch or trout)
12-15 green juniper berries
One bundle of fallen juniper
One litre of trumpet chanterelles (alternatively porcini mushrooms)
One bundle of chickweed
12-15 wood sorrels
3 tbsp butter
2-3 pinches of salt

Method

  1. Light the fire and then soak the juniper.
  2. Remove the skin from the fish.
  3. Cut the fish into 3x3cm pieces, sprinkle a pinch of salt over them and put into the strainer.
  4. Fry the mushrooms in a hot pan for 3-4 minutes with one tbsp of butter. Salt to taste.
  5. Brown the remaining butter in a frying pan, add the juniper berries and put aside.
  6. Put the juniper on the fire and hold the strainer with the fish above it until the rice is on fire.
  7. Mix the fish with the mushrooms and put onto a plate. Top with brown juniper butter, chickweed and wood sorrel.

4. Acorn and hazelnut crumbs with fruit and berry compote

(August Dellert/imagebank.sweden.se)

(August Dellert/imagebank.sweden.se)

Much like the British classic, smulpaj is a traditional Swedish crumble. This recipe has added a twist, drawing inspiration from the country’s foraging culture by including ingredients you can pick while enjoying a countryside walk. Autumn is the perfect time for this dish: the wild berries which ripen during the summertime are still good to pick during the autumn, while the forests of central and southern Sweden are packed with hazelnuts and acorns ready to drop from their branches. Swedish law deems it illegal to pick acorns directly from the trees, but once they begin to fall to the ground throughout autumn, you’re entitled to help yourself. Head out on a walk to the deciduous forests of Tiveden National Park, lying halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg, or the old-growth woodland of Dalby Söderskog National Park near Malmö and either will reward you with a bumper crop. Smulpaj is traditionally made with apples, but it’ll taste all the better with fruit you’ve picked in the Swedish countryside yourself.

The recipe

Ingredients (four servings)

50g acorns
50g hazelnuts
160g assorted fruits/berries
50g honey
5g yarrow
7g sweet cicely
10g butter
A pinch of salt
100ml of water

Method

Day One

  1. Soak the acorns

Day Two

  1. Peel and parboil the acorns, chop roughly. Peel and chop the hazelnuts roughly.
  2. Fry the acorns and hazelnuts, until they have a beautiful golden colour. Add the honey.
  3. Clean the berries and chop the fruit. Place in a saucepan together with 100ml of water. Bring to a boil and taste with honey.
  4. Serve the fruit and berry compote warm, together with the acorn and hazelnut crumbs.

Visit the world’s largest gourmet restaurant

(Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se)

(Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se)

When the time is right,  head to Sweden (aka The Edible Country) and book yourself a table pitched in some of Sweden’s most beautiful and varied corners. There, you can prepare, cook and enjoy a nine-course menu, curated by a quartet of Michelin-starred chefs, stuffed full of ingredients inspired by your natural surroundings.

Welcome to Sweden, when the time is right

Until the time is right for you to start travelling again, let us inspire you to visit Sweden. For more Swedish travel inspiration and to find out more about where to go, where to stay, what to do and what to eat in Sweden, head over to the Visit Sweden website. 

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