Here’s another cuisine surprise – Swedish is more than meatballs and pickled herring. And even these plebeian offerings are delightfully presented.
The cuisine centers around sour cream and other cultured dairy products. The grocery stores packed huge blocks of cheese and rows and rows of yogurt, Kefir and I don’t know what.
They make gorgeous breads, hearty, seedy, crackery. Mighty fine!
Deserts are a delight. There are lots of fruit deserts as well as creamy and there are lots of cookies.
Watch out for your purse in the cafes, though. Our first cappuccino, espresso and basic cookie cost us $20.00. Eating out is everywhere through the roof. This is a soup eating culture – a bowl will easily run you $10. They make thick fruit soups including rose hip and blueberry. Lingonberries are made into a jam and served with various dishes. It is on the bitter side, not as bitter as cranberries though. Dishes are prepared with butter and margarine, although you can get olive oil in the markets but these are not traditional. Fish is plentiful and not too crazy expensive if prepared at home.
Oh, did I mention that the Swedes have a sweet from time to time?
Alcohol. There’s plenty and it’s taxed highly so the $2 bottle of Spanish wine is $12 (not that different from what you’d pay in the US). Some of that is from transport costs but largely it’s tax, the government’s way of trying to discourage excess consumption. I suppose things might be worse if they didn’t, but the Swedes are known for weekend binges. Have a glass during the week, though, and you might raise eyebrows. The day-to-day is beer. You can buy beer in grocery stores if 3.2% or less. Everything else comes from the state-run liquor stores.
Few people associate Swedish cuisine with the world’s finest, and it might not be, but it’s no slouch either, and their chefs are very well-trained even in inexpensive places. As Joel Gray put it in Cabaret, in Sweden, “Even the orchestra is beautiful.”