Did we eat a lot of amazing food in Stockholm? Hell yeah we did.
Have I already told you about it? Duh.
But I left out one major part because it deserved a post of its own.
THAT’S RIGHT. You guessed it. We food-toured the hell out of Stockholm, and we can wholeheartedly recommend this Tours of Stockholm food tour (try to get Dara as your guide!). Get ready to drool (for extra drool-worthiness, feel free to click to enlarge these photos of wonderful, wonderful food).
We started the day at Stockholm’s premiere food hall, Saluhall, right around the corner from our hotel (not a coincidence). Let me just say, Stockholm really has its priorities in order; even though the original Saluhall is closed for construction (a disappointment since it is supposed to have some amazing architecture we didn’t get to see), the vendors opened at a temporary spot across the street because like me and Jen, Swedes need their food!
Our amazing guide Dara started us off bright and early with some cheese, beer, and smoked meats. The cheese was dope because you know, it’s cheese in Europe, and recovering vegetarian Jen edged out of her comfort zone and tried a bit of the meats, some of which were new to even me, a forever omnivore.
Set before us was a plate of reindeer, elk, and bear salami. I did already try elk a couple times in Quebec, but reindeer and CERTAINLY bear were new for me. TBH, because it was all smoked, it mostly just tasted salty to me. I am not sure I could have told you the difference between the reindeer and any other smoked deli meat. And the bear salami really just tasted like jerky.
Following that…breakfast (?), we visited Ingelsta Kalkon for some Swedish meatballs. Y’all, these were no IKEA meatballs. Served with a tender potato with lingonberry suace on top, this meatball was possibly the best meatball I’ve ever had. Can we get more lingonberries up in the States?
We had some brilliant weather while we were in Stockholm, so after our meatballs, Dara took us on a bit of a walking tour of the city in between food stops. We stopped at a mid-week open-air farmers’ market that had some of the most beautiful grapes and berries I’ve ever seen AND piles and piles of truffles. The Swedes are living right.
After that, it was time for our sit-down lunch. Yes, LUNCH. Kajsas Fisk is a 35-year-old restaurant situated in another food market, Hötorgshallen. There we had their famous fish stew as well as two open-faced sandwiches, one with shrimp salad and one with fried herring. Like the Danish smørrebrød, the amazing seafood here really elevated what is essentially a fancy toast, and I wanted to lick the bowl when I was finished with my soup.
While Jen at times finds herself challenged by meat-eating countries on our travels as a recovering vegetarian, I rarely have such challenges. In fact, I like to try at least one out-of-the-ordinary food per trip.
That said, I am occasionally confronted with being on a food tour and facing a bite of something I truly despise. There aren’t that many foods out there I hate. In fact, there are only roughly five. But not wanting to waste a single experience during a food tour (or any of portion of the money spent on it), I force myself to down something horrific.
In Madrid, it was olives. In Stockholm, I tried three bites of black licorice. FEH.
Apparently, the world’s freaks (i.e., people who actual like this foul substance) are all clustered in Scandinavia. Despite having excellent taste in coffee and baked goods, the Nordic people actually LOVE licorice. WHY.
After walking past a beautiful wall of what is likely the best jam I’ll never taste, we were “treated” to samples of licorice at Chokalad and Lakrits, a store inside a mall/food mall. This licorice, I will add, comes in varieties, and I don’t mean good varieties like strawberry or raspberry. It is ALL black licorice. We tried three — salted, smoked, and sweet.
The salted tasted like evil, the smoked tasted like evil, and the sweet tasted like evil.
You’re welcome, I took one for the team and saved you the trouble of trying black licorice in Sweden. It’s no different than black licorice here; it is equally bad and just comes in different varieties of horrifying.
THANKFULLY, we chased the licorice nightmare with chocolate. REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE at Chokladfabriken. Did you know European chocolate is significantly better than what we grew up with here in the States? It doesn’t have that slight hint of barf the way ours does because they don’t preserve the hell out of it. And why would they need to? It’s so fucking good it doesn’t last.
Ironically, we did try a truffle that involved black licorice. But it also involved caramel and sea salt, so I didn’t pick up any hints of hell. We also had a divine raspberry truffle and a cup full of creamy chocolate sorbet. Jen actually couldn’t finish hers. So I did.
At this point, we were very full, so Dara took us on a little windy tour through Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. It’s beautiful, and if you take a look at the lower left photo above, you’ll see a photo apparently stolen from future Jen and me. Yes, I can see us touristing and taking selfies with souvenir Viking hats on. Alternatively, I could also be the other lady I surreptitiously took this photo of, dressed from head to toe in black flowy clothes.
We ended our tour at Under Kastanjen (Under the Chestnut Tree) for fika, sweet beloved fika. Like most Swedish interiors, this place was perfect, and for once, there was absolutely no one we despised from our group (if you’re a long-time reader, you know this is a rarity). Everyone was a minimum of 30 years older than us and mostly retired, but we got along swimmingly. The women in particular adored that we regularly leave our men at home and see the world together. And everyone in the group, hailing from places in the States, Europe, and even Australia, bonded over a shared hatred of Donald Trump.
Nothing warms the heart like cinnamon rolls, coffee, and a common enemy.