“We don’t actually have them on the menu at the moment because if we did, that’s all we would sell. However, if you’re a local or you know to ask, you can ask them and we’ll make them”, we were told by the chef at the well-known Stockholm restaurant, Tranan. Even though köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) aren’t currently on the menu there, he told us they still sell about 70 kilograms of the food each week. The hand-made meatballs are slightly larger than most Swedes are used to. They tasted terrific and they were very filling. And we had already eaten so much on Nordic Experience Food Tour of Stockholm, run by Food Tours Stockholm which I participated in today.
In booking the tour (which runs between 2.00 and 5.30pm), I faced a dilemma about how I should “pace myself” food-wise today. I wasn’t sure if I needed to have an early lunch or a late dinner. In the end I settled on a late breakfast, and a cup of coffee and a small muffin around lunchtime. Just as well, because I ate an awful lot today.
The tour began at Hötorgshallen, a food-market right in the centre of Stockholm. There, we tasted a variety of sausages, cheeses, a Finish rice cake, some brown bear, some herring, and some salmon, which were accompanied by water, beer and Aquavit. My favourite parts of this part of the tour were the descriptions of the different cheeses given by Doktor Käse (Doctor Cheese), and by Martin from Hav who described the herring and salmon dishes. Both spoke with passion about their chosen areas of food speciality.
Along the way, we visited quite a few different food venues, including food shops, restaurants and cafes. Of particular note was was the organic and fresh gelato from Stikki Nikki, a small chain of gelato shops in Stockholm. The tour ended with fika (I had tea) in a small “dungeon like” restaurant/cafe in a building that’s several hundred years old.
The tour group was fun, with some Swedes, some Americans, a woman from Singapore and myself. They limit the groups to a maximum of twelve people (our group had eleven) to maximise the experience. Our guide, Gunilla, was excellent. Knowledgeable and passionate about food, she was also friendly and had a lovely sense of humour. Over almost four hours, I thought the tour was excellent value, and I don’t need to worry about dinner.
On Sunday, I’m going on another food tour from this group which I’m looking forward to very much, given today’s experience.