Summer Weekend in Göteborg

My cookbook co-author Alex and I love to eat and travel. When our first book came out we traveled to Paris to go to the cookbook fair and to explore the culinary side of the city. This time we wanted to visit a city in Scandinavia and go to a workshop. Earlier this year I happened to find Sonja’s lovely blog Dagmar’s Kitchen, and saw that she also offer workshops. Her style is simple and beautiful or better yet, simply beautiful. So we set a date and were on our way to Göteborg.

We arrived in the evening, but since the sun doesn’t set until very late, i.e. it’s dusk all night, we dropped off our baggage at our place for the weekend, we grabbed our camera and headed off to the harbor. Such beautiful light!

What would Göteborg be without its boats and dockside cranes?

The next day we took the tram out to Sonja’s house where she works and teaches her workshops. I immediately fell in love with the area (and her house)! Beautiful white homes set near the waterfront amid lush green trees, bushes and erratic boulders.

She greeted us with a little chocolate treat (chocolate brownies and salted fudge frosting) which we enjoyed while she told us about her preferred lighting, camera settings and styling. Then we started. Sonja prepared a 3 course meal for us, which we styled before eating each one. We collected herbs from her garden, were allowed to use anything in her plethora of pretty dishes, fabrics, flatware and ask as many questions as we wished. While we sat at her beautifully decorated table eating, we talked about food, cookbooks and life in general.

We began with the braised carrots. Alex and I each styled our own plate and then took turns photographing the other’s dish, learning from each other.

Next, we styled the roasted tomato soup. Alex went outside to photograph in the garden while I pushed myself to try something new and photograph against the wooden steps leading up to the house. It wasn’t easy and when I had had enough I went in to quickly style a shot inside against my favorite blue background.

Dessert, our last course, were little tarts with vanilla mascarpone cream and seasonal berries. How those berries glowed!

We left with our bellies filled with delicious food, our minds bursting with new ideas and our hearts full. Thank you to Sonja for the very inspiring workshop!

The next 1.5 days were spent walking around Göteborg, shopping and sightseeing, eating fish and cinnamon rolls and trying to escape bouts of torrential rain. Luckily for us, the evenings were usually clear when we went out in search of dinner.

We walked through the Haga area which is filled with vintage stores, cute cafés and interesting buildings. Bicycles and pretty buildings can be found all over the city.

Just as we were finishing our shopping spree the rain stopped and after leaving our bags at our apartment we headed to the Trädgårdsföreningen, a few steps from where we stayed. We strolled through the park, first along the river, then through the palm house and finally the two rose gardens.

As we looked at the plants in the palm house, I pointed to some and told Alex that my grandmother had had them in her garden. Standing under the feijoa tree, I remembered picking them off the tree in her backyard with my sister and scooping out the sweet flesh for an afternoon snack.

Each of us walked through the rose gardens in silence, taking photos, listening to the happy chatter of other guests, smiling at the chirping birds, looking at the fountains and watching a couple have their wedding pictures taken.

Our last day was spent on the southern islands off the coast and we were lucky we didn’t have one drop of rain the whole day! We took the ferry from Saltholmen to Styrsö and from there walked across the bridge to Donsö. There are no cars on the islands and pretty summer cottages can be found behind every turn in the road.

When I think back to that day, I vividly remember the smell. The smell of the sea air paired with the smell of wild roses which grow everywhere on the island.

Just in time for lunch the sun came out and as we sat on a dock and enjoyed our picnic lunch of hot smoked salmon and mackerel, marinated herring, local cheeses, crisp bread and Swedish strawberries, we laughed at the funny sounds the sea gulls made as they chased each other around and tried to convince us that they too needed something to eat.

After lunch we walked through the forest to the highest point of the island, Stora Rös for wonderful views of the islands in the archipelago.

We headed over the bridge to Donsö as the sun came out from behind the clouds, only to disappear a few seconds later and reappear right afterwards.

As we sat facing the waterfront, watching boats go by and eating our ice cream bars we talked about the weekend and where we planed to go next. Maybe another Scandinavian city?
Tusen tack för den underbara tid i Göteborg, Alex!
Where to eat:

da Matteo: This place roasts it’s own coffee, makes delicious cinnamon and cardamom buns and the bread looks out of this world.

Café Kanold: This little café is prefect for resting while on a shopping spree! We sat down for lunch to enjoy our deluxe shrimp tartine: rye bread topped with a piece of smoked salmon and covered with shrimp and served with mayonnaise and a slice of lemon. Don’t forget to buy some of the delicious chocolates!

Saluhallen: The food hall which had us wanting to buy everything in sight. We went for cheese and reindeer salami.

Feskekôrka: This is fish heaven, easy to believe as the name translates into “fish church”. Here we bough hot smoked mackerel and salmon along with marinated herring for our picnic.

Liebling: The new place in town. The staff was willing to translate the menu for us!

Bee: A very popular place with very good food. We enjoyed the large selection of local beers and ordered “delicacies of the sea”: baked mussels and smoked shrimp. We skipped the mains and went right for dessert: chocolate truffles for Alex and Swedish strawberry trifle for me. Heaven.

Fiskekrogen: The most memorable meal in so many ways. We were given a table in the round tower room and the woman who was in charge of our table was extraordinarily friendly, helpful and sweet. It was hard to decide what to have for dinner, but we decided on the tasting menu, minus the course with the fish paired with lamb for me.


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