Despite the small detail that our bags went to Copenhagen and we had to wear the same clothes for 2 days straight while we awaited their return, Sweden has been great so far! We enjoyed the view of the lake in Sigtuna and watching families picnicking on the grass, flying kites, walking their dogs, sunbathing, and paddling small boats. Oh, and of course eating too! When we arrived at 8 in the morning after being awake for who knows how many hours, we were immediately drawn to a little bakery that sold delicious, strong coffee in small cups, and a variety of perfect little pastries – a cherry tart with a crumbly topping, a cinnamon-cardamom bun topped with coarse sugar, and a flaky raisin, almond, and cinnamon twist.
We succeeded staying awake until our dinner at the Sigtuna Stads Hotel, where we had to apologize for not having a change of clothes. (They didn’t seem to care. We were eating so early anyway that no one else was even in the restaurant!) Still, the impeccable service did not match our attire. We were immediately brought an amuse-bouche: a small piece pickled herring, on top of some potato that had been dyed by octopus ink, caviar, and the weirdest powdery butter that had the texture of snow, but was warm — we think molecular gastronomy was involved! How cool!
My mouth now feeling sufficiently amused, I enjoyed a salted salmon appetizer, served with meadow sorrel, cucumber, roe, and brown bread.
Dustin and my Dad both had a simple salad of beets, hazelnuts, and baby greens.
Next I ate pike-perch (a mild white fish) with dill, lobster foam, carrot puree, and baby root vegetables. Wow. This was the kind of entrée I had only seen in an Iron Chef battle!
Dustin ate an interesting cut of lamb that included more fat than what most Americans are probably used to, but it was tender and flavorful. I asked him if he remembered what it was served with and he said he didn’t, other than that it was garlicky. So there you go! At least you can gawk at the presentation!
Dessert was a selection of Swedish farm cheeses (my favorite of which was a blue that was so subtle and delicious) with fig jam, bread, and lightly dressed greens.
However, my fork kept gravitating towards Dustin’s “variation of rhubarb” creation. Isn’t it beautiful? Rhubarb ice cream sat atop cookie crumbs, surrounded by little toasty meringue drops, raw shavings of rhubarb, cubes of stewed rhubarb, and edible flowers. A delicious masterpiece.
We were just as impressed by the strawberry sorbet accompanied by a green strawberry snow. How the chef made it, we have no idea, but we were content to sit back and bask in the mystery of it all. By this time we could barely keep our eyes open, but last I remember we were enjoying a glass of champagne. Time to hit the most comfortable pillow ever!!
Jet-lag enabled us to wake up before anyone else and take advantage of the early morning light reflecting on the stillness of the lake. This was the lighting at 4am!
We had the oldest church in Sweden all to ourselves that morning. We walked around its cool, stone walls in appreciation of its history and antiquity.
Breakfast here is heaven on earth. A smörgåsbord of sweet and savory things – from liver pate to flaky pastries filled with fresh custard; smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced meats, baby pickles, you name it. There is surely something for everyone.
Here I am peeling my perfectly cooked hardboiled egg!
Choices to wash everything down included 6 kinds of juice, 3 kinds of fruit soups, including blueberry and rosewater, and strong coffee. Perfect cure for jet-lag!
Fully fueled and caffeinated, we made our trek to our next stop on the west side of the country …