Gotland: Sylvis döttrar café on Fårö

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A real ‘must’ when visiting Fårö, the little island just north of Gotland, is a fika (coffee and cake) at Sylvis döttrar, a bakery and café on the island. My friends mentioned it like an institution; it must have been around for years, so we made sure to visit in the afternoon.

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The place was very popular with a long queue of tourists waiting to buy their baked goods, but we were not all that impressed.

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Both mother and I are keen bakers and we all found the cakes a little basic. And some slightly dry. I got a sense that the café was past its prime, living on its reputation from years ago.

A real shame, when so many people come here for fika all summer long.

Sylvis döttrar, Fårö Bukleks 1526, 624 67 Fårö, Sweden 

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Gotland: Lauters wonderful café on Fårö

 

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Driving around the small island of Fårö, looking for sustenance (it was lunch time after all), I spotted a pretty driftwood sign by the road pointing us in the direction of Lauters Café.

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I think it epitomises the island perfectly with it’s ruins, makeshift furniture and laid-back vibe.

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You could play boule, have a siesta in the hammock or even a massage.

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Or have lunch. Which is what we did.

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Mum and dad had the sandwiches to your left with cooked brisket and mustard, and I had one of the wraps in the foreground with smoked salmon, horseradish and rocket.

Simple food, but very well prepared. There was also a huge lunch buffet serving lots of salads, sausages and pancakes for pudding. That was too much for us though, but we couldn’t resist something sweet to finish off our lunch.

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The traditional saffron pancake, typical for Gotland.

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With dewberry jam and whipped cream of course. To my mother this is a little piece of heaven, and this one in particular was amazing. The best one either of us had ever had.

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We also had to have a cardamom bun and it was equally amazing. I think this might be my new favourite café.

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The kind of café I wouldn’t mind owning one day. Set in the beautiful countryside, a place to have good food and just hang out.

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Gorgeous, isn’t it?!

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And the best part, was definitely having that saffron pancake in this milieu; among the ruins.

Lauters Bar Mat Café, Fårö Lauter 1993, 624 66 Fårö, Sweden

Gotland: north, east and Fårö

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Our first full day on Gotland we wanted to discover as much as possible and decided to head north and east (the next day we went south and west) and our first stop was the Lummelunda Cave, one of Scandinavia’s biggest caves.

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It’s pretty touristy, but well worth a visit as it’s both pretty cool to see, but it’s also interesting to hear how the cave was discovered. I remember visiting when I was four years old, and although it was probably more amazing experiencing the cave as a child it was still nice to come back as an adult and experience it in a different way.

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After the cave experience we took the car ferry to Fårö where the nature is absolutely amazing. The island is barren and stony, but also eerie and pretty. And there’s sheep (and sheep huts) almost everywhere (Fårö translates as Sheep Island). 

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We found the most amazing café here, just by following a sign I thought looked promising, that I would recommend everyone to visit, but we also stopped for fika at the famous and more traditional Sylvis Döttrar bakery. Reviews to follow.

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After that we drove back to Gotland and headed east to Furillen, a former limestone quarry that’s extremely beautiful. The restaurant was closed unfortunately, but it was worth stopping here for the nature alone.

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We covered quite a lot of the island just driving around (and stopping when we saw a good photo opportunity).

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Although Gotland is small there are things to see and do (and eat!) just about everywhere, so it’s good to be selective. The Gotland Guide from the ferry over is great to use and we kept one in the car the whole time.

Recipe: creamy apple and dill sauce for fish

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The type of cooking I love the most is when you have a few simple ingredients that you add the together, and the result is so much more than the some of its parts. It’s like magic, really!

This excites me to no end and I love sharing those recipes with you readers.

The recipe below may sound simple, and it so is – if it didn’t involve a knife anyone could do it blindfolded – but the reward is grand. It’s the perfect recipe to remember for those light summer lunches in the summer when you’d rather sip rosé with your friends than cook (see evidence below).

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Creamy apple and dill sauce for fish, serves 4

150 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnise

3 apples, cut into small cubes

plenty of chopped dill

salt and ground white pepper

Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise, then add the apple cubes and dill. Stir together and season to taste. Serve with fish. 

Visby: dinner at Donners Brasserie

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We arrived Visby in the afternoon, having been up since 5am, so we were quite happy just walking around the town for a bit (taking some photos) and then have an early no-fuss dinner.

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We ended up at Donners Brasserie and sat outside people-watching (so much fun when most people were dressed in medieval attire). You could tell it was the end of the season as none of the restaurants were full up but at least we were not alone dining here.

The menu was quite simple and although the smoked prawns for a starter appealed we were all hungry starving and went straight for the main course.

Mother had arctic char with potatoes baked in tin foil and served with a coriander mayo. Not ground-breaking but it was cooked well.

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I had the steak with bearnaise sauce and fries. The meat was slightly over-cooked but still nice.

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Father had the largest portion (so generous!) of lamb racks I’ve ever seen, with sautéed vegetables and a potato salad.

The food was nice, and not very elaborate but I can see it appealing to the crowds in the summer. It was all fresh and cooked well just lacking a bit of oomph.

Donners Brasserie, Donners plats 3, 621 57 Visby, Sweden 

Sweden: The medieval city of Visby, Gotland

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Gotland is the largest island in Sweden and a real summer island. I imagine it’s pretty much only locals here during the rest of the year, but during the summer the tourists come invading – both Swedish and from abroad –  and they’re joined by summer guests making the city all buzzing with parties and people milling about.

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Visby, the only city on the island, is the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia and hosts an annual medieval festival in the summer. The city dates back to around 900 AD, which you see traces of all over town.

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The city wall is the most prominent feature, but there are also lots of church ruins, a medieval cathedral and lots of houses dating back to that time. It feels like even the cobbled streets tell a story of olden times. So much heritage!

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We, my parents and I, were here during the medieval festival (by coincidence) and it was great fun walking around the city seeing people dressed in medieval outfits – some more elaborate than others.

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Visby has a modern side too though, with a nice harbour, lots of restaurants and shops and a nice botanical garden.

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They also have these super cute sheep cast from cement scattered all over town which are modelled after the local Gotland variety gute sheep.

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Stay tuned for more posts about this lovely island!

Recipe: salmon en crôute

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When I had friends over for an al fresco luncheon at the summer house in August, this salmon en crôute was a great success. I have Gordon Ramsay to thank for the excellent recipe, although I tweaked it slightly, using puff pastry instead of shortcrust and doubled the recipe.

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I served the salmon with buttery amandine potatoes with peas and dill, provencale tomatoes and a lovely sauce I will tell you all about in another post. Everybody liked it, including the children!

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It was just the perfect summer’s day to sit outside sipping rosé and catching up with dear friends.

I did make too much salmon though, but that just meant I had lunch for the next day. And heated up in the oven (a microwave will make the pastry soggy) it was as good as the day before!

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Salmon en crôute, serves 4

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe.

I doubled the recipe and made two parcels, and also substituted the shortcrust pastry for puff as I like the buttery flakiness better.

1 side of salmon (as even as possible), about 900 g, skinned

a little olive oil

60 g butter, softened

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

generous handful of basil leaves, chopped

small handful of dill leaves

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1 roll puff pastry with butter

1 egg yolk, beaten

Check the salmon for pin bones, removing any that you find. 

Mix the softened butter with the lemon zest, basil, dill and some salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Pat the salmon fillets dry with kitchen paper, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the herb butter over one side and place the salmon with the buttery side down on the rolled out puff pastry. Spread the mustard on top and bring up the edges and tuck them in before folding the rest of the pastry over to form a neat parcel. Carefully turn the whole thing over so that the seam is underneath and place on a parchment lined baking tray.

Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Lightly score a herringbone or cross-hatch pattern using the back of a knife. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover loosely and chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C. 

Bake the salmon for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Rest the salmon for 5 minutes, then cut into portions.