Wine tasting at Hällåkra, a Swedish Vineyard

IMG_5720.JPG

When I was little Hällåkra was a farm nearby our house, but the last twelve years or so the farm has been transformed into a vineyard. In the south of Sweden. It may sounds strange as some people imagine Sweden as an eternally cold country. But it’s not. Not in the south anyway. My mother has a fig tree, so the climate here is fairly mild. Very similar to Kent in England or even northern France, yet Swedish wine was unheard of until a few years ago.

IMG_5690.JPG

Anyway, having a vineyard so close by I’ve been dying to go, but fitting it in on my trips to Sweden has been a little difficult, but this summer I persuaded my friends to come with me, so we went to the wine tasting in the afternoon and then walked back to my parents’ house for dinner in the evening.

IMG_5694.JPG

My childhood friend Karl is now a sommelier working at the vineyard and was in charge of our wine tasting. He did a great job keeping it relaxed but informative and interesting at the same time. We asked lots of questions which Karl patiently answered, and despite the heavy (London-like) rain he also took us on a tour among the grapevines.So impressive! And a lovely walk in the sunshine.

IMG_5705.JPG

IMG_5707.JPG

We tried six wines, three whites and three reds, and it was very interesting to compare them.

Two of the whites were from their own production but different vintages, and it was very interesting comparing the two as they were very different. We tried the Solaris (that’s the grape) from 2015 and 2014, which were both really nice but my favourite was the 2014. Of the reds Hällåkra’s Rondo 2013 was lovely as was the Austrian Gut Oggau Josephine 2012.

IMG_5713.JPG

In Sweden you (unfortunately) can’t buy wine straight from the vineyards, but they can be bought through the government-owned shop Systembolaget, using what the call private import as it’s not readily available in their shops. More information, here, in Swedish.

Hällåkra Vingård, Hällåkravägen 47, 231 72 Anderslöv, Sweden 

Advertisements

Great lunch at Hörte Brygga, Southern Sweden

IMG_5952.JPG

Living abroad, I sometimes find it hard to keep up with things both here in London and back home in Sweden. I miss out on parties, christenings and other gatherings. And restaurants, actually. It’s obviously just the food blogger in me who feels deprived of that, especially as I have all the great restaurants in London on my doorstep. But, when I left Malmö the area wasn’t this booming. So much has happened in the eight years I’ve lived abroad and it’s difficult trying to keep up with everything the few weeks I come home to visit.

That’s why it took me two whole years (yep, they opened already in 2014) to visit Hörte Brygga, by the little harbour in Hörte on road 9 between Trelleborg and Ystad. Basically everyone I know have been by now, including my parents’ friends. But that’s OK, this is definitely a place for everyone, not just foodies. The restaurant has a super relaxed and friendly atmosphere but at the same time the staff is thorough, efficient and keeps a high standard. (Yes, it ticks all the boxes).

I arrived here one windy day in August to have lunch with my parents. While we decided on what to have (the lunch option of smoked fish) and drink (wine for mummy and I, a soft drinks for daddy who was driving) and paid, the basket with the food was prepared and ready for us to take to the table straight away. Oh, how I love the Swedish efficiency!

 

IMG_5948.JPG

Unpacking our basket at the table inside it felt like having a picnic and we could examine everything we were having; three types of sauces, three types of pickled, the smoked fish (both cod and mackerel), bread and butter.

IMG_5951.JPG

Everything was very good and the food was smoked just right (i.e. not too much). We loved the sauces, and the pickled radish (?) cut through the fat and the smoked flavour of the fish perfectly.

We all really liked the place and can’t wait to go back. It’s a great concept and it’s executed very well. I can’t wait to come here for dinner one summer’s evening and sit outside watching the sea as I tuck into good food and wine with my friends.

Hörte Brygga, Hörte Hamn, Dybäck 465, 274 54 Skivarp, Sweden

Autumn in Sweden

The heading might strike you as peculiar, as we have autumn in the UK as well. But you see, these is a vast difference between the semi-autumn we have here in London, with temperatures around 20C, muggy weather and the coloured leaves and the proper autumn in the south of Sweden. When I went to visit last weekend it was around 10C and crisp lovely air as well as the coloured autumn leaves.

The countryside is wonderful around Malmö, where I’m from, and I went for a slow walk in the woods, trying to find some mushrooms and snapping away on my camera.

When we got back to my parent’s house I continued to take photos in my mother’s beautiful garden. Ok, it belongs to my dad as well, but mother is the one designing it and looking after it. It is so pretty that it has featured in one gardening magazine in Sweden and an agricultural magazine. Well done, mother!

We spent some time in the kitchen as well. On Saturday we had mushrooms (chanterelles and black trumpets) on toast followed by a meat fondue in oil, with potato wedges and bearnaise sauce. After a little break we finished the meal off with a tarte tatin from local apples and icecream.

On Sunday we had a traditional (Swedish) roast with venison, boiled potatoes, creamy gravy, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and jelly. A perfect end to a perfect country weekend.