11 September 2017

An adventure to Fäviken Magasinet




Last October, Geoff and I went on a lovely adventure to the north of Sweden to visit the two Michelin starred Fäviken Magasinet. I can't imagine a more beautiful time of year to visit northern Sweden, as autumn leaves turned the forests shades of orange and red, and frost coated the grass on misty mornings.

Beautiful Jämtland

Making a booking

Getting a table can be hard - my suggestion is to stalk their website and check the time and date that bookings become available. Then book the moment they come out. All the places are taken almost immediately, so you'll need to be fast, especially if you want to stay at the restaurant hotel.



Getting there

We flew from Stockholm to Östersund then hired a car to drive the 1 hour and 15 minutes to Fäviken.

Misty morning at Fäviken

Where to stay

We stayed at the accommodation offered by the restaurant. It was a simple room, and everyone shared bathrooms and showers as well as a sauna. It's pretty basic but I found it lovely and cosy. It's probably a good option if you are fond of wine because there is really nowhere else to stay nearby, and I have no idea if there are taxis to and from Fäviken - it's really in a beautiful forest in the middle of nowhere.

If you can't get a room at Fäviken, or you'd prefer to stay elsewhere then the ski resort of Åre is only a 30 minute drive away with plenty of hotels.


 

Dinner at Fäviken

In true Swedish egalitarian style, before dinner we were seated with other guests for drinks and some food, which was a really nice way to meet new people. Then it was time to move upstairs to the main minimalist Scandinavian dining room.

There were around 16 or so courses ranging from moose to lamb tongue to an ash coated egg. Geoff enjoyed the scallop (pictured above). One enjoyable surprise for me was the brown cheese pie (brunost), which when I originally read the menu sounded a little too savory for what I was hoping for a dessert, but in fact tasted like caramel. It was served with very sour gompa, which is a traditional Sami dish made from the herb angelica.

After dinner we were ushered back downstairs by the fire with our new pre-dinner friends and we spent the rest of the evening enjoy wine and some final little dishes with them.

Breakfast perfection

This might be blasphemy, but one of the highlights for me was breakfast the next morning. Sometimes in life you really can't beat the simple beauty of good quality ham, cheese, butter and warm bread straight from the oven. It was topped by a fresh hallongrotta straight from the oven, which is incidentally my favourite Swedish biscuit of all time - think shortbread with a dollop of raspberry jam in the middle.

All in all, diner at Fäviken was a memorable experience and a beautiful end to our time in Sweden (for now). I felt as though we were being taken on a journey through Sweden experiencing local produce and dishes I hadn't tried before, but sadly it wasn't always delicious. If you wish to see an absolutely stunning part of Sweden and have a dining experience unlike any other then it is worth the adventure there but if you only have time for one Michelin dining experience in Sweden then Frantzen in Stockholm is still my favourite by far.

 

What else to see in the area

If you come in winter then this part of Sweden is very popular for skiing - very near by is the ski resort of Åre. Åre Glashytta, where the beautiful hand made glasses at Fäviken are from can also be found here.

Östersund where we flew in was quite cute and was worth exploring for a couple of hours. If you are interested in history, you can see the Frösö runestone on the nearby island of Frösön.

This area of Sweden is basically beautiful forests sprinkled with lakes, so it's just lovely to drive through and explore a part of the world that is quite untouched and peaceful.

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4 September 2017

Macadamia nut ice cream with mango and speculaas crumble


Lately the shops in Zürich have been piled high with beautiful ripe mangoes, reminding me of my mother's house in tropical Queensland. So I decided to take advantage of this Swiss mango season and make something very bright and summery for dessert along with the help of my little herb garden where lately the mint has been growing wildly. Speculaas, a Dutch gingerbread biscuit, goes well with almost anything on earth, so I never need an excuse to make some.

 

Ingredients

  • One fresh mango cut into small cubes
  • Fresh mint

 

Macadamia nut ice cream 

If you don't have the time/desire to make ice cream from scratch just buy your favourite flavour from the shops - the rest is very quick and easy. For those who'd like to try:
  • 500 ml milk  
  • 500 ml pouring cream   
  • 6 egg yolks  
  • 150 g caster sugar  
  • 1 - 2 vanilla beans
  • 120 g lightly toasted macadamia nuts

 

Speculaas crumble

  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 50 g toasted whole almonds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90 g brown sugar
  • 110 g unsalted butter

For the macadamia nut ice cream add the milk and cream to a pan, then slice a vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the pan as well as the whole bean and half the sugar. I added a second vanilla bean because I decided I wanted a very vanillary ice cream. A good quality vanilla bean should be quite bendy with an oily exterior, try to avoid stiff and dry vanilla beans.

Warm the cream and milk mixture until it almost begins to boil. Take off the heat and in another bowl whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add to the milk mixture and stir continuously until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon. Don't let it get too hot or it will curdle and you'll have to start again.

Strain and set the mixture in a metal bowl set inside another bowl filled with ice. Place in the refrigerator when it's cooled to room temperature, and then leave until completely cool.

Then add the mixture into your ice cream machine - mine takes around 50 to 60 minutes to set - add the lightly chopped macadamia nuts towards the end when the consistency is quite thick or the nuts will fall to the bottom. If you don't have an ice cream machine you can also place your bowl in the freezer and then stir with a whisk every 30 minutes or so until it's reached an ice cream like consistency.   



For the speculaas crumble, preheat the oven to 180 degrees and cover a tray with baking paper.

Use a food processor to grind the almonds to a fine consistency and then add this to the flour, spices, salt and sugar. Add the butter until the dough reaches a nice crumbly texture.

Crumble the dough onto the baking paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Once cool, crumble again and leave aside. I've also frozen some unbaked speculaas crumble so that I can easily defrost it and bake it when needed.

Slice the mango into cubes and add fresh mint. Serve and be happy.

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