Eating and travel are lots of fun. Hopefully when you hit the air – and the road – with friends, there will be a lot of hits. But inevitably, you do run the risk of a few misses. En route to a remote part of Sweden, we drove for a while, seeing nothing but trees, remarkably blue skies, one or two clouds, and a car-free road in front of us.
But soon our tummies started rumbling. We had hoped to pass a charming little place on one of the picturesque little lakes that we kept driving by, dreaming of platters of fresh fish caught that morning with a bowl piled with new potatoes, slick with Swedish butter, dill sprigs, and crunchy flakes of salt. Alongside we might sip a locally made beer. Then finish up with a bracing cup of good Swedish coffee to send us back on our way.
However as the lunch hour grew more distant, fearing we wouldn’t be able to get anything if we went any further, we pulled into a small town where there was a little café with a handwritten “Cafe” sign. Inside was a small assortment of open-faced sandwiches. (And when I say “small” and “assortment”, I mean “two.”)
The good news is that they were still serving and there was a sunny deck to sit on with – yes – a real Swedish lake off in the distance.
“What’s that?” one of my friends asked the stout, rosy counterwoman. “It’s called a Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta).’” Intrigued (well, she was more than the rest of us…) she ordered one and I opted for the less-complicated, what-you-see-is what-you-get meatball sandwich smeared with equally rosy beet mayo.
For some reason, the third in our party thought that he and I should share one of the sandwich cakes as well. (And when I say, “for some reason”, it’s because after trying a forkful of the sandwich, I’ve decided not to speak him any more.) A lot of the beauty of Scandinavia comes from austerity, and I tend to agree with the less-is-more mentality, and perhaps let the pictures speak for themselves.
I was only able to make it through a few bites of my sandwich cake. I mean, I like the idea, but am not sure this was the “Best of” Swedish cuisine that I was looking for. Once we got through lunch, as best we could (does anyone really finish that?), we hopped in the car and sped off to our next adventure.