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Swedish potatoes
Swedish bread ring

I had no idea what to expect when I planned a trip to Sweden. I think it was a friendly discussion between friends when we decided it would be interesting to go to Fäviken, the famed restaurant northward of Stockholm. (I’ll do a separate post on that since it was such a unique experience.) So we made a reservation, then decided to spend a few days before and after, wandering around Stockholm, seeing what’s good to eat in the Swedish capital.

Stockholm phone boothSwedish bread
swedish cookiesgrain bread at Scandic in Stockholm

There is a lot of talk of the new “Nordic” cuisine – which often uses old-style techniques for cooking, and celebrates traditional ingredients, reviving some that were in the process of disappearing. Other chefs are exciting diners with unexpected flavors and combinations. This modern cuisine sometimes relies on smoking, grilling, and cooking over fire. I was pretty excited to go and see what these young chefs were doing, but I was also interested in tasting anything that was traditionally Swedish as well, including the breads and confections.

organic flour & grains

One the whole, we ate very well. I’ve posted a few tips at the end for making a visit to Stockholm a bit easier on the budget. There were a lot of details on the plates during a few of the most lengthy meals. At those places, meals were meant to be experienced, and are not easily written about. But I was just has happy pulling up to a market counter and downing a plate of Swedish meatballs and lingonberries. Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

The first day, after a late afternoon arrival, we squeezed in lunch at Lisa Elmqvist, an 85-year old café in the Östermalms Saluhall.

Lisa Elmqvist menu

It was nice to have a meal in the midst of this pristine food hall where folks can sit at the counter amongst all the icy showcases of fresh seafood. After finishing off a few open-faced sandwiches of smoked fish, we had an outstanding Sole meunière with brown butter, and a less-successful smoked salmon with creamed wild mushrooms. (Disclosure: Am not a fan of creamy sauces – with fish or otherwise.)

Swedish butcherlobsters
fish paste sandwichfish

Our post-flight hunger pangs let us made quick work of the little open-faced sandwiches with mayonnaise and shrimp, but I loved Jansson’s Temptation, which they brought me a taste of. It’s a potato-rich dish baked with sprats (a small, oily fish) and served with aquavit or beer. Or, er, both. It was a great introduction to Stockholm and I could have eaten a big, wide dish of the warmly luxurious casserole. And another shot of aquavit would have been welcome, too – if I wasn’t so wiped out from my voyage getting to Stockhom. (Disclosure: I’m a wimpy flyer and even the shortest flight makes me exhausted.)

jansen's temptation

In the same marketplace were beautiful stands selling everything from elk hearts (raw, and croyvac’d so you could take them home) to beautiful, fat-marbled aged beef. Aged beef is something that I miss – aging beef makes it lose moisture and takes time, so few butchers in France sell beef rassis because of the increased costs/storage involved – and I was gnawing at the glass butcher case and I had to settle for just admiring them from afar.

aged meat

I wasn’t as excited about the raw elk heart, which was a little easier to leave behind.


Another indoor market was Hötorgshallen, where we wandered around looking at everything from bear sausage, to smoked reindeer filets.

meat in Stockholm

On the street level, vendors were selling berries. And lots of ‘em. Another thing I get homesick for are big baskets of summer blueberries, and here they were in abundance. But it was a bit before the season, so I passed on the plastic-wrapped baskets and will have to wait for my next visit to New England, I guess.

swedish strawberries

sweden strawberries

Instead, there was an overload of strawberries, some cherries, but we were most excited by the famed new potatoes that are so delicious in Sweden that they are rarely served with anything but butter and fresh dill.

potatoes and dill

And it isn’t Sweden unless there’s herring.

herring and mustard sandwich

(Well, I don’t really know that for a fact. But I think it sounds right.)

And the Nystekt Strömming herring stand at the Slussen subway station. Herring might not inspire the same rapture as, say, elk heart or bear sausage, but it’s good for you and pretty darned tasty – especially deep-fried (Nystekt Strömaains med Hemlagat Potatismos) or served with mustard sauce on sturdy Swedish bread (Ättiksströmming på Kavrins.) – and I think those are the extent of my typing in Swedish because I just blew out my spell-checker.

fried herringSwedish blue cheese
rainbow in stockholmchocolates at Chokladfabriken

But back at Saluplants, at the Hötorgshallens marketplace, the terrific and friendly fellows at the counter helped us, and I had my first Wallenbergare, a beef patty made with about 50% meat and 50% (*gulp*) heavy cream, barely held together with an egg. It was so good, I couldn’t believe it. It may have been the best “burger” I’ve had in my life.

Fortunately my friend was distracted, taking pictures of the countermen, giving me time to partake in more than my fair-share of the Wallenbergare. So as usual, someone else got the guy, and I got the leftovers. (But this time, I’m not complaining. Well, kind of…)

In addition to the beautiful folks of Sweden, I also love Swedish bread. (When I came home, my Parisian partner said, “Is Sweden known for their bread?”) Heck yeah! (Fortunately, the line of questioning ended there.) Hearty breads, packed with healthy grains are a Swedish tradition, along with the crispy rounds of knäckebröd.

caramels at Chokladfabriken

Aside from showcase of very dark chocolates, there were thing rings of outstanding knäckebröd at Dessert & Choklad, had onion puree kneaded into the dough. Each crackly bite was better than the next. Like the potatoes that took precedence over the berries, onions took center stage from the dark chocolates. I think we were so intoxicated by the beauty, freshness, and sharply edited Swedish style, that ordinary ingredients tasted new and somehow, refreshing.

Stockholm flatbread
Swedish "health" bread

There was a “health bread” that I wanted to buy, but the baker said it should be eaten the same day, which was a little much to contemplate, even for a bread-lover like me.

Cinnamon bun

I wasn’t as entranced by the twirly cinnamon roll (even for an American cinnamon-lover, like me, it was a bit much), but went goofy for the light hazelnut cakes in fluted cardboard molds.

hazelnut pastries

They made a wonderful snack, just after lunch at nearby Lux. (Which I plan to write about later, since they gave me a wonderful recipe that I want to share – once I figure out a work-around using a local ingredient.)

Swedish pancakes with lingonberries

I had a nice slice of dark, grainy bread at Scandic, during breakfast, shown way up above), and some traditional Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and butter, but was thrilled to hit the mothership of organic Swedish flours and grains. At Saltå Kvarns Butiker, I was almost as entranced with the packaging as I was with the counterman. (Hey, I’m only human. Why should my travel partners have all the fun?)

Swedish grainy bread

Everyone in Stockholm was almost surreally polite and friendly. When I asked a local if everyone was really that nice, they said- “Yes, but it’s not like in the states where people are trained to be nice. They are nice because they want to be.” In addition to the loaves of bread I picked up at the butiken (and bread-only…nothing else), I’ll buy that, too.

organic Swedish grains

When I was having lunch at Saluplats, the counterman forgot to bring me the bread. When he saw it was missing, he came running over to apologize and said, “Oh, how terribly rude of me. I’m very sorry.” I almost fell off the counter stool.

lingonberriesSwedish fellow
Swedish deli man reindeer sausage

I won’t go on about how I felt about how I felt about the Swedes because what happens in Stockholm, should stay in Stockholm, but after I asked if I could move in to the shop at the flour and bread butiken, I had to be pulled away with a crowbår.

Swedish meat and cream pattie

I had to act a little more respectable at Oaxen Krog, the new restaurant by chef Magnus Elk, which serves “reinterpretations” of Swedish food using local ingredients.

Oaxen restaurant

There were lots of swoops with sauce, some fire blasting away in the kitchen, tiny microgreens that perked up our mouths when we bit into them, and unusual combinations like chervil with white chocolate and “recycled” crab soup.

Oaxen Krog restaurant

Having recently moved to Stockholm for a location more remote, I really enjoyed watching the calm, competent staff at work and I don’t think I’d ever seen a kitchen or dining room so blissed out. While I’m sure they had their moments, likely before the customers arrived, the only moment of discord was when I couldn’t figure out how to use the faucet in the restroom and knocked the head off the “fountain” of water. Oops. See? You can’t take me anywhere..

crabmeat at Oaxen Krog restaurant

Our meal started with Oysters with sour milk and kohlrabi, spidercrab (shown) cooked with bladderwrack (with the recycled crab soup following that up, that was served tableside with the chef pouring steaming water over the leftover crab shells), then later on to an aged beef filet that was wrapped in birch leaf then “smoked” in a wooden box, courtesy of a blast from a blowtorch. We finished up with a tasty purée of fern and with chervil and white chocolate mousse and then a final bowl of fermented blueberries with yogurt cream and almond-popped wheat.

Oaxen Krog restaurantstockholm river
Swedish vaseOaxen Krog restaurant

It was interesting, but the 10-course meal got to be a bit much. (I have a hard time sitting still for a few hours, which is why I become a cranky flyer.) And I think it’d be fun next time to eat at their “slip”, their more casual restaurant just next door with a boat hovering overhead.

Because a good meal always ends with dessert – and chocolate (white or dark) – although it was just mid-afternoon when I went to Chokladfabriken, each moment in Stockholm felt like I was just finishing a meal, before heading on to the next one. So I was happy when I walked in the door, preparing for a chocolate overdose, and got the usual, happy-to-see-you Hej hej! Swedish greeting.

licorice caramels chocolates mocha tart

This exquisite café doesn’t just specialize in friendly greetings. The darkest of dark chocolates are there, including a very rich mocha tartlet, which was so dense I could barely cut it. (Although we had no trouble eating it.) There were also licorice-flavored salted caramels, which I brought home for my Swedish bread non-believer. And I even got over my aversion to licorice and enjoyed a few as well.

nutty tarts at Magnus Johannson

I also hit Magnus Johannson, which required me to familiarize myself with the extensive, and far-reaching, Stockholm transit system. (Yet it was so efficient; the seemingly lengthy trip took me a mere 15 minutes from the center of town, door-to-door.) Although he didn’t take me into his kitchen, I admired Chef Johannson’s almond paste tartlets and breads, but was leaving that afternoon and needed to get to my room and try to pack up everything I got before leaving the next day. (It was fortunate I didn’t pick up any of those elk hearts in the end, because I could not have barely squeezed one in my carry-on.)

cardamom rolls at Magnus Johannson almond paste tarts

The final night, me and my friend Anissa hit Ekstedt, where chef/owner Niklas Ekstedt cooks everything over the open fire, or smokes the food, making the flavors (and clothing odors) linger for days and days.

Chef Ekstedt told us when he was building the restaurant, the workers were insistant that he was opening a barbecue as he patiently tried to explain, over-and-over, that he was creating a space to cook over wood. But this is a lot more sophisticated and while I love barbecue, the flavors here are meant to surprise. I mean, how often do you have smoked herbs or thymus glands?

ekstedt main dish

We started with a roasted avocado with king crab, then moved on the a slender mackerel with smoked pea and parsley puree, which I scraped off the slab of stone. There were those amazing sweetbreads roasted in hay with summer truffles and corn (which was one of the best things I ate the entire week), ending with lamb served with a smear of salted caramel, a surprisingly good partner.

ekstedtEkstedt fish course (mackerel)
aebelskiverNiklas Ekstedt

Oh, and by the way, I think I had the best butter of my life here, which is made in the restaurant. I don’t know what he did to make it so good, but it was sad when they finally took it away, to make room for dessert of Aebelskivers (Danish doughnuts, baked in cast-iron) and roasted peach sorbet with chilli.

Ekstedt butter Ekstedt restaurant

On my way to the airport the last morning, I detoured off the subway and found myself, back at Saluplants and had Swedish meatballs, lingonberry juice, and knäckebröd, smeared with a few last smears of Swedish butter. Then it was off to the airport, and back home.

Swedish meatballs

Stockholm Tips

Stockholm boat

Stockholm is a lovely city, filled with streets, islands (and ferries that will take you to them), as well as traditional and cutting-edge restaurants and bakeries. Summer is a popular time to visit due to the milder weather and conferences, which meant that I had a little trouble finding accommodations. I did some deep digging on hotel and travel websites to get good rates and fares, and I recommend if you go during the summer months that you start your travel planning early.

I spent a few days at the Hotel Diplomat, and a few in an apartment at the Lady Hamilton in one of their apartments. The Diplomat was modern and well-located, and some rooms have views of the water. The Lady Hamilton apartments offer kitchens and more of a home-like atmosphere, and are located in Gamla Stan, or the Old City. (Which is charming, but there are no shortage of tourists there.) There is also the moderately priced Red Boat Hotel and Hostel in Stockholm located on two boats. I’ve not stayed there but I asked a local about them and they said they were rather nice.

Sweden is a fairly expensive country and many things are of high-quality, which you pay for. To ease the pinch, you can take meals in some of the market stalls and smaller restaurants to keep expenses in line. Wine and liquor are very expensive and one of my friends, who is pretty knowledgeable about wine, suggested we try Austrian, Spanish, and Portuguese wines, which were more affordable than their counterparts from elsewhere.

Getting to-and-from the airport is easy with the high-speed Arlanda Express, which runs on 100% renewable energy. Flybussarna runs lower-cost buses. Both go to the central train station in Stockholm. Taxis are pricey and since prices are not regulated, they can vary greatly. (You can spend the equivalent of $50 for a 15 minute ride.) Check the prices posted on the rear window in yellow which will show you the highest price of each vehicle. The lowest priced companies are Taxi 020, Taxi Kurir, and Taxi Stockholm. If there are taxis waiting, you don’t need to take the first one in the queue and it’s not unusual for people to browse taxi windows.

Many people take public transit, which is excellent in Stockholm. You can get a Stockholm Card, which gives you free admission to museums and other attractions, and includes public transit. For riding the transit only, SL travelcards are available.

Lastly, people in Stockholm were uniformly friendly and helpful (and beautiful, too!) Nearly everyone speaks English fluently.

Note: I paid for my trip and most meals mentioned in this post. But because I had met some of the chefs, a few of the dishes and tastes, and a couple of the meals, were comped by restaurants. And although I wanted them when we stopped at a local gas station, I wasn’t able to pick up a pair of clogs.

clogs at gas station

Related Posts

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Pärlans Caramels



    • Jonathan Baker

    Those swedish pastries look incredible! Do you know of any good swedish baking books so we could try these at home?
    Thanks :)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas is quite good. (I have the original book, although it’s been updated and I haven’t seen the newer edition.) There is also “Scandinavian Classic Baking” by Pat Sinclair which is reported to be a good cookbook, although I’ve haven’t seen a copy of the book.

    • june2

    It all looks amazing. I’ve heard Swedish tomatoes are beyond delicious – hope you get to try them! Those strawberry’s look incredible too – much nicer than the gargantuan bland ones we get in the US.

    Can’t wait to read the post on Faviken – the food seems fascinating and fun!

    • Mina

    Get this one: Swedish Cakes and Cookies.

    The layout isn’t very pretty but it has all the traditional recipes and they are tested and works.

    • Anna

    Absolutely loved all your Swedish posts, thank you so much! I lived in Denmark and Scandinavia is my favourite place on the planet, but I haven’t been to Sweden, so it was wonderful to read about your experiences.

    • Anna

    @Jonathan Baker – I can thoroughly recommend “Scandilicious” and “Scandilicious Baking”, by a London – based Norwegian chef, Signe Johansen.

    • Three-Cookies

    Did you stop at pickled herring or went a step further and tried surströmming?I think if you did you would have either mentioned it first, or completely erased the experience from your memory!

    • Katie

    Yes, please post the hazelnut cakes recipe soon — if only I could get my hands on those cute cardboard fluted molds….

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I didn’t get the recipe for those (most recipes from bakeries make hundreds of small cakes! – and that’s quite a few for most home cooks…) but I loved those fluted molds are well, which I’d never seen before.

    • Jonathan Baker

    Thanks so much David and Anna, I have added both of these to my wishlist :)

    • Jonathan Baker

    And Mina of course!

    • Alexandra

    cannot wait for that amazing Swedish dish post :)

    • Marianne

    I also recommend the baking book “Swedish Cakes and Cookies”. In this book you can find all kinds of traditional Swedish pastries (also Mazariner, the little cakes that David took a photo of at the bakery of Magnus Johannson) and sweet breads.
    It is a classic and most bigger groccery stores sell the book in Sweden but you can order the English version on amazon as well. :-)

    • jobeth_b

    I was in Sweden last year and wanted to try cinnamon buns. I bought one which was terribly disappointing. The sweet people I was working with when I told them, as one cried, “Cinnamon buns must be made at home!” So on my second last day I was given a gift of home-baked buns and the recipe. When I departed we hugged and there were tears. Both the people and the buns were so divine.

    • Jen

    That was delightful — except the word bladderwrack – too close to bladder wreck. My big question : how many kilos did you put on!?

    • Reid


    I must have just missed you at Fäviken. I was there on the 11th. Keiko (Nordljus) was there too along with a couple of others. It was definitely a memorable experience and I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it.

    • Barbra

    Whatever. I went to Ikea the other day, which is totally the same thing.

    Seriously, that all looks DELICIOUS. My arteries have clogged just reading about the wallenbergare. And I love the name, “Jansson’s Temptation”.

    • Julia

    I enjoyed this post along with your photography so much I had to pin it for future reference. I never thought I’d have the desire to go to Sweden but your post piqued my curiosity. Also, I was born and raised in Russia, so the images of new potatoes with butter and dill and smoked fish excite me more than is reasonable to expect. Thank you for writing about countries less traveled and their cuisine.

    • Jayne

    I’m so glad that you liked our beautiful city. All your Swedish posts have been lovely. Thank you. (PS: I have never had a smörgåstårta. Not once in 20+ years..)

    • Judith Basham

    Just adore your Odyssey travels – makes drinking the 3pm cup of espresso that more enjoyable. I hope you will knock together a recipe for the light hazel nut cakes you sampled, because if one makes your Gianduia ice cream and instead of “discarding” the hazelnuts, one can use them perhaps in your upcoming light hazelnut cakes? OR OR OR, spread them out on a baking sheet overnight to let them dry and use them in the BACI DI DAMA recipe. I did over the weekend and the Baci di Damas accompanied your Giandiua gelato and presto! My dinner guests s-w-o-o-n-e-d; they needed another bottle of wine to recuperate. My thank you yet again for making me a star chef! x

    • Melanie

    I have loved these posts so much and you have helped Sweden move up in my places-I-must-see list.

    My dad is half Swedish, so my adorable, not-in-the-least-bit-Swedish mother always tried to make Swedish food for him while were growing up. Lingonberries were a staple and she always made a braided cardamom-laced bread. She even made Lutfisk, and she has a debilitatingly serious aversion to all foods marine in origin!

    With all of the meat featured, I wonder, is it vegetarian friendly?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I didn’t go to any exclusively vegetarian restaurants, but I found this list of vegetarian restaurants in Stockholm to have some interesting places on it.

    • Elaine

    My eyes lit up at the photo of the cheese – looks absolutely “lacker” ~

    • ItalianGirlCooks

    Love your travel posts, and this is no exception – so informative and well written, inspiring and altogether amazing. Look forward to them, thanks!

    • Michelle Beissel

    A wonderful post–lovely food, photos, made all the more delectable via your unique wordsmithing!

    • jacqui

    Thank you David. Nothing excites my interest in travel more than touring through local markets. They are the soul of the city.

    • Jessica

    Malin Landqvist’s book Swedish Cookies and Desserts is also a very good book.
    I use the swedish copy alot. I also use Swedish cakes and cookies, it’s been around for decades and is updated every now and then. Hence, my copy from the latest update is a far cry from the one my mother has.

    Those fluted cardboard molds are really amazing. Sturdy yet easy to remove when eating.

    • Heidi Svømmekjær

    Reading your many travel posts, I’ve always thought you should come to Denmark and try out some of our many mouthwatering delicacies. Let me know if you ever decide to do so and I will gladly provide a list/tour of the best picks. I’m thinking you might enjoy the “flødebolle” which is a little mountain of raw, dense, and sometimes flavoured meringue on a marzipan or plain wafer base – enrobed in dark chocolate. What’s not to love? And in case you are wondering: I’m not from the tourist office, I’m just a private enthusiast who loves to share tips with likeminded foodies.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      A friend who works in Denmark has been trying to get me to go with her and some friends had an extra seat at Noma a few years back and I am still kicking myself for not going.

    • Jen @ Savory Simple

    I have to admit I’m jealous. Stockholm is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever seen and the tragedy is that I only got to spend one day there while very ill. One day I’ll make it back there. I have to!

    • suedoise

    Bravo David for all you observed in Stockholm. Nobel prize in literature to you!
    You did not mention how you coped with the light nights. No problem having the sun in your face at 3 in the morning??
    I admire your strength facing the menues of the restaurants.
    And your wonderfully open mind. Readiness is all as Shakepeare puts it.
    Jansson´s Temptation is a dish NOT made with oily sprats FAR FROM IT.
    You need a tiny very spiced herring called ANSJOVIS in no way an oily product. In Paris find it at the Swedish épicerie Affären ( elsewhere in the world get it at any Ikea food shop. As for strömming – the Baltic Sea herring – recipes should be tried with ordinary sardines (at Picard in Paris, sold frozen).
    I might reveal that the Baltic Sea is an environmental catastrophe. Swedish strömming is not allowed to be sold outside Sweden.Yet strömming is sold freely in Sweden.
    I avoid the stuff when in Sweden. I go straight to the Cadier bar at the Grand hotel, ordering a gorgeous orgy called shrimp sandwich and a glass of champagne facing that same world´s most beautiful view of Stockholm that every Nobel price laureate faces every year as well as every visiting royalty and celebrity.
    Follow up your bliss with the patisseries on the menu and add another glass of champagne and feel lika a royal Nobel prize laureate celebrity.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for the comment. They told me they were sprats (which they said in English, so they might have gotten their fish mixed up). But Wikipedia also says sprats (although it wouldn’t be the first time Wikipedia wasn’t right) and so does the website – and now that I’ve looked at that recipe, I want to make it now!

      (Although the Sweden website does call them ‘sprats’ in the ingredient list of the recipe, they oddly refer to them as both sprats and “anchovy” filets.) The whole thing is starting to sound fishy to me ; )

      Will have to take a look at that épicerie in Paris – thanks for the tip!

    • Ruthy @ Omeletta

    I am fascinated by the upswing of Nordic cuisine, and Sweden has been on my list for years and years. Also, I have to admit, bear sausage has totally piqued my interest!

    • shelly

    WOW! Lucky you! I can’t wait to go. Sweden should pay you for this article for their increase in tourism. Thank you for bringing the world to us. It would be nice to taste too. well hopefully soon!

    • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    Everything looks amazing. But that little fishy at the market? That guys a looker. Haha.

    • Ruth

    Have always wanted to visit the Nordic countries, now I REALLY want to go! David, you write so well, your food pictures are delicious, and your sometimes-comments are a hoot. Especially with this entry, the Swedish tourism council should pay you a commission. Thank you for the delight you give to all of us.

    • Shannon

    Wow-all of the food, but the chocolate especially looks delicious. I guess I have never thought of Sweden for its food, but I stand corrected. I have traveled with a few distant Swedish relatives and it was one of the best trips because they are such lovely, friendly people. What a fun trip!

    • ETW

    Great photos and write-up that perfectly capture the “sharply edited Swedish style” you mention. That is an absolutely perfect way of phrasing it.

    • Kiran @

    Those swedish pancakes has my name all over it :D

    • parisbreakfast

    I’m joining the queue to buy a ticket to Sweden. Loving the tales of your various trips. I do wish some Swedish bakers would come to Paris and make that super grainy bread here. I tried something called ‘Nordic’ bread but it’s missing the ton of seeds.

    • Joan

    What, no gingersnaps (pepparkakor) ??

    When I’m in Sweden, I eat my weight in gingersnaps. But maybe it’s a winter treat …

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      We had some, but they were from the supermarket and not so great. Didn’t come across any when I was there in any of the bakeries. But I’ve had good ones at Scandinavian bakeries in the US and I love them as well.

    • Jessica

    The correct name for the fish in Jansson IS sprats.
    The fish used is sprats, (latin sprattus sprattus, swedish skarpsill), the prepared and pickled fish goes under the name of ansjovis (anchovy).
    I cooked Janssons frestelse for a potluck in California recently. Finding what fish to use for it was something of a challenge so I went for anchovy. Regardless, it was a total success.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for clearing that up! Appreciate the clarification : )

    • ron shapley(NYC)

    Hi Dave…………..I occasionally have lunch in the Coffee Shop at The Church of Sweden on 48 th street/Fifth Ave………… Those great herring and mustare sandwiches on that fabulous dark Swedish bread and the pastries !! You should visit the next time you are in New York…

    • Linda

    David, thank you for writing these posts about your visit here! You should get a grant from the city of Stockholm. And to all of you reading this, you are all welcome to Stockholm!

    • Beth Lowe

    I loved my visit to Stockholm last year. What a beautiful and vibrant city. We also stayed at The Diplomat. Our room looked out over the harbor and it was lovely. We enjoyed so many of the places you wrote about in the article. I am anxious to return.

    • Linda H

    What a terrific post! I feel like I’ve been there, after reading your post and Bill Bryson’s description of his stay in Sweden.
    And, hey, what a snide comment about Americans not being naturally nice but “trained” to be nice! Give me a break.

    • barknot

    a “crowbår”? i couldn’t stop laughing when i read that. you are a master of food and wickedly funny too. thank you, david.

    • Nywoman

    Have loved every post of yours, not only the ones from Sweden. Your descriptions have made me really look forward to my visit in August. Apart from trying a few of the restaurants, I want to visit the shops as well.

    For our Midsummer celebration here in NYC I found Anchovy Spiced Herring at Fairway which is an excellent substitute. IKEA sells Skarpsill which is actually what the Swedes refer to as Anchovis. It is spiced and pickled to obtain that very special flavor. Real Anchovies are Sardeller which has no resemblance.

    Wallenbergare are always made with ground veal. Usually served with peas and mashed potatoes. I have friends who get teary eyed when they discuss the dish.

    The cinnamon bun looked beautiful but too doughy, the secret is lots of butter.

    Am really looking forward to reading the next installments.

    • Lori Lynn

    This post is a “pinning” fantasy. Would love to visit one day…

    • Laura

    I’ve just loved your posts from Sweden. I lived in Stockholm for two years and loved seeing all those foods I miss … the solrosbröd, Janssons Frestelse, the toast skagen, and the new potatoes!. The only thing I didn’t see in your post was Swedish Pear Cider, my favorite summertime drink.

    I have a copy of the Rosendalsträdgårdscafé Cookbook and I don’t think I’ve made anything from it in a couple of years. You’ve inspired me to pull it off the shelf and bake something.

    Just out of curiosity, what was the local ingredient at Lux that you need to work around?

    Thanks for the memories!

    • Caroline

    I went to Stockholm for the first time this year and it was cold as hell but I fell in love with the city just like you did. Indeed everybody was so friendly and helpful, they were giving us recommendations for coffee shops, bars, etc. And yes, they are gorgeous too, I completely agree with that :)
    Amazingly enough, I also ate the best Korean bibimbap ever there of all places! And I am tried them in LOTS of cities, including Seoul!
    I would love to go back in the summertime…
    Great post as usual!

    • Gavrielle

    When I went to Scandinavia mumble-mumble years ago, we stayed in tents, which is the only affordable way to visit if you’re travelling on the New Zealand dollar! (I still vividly recall the night it hit 0 degrees C in Copenhagen and we spent the entire evening hanging out in the heated toilet block.) Stockholm was my favourite Scandinavian city – so beautiful with all the water and islands – and having read this I’m dying to return. Alas, it’s still a pricey proposition.

      • Linda

      The molds should be metal ones, not paper!

    • Marie2

    @June2 I am very sure the rumour of swedish tomatoes are overrated, I usually resort to grow mine own to at least get some decent, although sadly not as the ones you for example get in Italy.

    I find the Stockholm people to be less friendly than in other swedish cities, everytime I visit some other city in Sweden (like yesterday) I get surprised how friendly they are and how much calmer the traffic is. I am glad you had such a nice experience though! :)

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Linda H: I think the comment was meant to say that in America, people who work in the service industry are expected to be nice and helpful (especially those who get tips), whereas people in other parts of the world, including Sweden and France, etc. – being nice isn’t always a given; those who are nice and helpful are doing it because they truly want to be.

    Marle2: I had heard they were the least-friendly, but in my limited experience, most people were nice in Sweden. (Of course, people come to Paris and say everyone is nice – but they haven’t tried to call the electric company to try to find out why they were overbilled for €562 of use, tried to cancel their bank contract, or attempted to get an official document stamped at city hall.)

    Gavrielle: During the week we were there, Stockholm was booked solid due to a medical conference. So there weren’t a lot of hotel options. I think if you go off-season, you can get away spending less on a room, etc – but it’s not an inexpensive city.

    • gisela

    I must say, it makes me long for home…Stockholm and Sweden that is.
    Thank you for a very nice travel tip and you said something I always try to tell my American friends, the Swedish bread is fantastic!!! I love it and miss it a lot.
    I hope you will return to Sweden. So much to see and do.

    • Stephanie

    The cross eyed fish photo in this post caught me off guard and I almost spit out my coffee! Thank you for the laugh :)

    And having worked in the US food service industry, I know EXACTLY what you mean about being ‘trained’ to be nice. It was not easy to smile at difficult customers and pretend like I was not imagining them hanging by their thumbs in a dungeon!

    • blalba

    Your writing style is right on, as usual, and I appreciate the transparency in your posts. Your definitely on of my favorite bloggers!

    Did you have Frantzen/Lindberg on your restaurant wishlist? Alifewortheating took some amazing set of pictures while in Sweden.
    With the bread shown still rising at the table, and the butter churned tableside, I think you’d have enjoyed it :)

    • Carol

    You can find the paper fluted baking molds for the hazelnut cakes on Just type in scalloped paper baking cups. The sellers ship to France too.

    • JJ

    Your entries on Sweden have been such a pleasure to read. Another place to add on my list of many places to visit. From caramels to bread. Two of my most favorite things in the world. I couldn’t help but wonder about your accommodations for your travels–have you heard of The best way to experience local life in another city at affordable prices. That, and of course, it would be so lucky of whoever is your host to have YOU staying at their flat!

    • mlleparadis

    oh god oh god oh god oh god.

    i think i totally get it. (the swedish men too!)

    • sarah

    So, this comment has nothing to do with this post (though the photos were mouthwatering) but I thought you might be able to help.. I’m a New Zealand baker recently relocated to New Caledonia for my partner’s work and while there are certain things I am loving about living in “France” I am desperate to find simple things like caster sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder. Can you comment on how the french produce such beautiful patisseries but cocoa powder is nowhere to be seen?
    Any advice much appreciated!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      You can check out this post on Baking Ingredients in Paris, which gives and overview of how and where to find common baking ingredients and substitutions – including various sugars. Cocoa powder is available in every supermarket in France that I’ve been in, and in bulk at G. Detou.

    • BlinkyTheFish

    Sounds amazing – I am going to have to book a flight this summer. My father used to make us Aebelskivers filled with apple….for breakfast as a kid.

    • Marius

    Amazing post. If I wasn’t so far away (Australia), I’d be on the first plane. I’d even go just for the array of handsome men!

    • Agneta Quist-Palos

    No longer do I wonder what your thoughts are regarding Stockholm. Thank you for another great post!
    I used to bring Johnsson’s Temptation to the pot lucks at work. Many who claimed they hated fish loved it… not knowing… there was never a morsel left!
    You might also try the oddly fabulous combination of Swedish Ginger Thins with a “schmeer” of roquefort or blue cheese……. we often combine it with Gögg a spiced worm wine. I enjoy it with red wine anytime of the year

    • Carole (NY etc.)

    “Everyone in Stockholm was almost surreally polite and friendly.” Well this is pretty much how it feels when one leave Paris or France… When I lived in Santa Monica, CA, at first, I thought they were making some sort of a joke to me, then I realized they were really that friendly :)
    I just put on 5lbs just reading this post – everything sounds and looks so good!

    • Jen g

    Wonderful, delightful, informative post. Great photos too.

    Perhaps you could try to recreate that burger and share it here?
    Loved that part about the counterman when he forgot to bring you the bread.

    Smoked thymus gland…that made me laugh. I guess I’m not that sophisticated, I don’t know if I could stomach that.

    I wish lingonberries were more available in the US – among other things.

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts about Sweden (just started reading your blog and I really enjoy it).

    • Anne

    I spent 6 days in Stockholm with my mom last September. This make me yearn even more to go back! September was a beautiful time there. My father was half Swedish – his dad was from Skåne, a district in the west of Sweden; Grandpa may never have gone to Stockholm (he was quite close to Copenhagen and went there), but I felt so at home in Stockholm!! I have a Swedish last name, and for the first time in my life, it was a common name and everyone knew how to pronounce it! What a feeling!

    To answer Melanie’s question about vegetarian-friendly – my mom is vegetarian, and I read about Herman’s, a casual vegetarian/raw food buffet with a changing ethnic menu. We went there our first night, and it was so good we ate there again 2 nights later. Part of their web page is in English: My mom has been vegetarian for decades and has traveled all over the world, and she said they had some of the best vegetarian food she had ever tasted. Herman’s is located in Fjällgatan, in the Södermalm district, which is on a cliff overlooking the water and Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and Djurgården. Try to go at sunset and the view is unbelievable.

    Lingonberries – I love them! I’ve been told that partridgeberries, which grow in Newfoundland and I believe also in Alaska and other northern climates, are the same thing. I haven’t tried any to confirm that. You can also buy jars of lingonsylt (lingonberry sauce/jam) at IKEA. I think it’s as good as the jar I brought home with me from Sweden. Fresh lingonberries are so wonderful.

    Thanks for your delicious post and photos. Love the men, too.

    • TheCutleryChronicles

    Beautiful looking post David. I paid my first visit to Stockholm over Easter. Can you believe you can fish for salmon in the waters between the islands? Incredible. It looks like you did some excellent eating – bravo.

    My post on Stockholm here:

    • angela

    David, in the second compilation photo, bottom right is some divine looking bread… do you know what this is called – we were In Stockholm many years ago and the bread was one of the standouts.. i can’t take it anymore not having access to this bread so i want to make my own – any suggestions for receipes? Thanks, Angela

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    angela; I don’t know what it’s called but it was the bread served at breakfast at the Scandic hotel. I wish I brought a loaf home!

    • Jessica

    It looks alot like danish ryebread.

      • angela

      Thanks David and Jessica…. I will do some more searching and if I find the perfect recipe I will let you know! At this rate though I think I will need to make a trip back to Stockholm :) Kindest, Angela

    • Y

    Mmm.. bladderwrack..

    But seriously, what a great post! Might have to do a Swedish side trip when I get to London :)

    • lauren

    Oh wow this was a delightful read. I went to Stockholm in May and was so sad to leave. And everyone was incredibly friendly! It was honestly a little shocking. I did not get to try the bread though, being gluten free, but I did not have any problem eating lots :) Thanks for such a lovely read!


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