Wow, I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve talked about my two true loves together—food and travel!
Today I want to show you a little bit about my trip to Sweden, which was completely impromptu and ended up being completely epic. What started as snagging a cheap flight ($286 from Newark to Gothenburg) led us to stumbling on renting a sailboat on Airbnb and spending a long weekend on the beautiful waters of the Gothenburg Archipelago in the North Sea. This was my first time visiting a Scandinavian country, but I’ve since been to Norway a couple times so expect more on delicious Scandinavian pastries to come!
We landed in Gothenburg and our sailboat captain, Patrik, picked us up at the airport. While our ultimate goal was getting out on the water as soon as possible, Patrik wanted us to get a little glimpse of the city—plus we needed to stock up on provisions. We were starving, so first we sat at a lovely outdoor cafe and tried AMAZING fish cakes in a brown butter sauce, with mashed potatoes and peas. We had their salad bar as well, with a refreshing local beer to wash everything down with. I was really excited about the fish cakes, because they were made with salmon and white fish and no shellfish, which is crazy hard to find.
We walked around the city for a few minutes, then swung by the grocery store for some snacks, the bakery for fresh bread and pastries (we literally took half of what they had left), and the fish shop for fresh smoked salmon and haddock. And like, a lot of alcohol 🙂
Try it yourself: Swedish Vanilla Cardamom Bread
Finally we were out on the water, and navigated out into the archipelago while sipping cocktails and bundling up in blankets as the sun set. We sailed for a couple hours, and came into dock in a tiny island called Björkö (be-yurk-uh). The fresh, crisp air had whet our appetites, and we fell on our freshly baked sourdough bread, flavorful butter, tomatoes, and the smoked fish like starving people. It was such a fresh, simple meal, and totally hit the spot. We finished everything off with a delicious cinnamon swirl wreath cake, then headed into our tiny sailboat and crashed for the night.
Read more about sailing in Sweden over at One Girl, Whole World
Excitement and the time zone change had me up super early the next morning, so I headed out to watch the sunrise over Björkö. It was honestly pretty epic, one of the most magical I’ve ever experienced! After the sun finally crept over the horizon, I made my way back to the boat for some more delicious Swedish pastries, flecked with vanilla and cardamom, and filled with custard. Some had raisins or blueberries in them, but most were fairly simple. We made coffee and just sat and let the boat rock us as the day warmed up a bit.
Then we weighed anchor (figuratively) and headed out to open water, sailing for a couple hours before coming into the harbor at Marstrand. It’s one of the bigger islands around, and so still had a few places open on a warm fall day despite the tourist season being over. After availing ourselves of the public showers, we settled into a nice patio and devoured a delicious white fish with mustard sauce and a rich white wine. We people watched and just enjoyed a gorgeous day. One thing that really stood out about the food in Sweden was just the simplicity and flavor—they weren’t being super fancy or complex, just quality ingredients prepared well.
We continued to sample various local delicacies throughout the day, including caviar with vodka to wash it down. There is a whole section of different caviars in the supermarket there, it’s crazy! I also enjoyed some local stout beers and the Rekorkerlig cider that I love. At one point we caught a few of these tiny silvery fish and fried them up for a snack. We wove around the islands without a specific route in mind, just enjoying the lovely day.
We spent our last night and morning docked in Grötö, a tiny island with around 100 residents. We saw a spectacular sunset and had our now-traditional cardamom and custard pastries with coffee while gearing up for our last day on the water. The gloomy morning opened up into a stunning clear day. I was obsessed with the various reflections on the water.
So what do you think about my Swedish food adventure—what foods really appeal to you, or what is a complete deal breaker?? I’ve had fun starting to test out some Scandinavian baked goods, so look for more of those to come. If you want to try out some Swedish cuisine, give this Swedish Vanilla Cardamom Bread a try!
Read more about my adventures in Sweden at One Girl, Whole World!
If you’re curious about more travel and food adventures, check out some of my foodie thoughts on Istanbul, Argentina, New Zealand, Israel, Jordan, and more here!