Shaking off the usual stereotypes of meatballs and jars of pickled herrings chased down with an Absolut cocktail, Sweden is a culinary hot-house currently showcasing its gourmet credentials around the globe. And one region that really gets our taste buds going is Luleå, Swedish Lapland, where nature, seasonality and local produce make for one spell-binding culinary experience. Due to Luleå’s northerly location (think long dark winters and days of endless sun), the style of cooking has remained true to its hunter gatherer roots with a strong focus on berries, fish, and the delicious reindeer meat. With unique flavours that stay true to the ways of the Indigenous Sami people who have inhabited Lapland for centuries, we wanted to take a closer look (and to have a taste).
Löjrom – Swedish caviar
If the ocean spawned its own version of culinary gold then without a doubt it would be in the form of Kalixlöjrom or Löjrom. This tasty roe is a favourite delicacy among the Swedes and its popularity is spreading over the world. Luleå is the perfect spot for finding this rich deep reddish – gold caviar, thanks to the mighty rivers that feed the waters of the Gulf of Bothnia, it’s in these waters that the female vendace fish provide the refined treat from the seas. For first timers the best way to appreciate the rich, full-bodied tones of minerals and the sea is to pair it with a glass (or several) of champagne, or for an even more indulgent meal top scallops with a few dollops of Löjrom and bon appetite. What makes it even more special is that this delight is harvested by hand during only a few weeks of the year, so snap some up whilst you can.
Reindeer has been a firm favourite on Swedish tables since way back to the 9th Century. Today it is incorporated into some of the Sweden’s most famed dishes and is a favourite amongst the foodie crowd and Sweden’s most innovative chefs. Never tried this exotic meat? Think a tender and lean meat packed with rich wild flavour that needs little seasoning. Our favourite dish? Smoked reindeer heart served on a delicate bed of beetroot, simply delicious.
The sub-arctic cloudberry is a national favourite and found all over Sweden, yet is extremely common amdist the landscape of Luleå. This rich, juicy berry is incorporated in sweet jams, or eaten as an accompaniment to various meat dishes. We loved dipping meatballs into a tangy cloudberry concoction for a sweet twist. These berries are also known for their health properties; rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants nevertheless pop them in a soufflé for a decadent after dinner desert.