We celebrated Valentine’s Day early at Operakällaren, a one star Michelin restaurant in Stockholm’s center. Operakällaren is the city’s oldest restaurant, dating back to 1787 when the restaurant was situated under Gustav III’s opera house. Operakällaren is still linked with the royal family – Stefano Catenacci, the Chef de Cuisines, is responsible for all catering to the Royal Castle. We loved our meal and enjoyed the whole experience – delicious food and a great wait staff! Koen and I were also surprised that Stefano Catenacci came to our table personally to press our duck and even let me try! He also mentioned I’m the first guest to ask!
To quote the Huffington Post, Toast Skagen is essentially a shrimp toast, but there is one mythical ingredient that sets it apart from any other shrimp toast. Kalix Vendace Roe. This Swedish version of Russian or Iranian caviar is orange, light in taste, subtle and not as pushy as its eastern cousins. It’s often served together with butter fried blinis or toast, some sour cream and very finely chopped red onions – as the star of the show. But in the Toast Skagen, it will have to settle with being the jewel in the crown. An orange colored precious gem, placed on top of this culinary treasure.
In general, Koen and I really love renting apartments if we’re on holiday. One of our favorite things to do, normally to relax toward the end, is to visit a local market to prepare dinner at our apartment. It gives us an opportunity to try local food and chill at the apartment for an easy evening. Markets are also a great opportunity to delve into the real food culture of a city. Koen is the best at discovering what we need to eat – asking what they miss most when out of the country, what does their family eat at Christmas and other big holidays. Like this we’re sure not to miss anything!
For our second day in Stockholm we ventured out into the snow to visit the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art). We took another beautiful walk into the city center, passing typical winter scenes.
You know you’re close to the Moderna Museet when you stumble across the Sculpture Park. A touch of color in the snow!
In the winter, the days are short in Stockholm. I absolutely love it. The city lights up with a warm glow and you can’t help but feel cozy. After visiting the Vasa Museum, we headed to the Grand Hotel to eat at Matbaren by the chef Mathias Dahlgren. Matbaren was recommened by a Swedish colleague of mine. She told me it’s her favorite restaurant, so of course we had to try it!
Koen and I love visiting museums when we’re doing city trips, so we had to visit the Vasa Museum. To quote the museum’s site:
“The Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the world’s only preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia.”
I don’t think I can describe fika better than the official Swedish website:
“Swedes prefer not to translate the word fika. They don’t want it to lose significance and become a mere coffee break. It is one of the first words you will learn when visiting Sweden, right after tack (thank you) and hej (hello).
Fika is much more than having a coffee. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Fika can happen at any time, morning as well as evening. It can be savoured at home, at work or in a café. It can be with colleagues, family, friends, or someone you are trying to get to know. It is a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day.
Accompanying sweets are crucial. Cinnamon buns, cakes, cookies, even open-faced sandwiches pass as acceptable fika fare. It comes as no surprise that Swedes are among the top consumers of coffee and sweets in the world – or that Swedes appreciate the good things in life.”