People are often quite nervous about what they are going to eat whilst visiting Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle when on a Northern Lights break, expecting the food to be bland. In fact the food is delicious; Simple fresh fare served beautifully.
Arctic Char (part of the salmon family) is a popular dish and local delicacy. A fleshy fish which makes an excellent soup, filleted and even roasted when in Abisko. In Lulea Swedish Meatballs make a feast and everywhere in Swedish Lapland Moose and Reindeer are also part of the normal menu often served as a stew or fried with Lingonberries – the native Berry which makes a good tart contrast to the juicy meat. You will come across Lingonberries a few times due to its versatility; served hot, cold, as a sauce and as a soft drink like a cordial.
For those vegetarians who don’t eat fish, or those not keen to eat the local game, there are vegetarian meals consisting mainly of Vegetable stew. At the Arctic Eden Hotel in Kiruna there is even an excellent Thai restaurant; popular with the locals and run by the wife’s owner who is Thai and therefore ensures the authenticity and quality are spot on.
At Weekend a La Carte we always ask for any food intolerances before your visit so that we can plan accordingly for you. As the guides take the food with them on the adventure activities, such as snowmobiling and Husky dog sledging it’s important we know beforehand so that we can make sure you have a suitable warming and sustaining meal to give you energy for the next part of your unique arctic adventure on your trip to see the Northern Lights.
Below is an extract from an article that Luiz Hara “The London Foodie” wrote after visiting the region of Lulea in Swedish Lapland which gives you a flavour for the food available at two of the hotels in Lulea.
Where to Eat in Lulea
Kallkällan Restaurant at Sörbyn Hotel in Lulea
Following our hunting expedition at Sörbyn, we headed back to the hotel to meet Head Chef Richard Karlsson who would be cooking the fruits of our labours – our precious capercaillie. He kindly allowed me into the kitchen to watch the preparation, and explained in detail the local ingredients he would be using, their origins, and the dishes we were about to eat.
Our starter was a Nigiri Sushi made with Arctic Char, a local fish. He cleverly used a mix of oat porridge and crème fraiche in place of sushi rice, and served the sushi with sliced blowtorched cucumber, lobster oil, cabbage and ginger mousse. I loved the flavours and presentation of this dish, especially his Nordic take on a Japanese classic using local ingredients.
For main course, naturally, we had Roasted Capercaillie, which was surprisingly dense yet tender, flavourful, and not nearly as gamey as I had expected. Chef Karlsson served it with a black liquorice glaze (a heavenly combination – game and liquorice), carrot and roasted garlic puree cooked in a crayfish broth, sliced cabbage cooked in port wine and balsamic vinegar, vasterbotten cheese fries (a local cheese similar in flavour to Parmesan).
This was a delicious main course, and I particularly enjoyed the carrot and roasted garlic puree. Chef Karlsson transformed the humble carrot into something else. He added the sweetness of roasted garlic, and by poaching the vegetable in a broth made from crayfish shells, the resulting puree had many different layers of flavour.
The dessert was an ultra-light layered sponge cake covered in meringue, and filled with satsuma and crème Chantilly. This was a refreshing, delightful dessert.
The main course was brown bear fillet with morchella mushroom (morels) sauce, mashed potatoes, blackcurrant jam. Although eating brown bear might raise some eyebrows, it has been the custom in this northern part of Sweden for centuries. The bear was exquisite like the finest beef fillet, very tender with a delicious savour, and to my surprise had no discernible gamey characteristics. The Pensionat has a limited but impressive wine list. Graeme and I shared a bottle of Amarone which, needless to say, went down a treat with the bear fillet.
Tree Hotel in Lulea
At the main guesthouse (Brittas Pensionat) I had another lovely meal while staying at the Tree Hotel. Like the decor, the food is homely and delicious. Britta and Kent are very warm hosts, and come to sit and talk to their guests during dinner. I was invited into the kitchen to see Britta prepare some of the food we were about to eat, including brown bear fillet.
We started with a lightly curried soup with salmon, tomatoes and crème fraiche which was creamy, light and well flavoured. This was followed by moose meatball served with lingonberry jam, Madeira wine sauce and mashed potatoes. I had never eaten moose before, and found it had a gamey quality to it. Although I suspect moose meat is something of an acquired taste, I enjoyed it, and particularly with its accompanying fine lingonberry jam.
Meals at Brittas Pensionat were one of the best parts of my stay at the Tree Hotel, not only for her delicious home cooking, but also for her and Kent’s warm hospitality.
Click here to see our Aurora Nights Grand Slam break which showcases the delicious food on offer