Every year, several new cookbooks are published and the interest for food just keeps growing. We almost always socialise around the dinner table, but food traditions have changed considerably. This is in part due to the fact that Swedes are avid travellers. Immigrants have also contributed to the internationalisation of our gastronomic culture. Every food shop has special shelves for olive oils, vinegars, pasta, Tex-Mex, sushi, Asiatic food and other ethnic specialties. Even the most godforsaken rural town usually has a pizzeria, a Chinese restaurant and a kebab place.
Swedish cuisine is currently experiencing a renaissance, especially in the restaurants. The chef's profession has become fashionable and we now have a great number of distinguished young chefs, who are modernising traditional plain fare and making new use of our raw materials. The foreign press has also praised the Swedish culinary elite and awarded our restaurants high marks. We are starting to get tourists who travel to Stockholm or Gothenburg in order to enjoy Swedish gastronomy, and that is of course a promising sign.
Perhaps these developments can be attributed to globalisation, since many countries are reviving their food traditions and safeguarding their specialties in order to preserve their culture identity.
In recent years, we have also put local traditions to use. From north to south, cheeses are made at small farm diaries, bread is baked the old-fashioned way in baking huts and local chocolatiers are making pralines with berries and fruit. There are small yard shops where sausages, hams, fish and other self-produced goods are sold, and some of these products find their way to the gourmet shops of the big cities.
Hopefully, Swedish flavours will live on and new dishes be created from the raw materials and ingredients only found in northernmost Europe.
©oenoforos. Christine Samuelson.