#ChefsNight :: Scents and Flavours of Dalarna (Sweden) in Rome

I’m always enthusiastic about new things, especially when they are food related. So when I got the invitation from The Swedish Embassy in Rome and my friend Chef Görgen Tidén I’ve been counting the days to open a window on the Swedish cuisine and to try their food.

Chefs-Night-Roma ©OCKstyle
Chefs Night :: Ambasciata di Svezia | ©OCKstyle

[#ChefsNight :: A Roma i “Sapori e profumi della Dalecarlia” Svezia]

Chef Tidén is the maker behind Chefs Night, a series of fine dining events that promote the cuisine and the produce of Dalarna, a county in central Sweden where homegrown, homemade, farm-to-table, from head to toe cooking are essential keywords.

I must confess little did I know about Sweden, so after being invited I asked around about the country and the Swedish cuisine just to have an idea of the common knowledge (among my friends) of this elongated Nordic country, part of the Scandinavian peninsula.

I came up with an interesting list packed with names and events, starting with Pippi Longstocking, my favorite companion during childhood afternoons spent looking forward to watching her adventures on tv; the Nobel Prize, the Abba, Ingrid Bergman, Bjorn Borg, Ikea, Wasa crackers, police inspector Kurt Wallander – a fictional character created by Henning Mankell and the legendary Hasselblad camera. Then of course there is Chef Tidén.
We met in Paris in 2011 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Award, he was on the Swedish team with the chef KC Wallberg, while I was with the Cordon Bleu team.

The event organized by the Swedish Embassy in Rome has been very cheerful, with lots of amuse-bouche paired with beer to start with, followed by a six-course discovery dinner packed with flavorful and surprising ingredients.

We started with the mouthfeel of a lightly brined and popping roe from Älvdalen, so full of flavor that you wonder if it’s real. The crayfish broth vinaigrette on smoked perch; the Swedish porcini and cured apples with roasted duck.

The event continued with a barley ragout with a crunchy slow-roast pork belly; a tender and meaty reindeer roast, a surprisingly tasty dark and earthy blood pudding, paired with lingonberries preserve and crispy lichen.

Than came the dessert: a messy cloud of amber-colored cloudberries was balancing with its heavenly tartness the sweet and creamy spruce tips pudding, all sprinkled with a snowy birch powder and a crunchy tiny caramelized buckwheat bits. Delicious!
The meal has been skillfully paired with Italian wines, Swedish beers, vodka and the green fairy: the absinthe. No side effects were reported.

For this Roman event Chef Tidén teamed up with two award winning chefs: Douglas Fagerman and Fredrik Hedlund.
Masters of their trade, their hands clearly showing the hardship of running and working in a professional kitchen, still comfortable in the front of the house.

Chefs-Night-Roma ©MyStjärnkvist-Ambasciata-di-Svezia
Backstage | Chefs’ Night Sapori di Dalarna 19 ottobre 2017 Ambasciata di Svezia | Photo © My Stjärnkvist / Ambasciata di Svezia

The chefs have been introducing each and every plate, emphasizing about the artisanal approach that each producer have with the common goal of an organic and sustainable production. You could feel their love for everything local, perceiving their passion for the trade. The culinary voyage through the region of Dalarna was thrilling.

I’ve been very lucky to sit at a Swedish table, an experience within the event that joyously completed my culinary travel with family stories and traditions.
We spoke about cold and long winters, short but intense summers; the difference between regions, cities, and towns; traditional dressing with summer and winter variations or the married – unmarried alternative; the food calendar with where/when to celebrate the local bounties. The Midsummer festival celebrations; the foraging, fishing and hunting adventures.

We talked about the art and the Zorn Museum, local crafts, the Morakniv (very special knives), the Dala Horse (a traditional wooden toy), and much more.
Did you know that children don’t have much school homework to do? (yeahs!)

lingonberries-sweden ©AndersTedeholm
Lingonberries (Sweden) | Photo © Sanders Tedeholm

Last but not least comes the lingonberry, (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Apparently the ubiquitous berry is an essential ingredient, the theory is that there are foods that pair well with it and everything else, but this is another story.

“Klaga inte över för litet vind – lär dig segla.”
Don’t complain about lack of wind – learn how to sail. ~Swedish proverb

Let’s sail to Sweden then!

Here’s the Photo Gallery:

#ChefsNight :: A Roma i “Sapori e profumi della Dalecarlia” Svezia

Il post in italiano a breve online.

“Klaga inte över för litet vind – lär dig segla.”
Non lamentarti del poco vento – impara a veleggiare. (Proverbi svedesi)

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