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A Taste of Sweden

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Photo: Tina Stafrén, imagebank.sweden.se

Don’t eat a Swede, but please produce like one

By the year 2050, the UN forecasts that the global population will be almost ten billion. That’s two billion more mouths to feed than today. Already, global food production has a large negative impact on both the climate and the environment. So, is it even possible to feed ten billion people without wrecking the planet? Can we drastically increase the production of food while at the same time making the shift to sustainable food production?

By Björn Hellman, CEO of the Swedish Food Federation

If you ask us, the Swedish food industry, the answer is a resounding yes. Are we completely sustainable? No, not yet. But we’re getting there, and fast. We already produce high-quality food and drink in ways that minimise our negative impact on the climate and the environment. We believe that, just like food, knowledge is best when shared with others. That’s why we recently launched a global campaign called ‘Eat a Swede’. The centrepiece of the campaign is a short film about a Swedish scientist who wants to produce and sell lab-grown human meat. Is this for real, you ask? Well, you can find out for yourself by going to eataswede.com.

The purpose of the campaign is to share with the world how Swedish food producers are working to make the shift to sustainable production. And we are happy to share, because our ‘secret’ recipe really isn’t a secret at all; it’s equal parts innovation, technology, research, cooperation and old-fashioned hard work. It can be copied, and we hope it will be.

The shift can be made. How do I know? Because the Swedish food industry is shifting right now. Yes, we definitely need

Cinnamon buns. Photo: Tina Stafrén, imagebank.sweden.se

Photo: Janus Langhorn, imagebank.sweden.se

Björn Hellman, CEO Swedish Food Federation. Photo: Cecilia Magnusson, Swedish Food Federation Photo: Tina Stafrén, imagebank.sweden.se

to speed up, all of us: farmers, producers, retailers and consumers. That’s why it’s so important that we share knowledge with each other. The more we cooperate, the sooner we can make global food production truly sustainable.

Web: www.livsmedelsforetagen.se/ in-english Facebook: Livsmedelsföretagen Instagram: @livsmedelsforetagen Twitter: @livsmedel

With a love for spuds

After a few years defined by unfamiliarity, let’s put our minds to something a lot more familiar – crisps. Or, more specifically, crisps from Larssons. Now celebrating ten years in business, this spud-loving brand is proof that passion and transparency are ingredients for success.

By Emma Rodin | Photos: Fredrik Rege

There are crisps, and then there are proper crisps – and Larssons sits within the latter. The brand was born at the family-run farm with the same name in the county of Skåne, southern Sweden, and offers a product that is refreshingly different from mainstream crisps. Lovingly dubbed as a ‘crisperia’ (a spin on the word ‘pizzeria’), the Larssons farm has cultivated potatoes for generations and grows a whopping 600 varieties of the stuff. In other words, there’s a whole lot of knowledge going into each bag of crunchy delight.

How the magic happens Once the potatoes have been grown and harvested, they are cut and fried in a local cold-pressed rapeseed oil in custom- made facilities on the Larssons farm. “We use a traditional, open fryer from the 1950s and let the crisps cook for a longer period of time,” explains farm owner Bertil Larsson. “We also leave the starch on the potatoes, as that’s where the wonderful potato flavour lives.”

Thanks to not rushing the process, the cooking oil doesn’t have to be heated up as much as for more conventional crisp making, which means that trans fats can be avoided. This is great news for the health conscious, and proof that crisps don’t have to be all bad for you. On the contrary, Larssons crisps contain both Omega 3 and Omega 6, derived from the nutritious rapeseed oil.

“We’re the only crisp producer in the country who can proudly say that the en-

tire production chain sits in one place,” says Larsson. From cultivation to production to management of rubbish and residue – it all happens on the Larssons farm.

The (real) taste of potato Something that customers tend to rave about when it comes to Larssons crisps is the pure potato taste. And although the kind of spud used in production depends on what’s in season and other factors, the potato taste is always prominent and never overshadowed by artificial flavourings. Instead, the potato is celebrated, as it should be, and coupled with flavourings to enhance its natural taste, rather than the other way around.

It might sound like a silly detail to even state, but Larssons crisps actually taste like what the packaging says. Each of the eight flavour varieties is made with herbs and spices of natural origin, and always without artificial additives. “Our bestseller is dill, sour cream and chives; however, our liquorice crisps have exceeded expectations in terms of sales,” says Larsson. Indeed, what started out as a limited-edition flavour has now become a permanent offering. “It might sound unusual, but the combination of potato and liquorice root really works, and it seems like customers agree,” he adds.

The boy who flies The young boy featured on the front of the crisp packets is there for a very special reason. His name is Ture (father of Bertil Larsson), and he grew up on the

Photo: Larssons Larssons farm. He was five years old when the photo was taken back in 1938, and in his right hand is a penny given to him by the photographer. No wonder he looks so pleased.

“Thanks to our cooperation with the airline SAS, Ture is now travelling the world with our crisps,” explains Ann-Marie Nilsson, who also works at the farm. This high-flying partnership has meant a lot for the brand in terms of growth and recognition, in being sent off to all corners of the globe.

Animals love Larssons too As with any kind of production, residual waste is inevitable. And in this case, potatoes and root vegetables of lower quality are filtered out and turned into food for the farm’s various animals. “Perhaps it sounds strange to feed animals crisps, but the slow cooking process of the potatoes makes the fat healthier and gives our animals a much stronger composition of body fat,” explains Nilsson. And in return for grazing on the crispy stuff, the animals produce manure, which is later used on the fields.

Larssons crisps are sold at various farm shops and selected stores around the country, as well as aboard SAS flights. There are also plans to expand the offering further, plus a mysterious partnership is in the works. “All we can say is that something special is coming, and it will taste pretty great, so do keep an eye out,” concludes Nilsson.

Web: www.larssonsiviken.se

Bertil Larsson. Photo: Larssons

Stockholm’s craft beer hub by the water

At Nya Carnegiebryggeriet, you can enjoy the popular 100W IPA and Kellerbier, experimental new brews, or why not try a beer brewed with waste water? This brewery in Stockholm also hosts an amazing gastro pub with a vibrant atmosphere.

By Malin Norman | Photos: Nya Carnegiebryggeriet

Nya Carnegiebryggeriet has a solid history, dating back to Sweden’s oldest registered brand, Carnegie Porter from 1836, then brewed in Gothenburg. This beer has long been the dominating porter in Sweden and is still available for distribution. In 2014, Nya Carnegiebryggeriet (The New Carnegie Brewery) was formed as a collaborative joint venture between Carlsberg Sweden and Brooklyn Brewery from the US, becoming an instant success.

In a converted old Luma light bulb factory in the dynamic neighbourhood of Hammarby Sjöstad, the microbrewery is a hub for beer lovers and produces a wide array of unique and tasty beers. “With Nya Carnegie, we wanted to bring craft brewing to Stockholm,” says Christina Körmendi, CEO of Nya Carnegiebryggeriet. “It has become a natural place to drink beer in Stockholm. We always have something going on in our gastro pub and everyone is welcome. Our brewery is located by the waterfront and you can even take the boat from Stockholm City, so make sure to swing by!”

The new brew master is Tim Rose, an American with extensive brewing experience from Denmark, Germany and the US, including from Brooklyn Brewery. He leads a diverse team of Swedish, Italian, British and American brewers, who together create every beer style you can imagine, from lager and pilsner to New England IPA, sour beer and pastry stout.

100W IPA, Kellerbier and experimental brews At Nya Carnegiebryggeriet, you can try everything from classical beer styles to experimental brews, and there is always new beer on the way. The best-seller is 100W IPA, a pale and unfiltered West Coast IPA with heaps of citrus, gooseberry and blueberry notes. It was brewed in celebration of the 100th brew, about a year after opening, and became a huge success so has remained in the line-up. The name 100W pays tribute to the old light bulb factory.

Kellerbier is another signature beer that attracts people to the brewery and gastro pub, and is, without a doubt, the brewers’ own favourite. The unfiltered lager is stronger than a standard Kellerbier, with a malty, bready backbone and big hop aroma and bitterness.

Neon IPA, a New England IPA in response to the so called haze craze, will be released by the brewery this spring. “A lot of modern beers nowadays are hazy,” explains Körmendi. “Neon IPA is hazy, brewed with four different types of hops, yet with high drinkability. It’s not too bitter, just delicious.”

Experimentation is important at the brewery, which releases around three new beers per month, available on tap in the gastro pub – one such addition being Hammarby Hybrid, which includes three types of yeast, three types of malt, and three types of hops. Petit Brut is another interesting beer, a sparkling grape sour fermented with Champagne yeast. Then there’s Fika Stout, a breakfast stout with cinnamon, coffee and vanilla – which, naturally, goes will with cinnamon buns. And the blond barley wine Semlan, brewed with cardamom, almond and lactose, sounds amazing teamed with the Swedish pastry ‘semla’.

PU:REST, beer brewed with purified waste water Nya Carnegiebryggeriet aims for circular brewing, the beer PU:REST being a great example. This is Sweden’s first beer brewed with purified waste water, a collaboration between Nya Carnegie- bryggeriet, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute, and Carlsberg Sweden. Together, they wanted to challenge preconceived notions about waste water and instead see it as a solution for the future. “This was a quirky project and received a lot of attention. There was a good bit of hype around it, both nationally and internationally,” remembers Körmendi. “We had film crews from as far away as China and Vietnam, who came to find out about our pale lager made from waste water.”

No doubt, there is always something exciting going on at this brewery. The CEO concludes: “We are constantly looking at innovative ways of brewing and using resources, as well as experimenting with ingredients for a modern twist on classic beers. But of course, the most important thing is that the beer is of the highest quality and, of course, that it tastes great.”

Brewery tour and beer tasting: You can visit Nya Carnegiebryggeriet to learn more about beer on a brewery tour followed by a beer tasting, have a bite to eat in the gastro pub, or just enjoy a beer in the bar.

Opening hours: Tuesdays: 4pm to 10pm Wednesdays and Thursdays: 4pm to 11pm Fridays: 4pm to midnight Saturdays: 2pm to midnight Sundays and Mondays: Closed

Christina Körmendi, CEO. Tim Rose, brew master. Web: www.nyacarnegiebryggeriet.se Instagram: @nyacarnegiebryggeriet

A retro kitchen classic that meets modern needs

“I think what’s fascinating is that our product is over 80 years old, and yet it continues to meet the challenges of baking in the best way possible,” says Marcus Grimerö. He is the CEO of Ankarsrum, the company that makes and markets the award-winning Assistent Original® kitchen assistant, a multi-functional stand mixer that helps with everything from making bread, pasta and ice cream to mincing meat or mixing smoothies.

By Linnea Dunne | Photos: Ankarsrum

With roots in a 1937 redesign of a bulky professional-use baking machine, Assistent Original® has been a muchloved modern classic for a long time. An increased focus on export markets over the past few years was helped by a widespread baking trend and an uptick in people wanting to learn more about cooking from scratch. Then 2020 came and brought with it an unexpected turn of events.

A true original for the perfect dough The pandemic created plenty of challenges with regards to logistics and production, says Grimerö. “Every day has been a new challenge. You’d plan for tomorrow, and then tomorrow would come with new restrictions impacting the entire production flow.” But the food and home-baking trend that had already started just grew stronger by the day. “Things like sourdough, which was already huge, requires regular attention, and as people were spending more time at home it meant that these interests deepened,” says the CEO. “People were making their own pizza, and suddenly it became important to understand exactly how to make the perfect pizza dough. You could say there was an element of perfectionism about it.”

When it comes to working dough, and indeed many other tasks, Assistent Original® is perfectly unique. While most modern stand mixers have an arm with a whisk in the overhang, Ankarsrum’s classic has a rotating bowl with the motor and gearbox in the base, making it exceptionally strong and stable. “Instead of whisking the dough, the gluten strands are being pulled, which works the dough in a completely different way.”

Exactly how to work the gluten perfectly depends on a number of factors – like the type of flour, the amount of flour and the amount of liquid. Add to that the wide range of new culinary traditions that comes with international export, and Ankarsrum found itself facing what Grimerö describes as a real communications challenge. “Pandemic or no

pandemic, we’re trying very hard to listen to and learn from consumers,” he says. “Because our kitchen assistant is so different to what people in a lot of markets would be used to, getting to know it is a bit of a journey – and it has to be said, our customers have been fantastic. Many of them enjoy experimenting a bit, and in collaboration with our distributors and their networks we’ve learnt what works for different types of baking. And amazingly, Assistent Original® always rises to the challenge.”

Two-way communication and inspiration Communication has always been paramount for Ankarsrum, but Grimerö admits that the improvements to digital communication that followed the pandemic have helped when it comes to reaching new markets and supporting consumers. “We’ve always focused a lot on education and inspiration, but naturally, that’s made a lot easier thanks to continuous digitalisation,” he notes. And the same goes for the culinary enthusiasts who found themselves stuck in their homes; new online groups and networks have popped up, and foodies are connecting across borders, sharing inspiration and tips, united by their love of cooking and food.

Call it two-way communication, if you will – something Ankarsrum is making the most of. The charming retro design may be a nod to a proud past, but what you get when you buy your own Assistent Original® is an original that is being continuously updated and improved – very much thanks to customer input. “We know that some people are still using the kitchen assistant they bought in the ‘50s or ‘60s, but we’ve responded to requests for accessories to make sure that older assistants can meet the needs of today,” Grimerö explains. “There’s a blender, we’ve got pasta rollers, and now there’s an ice cream maker as well!”

Back in the early days of the new Assistent Original® design, an early user called it “ingenious” and dreamed that it might persuade some men to give their housewives a break. That mission can surely be said to be accomplished by now, but the classic kitchen assistant isn’t done tackling challenges. An entirely Swedish production line, alongside an encouragement to bake and cook more from scratch, is doing a lot for the environment. And in a world that can feel a little disconnected and frightening at the moment, the Assistent Original® is a reminder of the simple things in life – an invitation to connect, at our kitchen tables and across nation borders, through a shared appreciation of food.

Web: ankarsrum.com Instagram: @ankarsrum

Time for fika? Yes, please!

Swedish brand Frödinge is known for its classic cheesecake, delicious chocolate cake and other dreamy desserts – perfect for sharing with loved ones.

By Malin Norman | Photos: Frödinge

Frödinge was originally a dairy, established in 1929 in Vimmerby in the heart of Småland by a group of farmers. In 1955, the cheesecake was introduced, now considered the first ready-made meal to have been launched in Sweden. In the 1970s, the brand expanded its portfolio with frozen gateaus and cakes. Today, around 85 people work at Frödinge, including a marketing and sales organisation serving customers all over Europe.

The success is down to the entrepreneurial spirit, high-quality products and cost-effective production, argues Søren Egesborg, managing director. “Thanks to streamlined production, we can achieve the same high quality every time, and offer delicious products that look and taste home-made.”

Frödinge uses 100 per cent renewable energy, so products are made in a fossil free environment. “Also, we have removed all palm oil and use only Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa products. And we use local produce when we can and make sure that waste products are re-used if possible,” Egesborg assures. “We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future.”

A delicious range, ready to be exported All desserts are made from scratch at the factory. Meringues and cake sponges are blended and baked in the same way consumers would at home, just at a bigger scale. The original dairy production is still in operation, and Frödinge produces its own cream to make sure it has the best properties for use in frozen desserts.

The most popular dessert is the gooey chocolate cake, with a soft chocolate sponge and creamy chocolate. Not far behind is the dreamy princess cake with a Victoria sponge, layers of whipped cream and raspberry jam, and a cover of marzipan. The desserts are appreciated outside the Swedish market, too, and can be found at selected retailers around Europe, and with private label available as an option, Frödinge expects to expand its export portfolio further.

“We work closely with our customers to develop new products that are suitable for different markets and consumer needs,” says Linnea Maine, category manager. “For instance, we have a range of lactose-free products in Finland, and an assortment of gluten-free products and offerings for our vegan consumers. We want to make sure that everyone can enjoy our cakes and desserts!”

Web: www.frodinge.se Facebook: frodinge Instagram: @frodingemejeri

The power of innovation

“When the world changed, we changed with it”. Those are the words of Richard Jansson, co-owner of award-winning distillery Norrtelje Brenneri, which this year celebrates two decades of distillation mastery.

By Emma Rodin | Photos: Andreas Mattsson

Before the world turned upside down a mere two years ago, Jansson and his wife Kristina Anerfält-Jansson were enjoying the fruits of their labour, backed by the fact that their beloved Norrtelje Brenneri had become such a well-respected brand with a loyal customer base. At this point, their hand-crafted product line (made with organic and premium ingredients) included whisky, gin, aquavit, schnapps and punsch, and was soon joined by disinfectant hand sanitiser.

“When the pandemic hit, our business took it very hard,” explains Jansson. “Everything changed overnight, and we suddenly found ourselves in a position where it no longer mattered that we had an amazing product to offer. A big chunk of our sales comes from tax-free shops at airports and aboard ferries, so when travel came to a halt, so did we.”

That’s when the idea to create hand sanitiser was born – and good thing it did. “Thanks to our small but mighty facilities, we could quickly re-group and switch our focus to produce large amounts of disinfectants, both for hospitals and for private use,” says Jansson. “Last year, we made 40,000 litres of the stuff, which is quite mad.”

Aside from this, shall we say, side-track, Norrtelje Brenneri still creates a wide range of high-quality spirits, which has rightfully earned them recognition all around the world, from Seattle to New Delhi. The roster includes Roslagswhisky, Roslagsgin, Roslagspunsch (all named after Roslagens skärgård, the archipelago in which Norrtelje Brenneri is located) and, last but not least, the renowned Bellmanpunsch.

On the product side of things, there are a few new additions to talk about, including a set of tonic waters, plus a coffee liqueur infused with orange peel and vanilla. “There’s more to come too, but you’ll have to keep an ear out, and trust me when I say that you’ll want to,” teases Jansson.

The pot is also stirring when it comes to improving the sustainable aspect of the brand’s offering – because despite already being certified organic, having its own water recycling system and barely using plastic materials, and switching to electric cars a year ago to give logistics a lovely hue of green, there’s still more to do. And the next step? Stay tuned.

Photo: Mikaela Martinsson

Web: www.norrteljebrenneri.se Facebook: norrteljebrenneri

The Swedish Black Caviar made with roe from Siberian sturgeon. Black caviar.

Luxury goods derived locally and farmed sustainably

Black caviar, commonly referred to as black gold, is the luxurious food item that many gourmands crave on their dining table. Arctic Roe of Scandinavia (AROS) is a pioneering force on the market with its roe production taking place in Sweden, under strict regulation and with a rigid focus on bringing outstanding quality with unparalleled sustainability to one of the most exclusive products in the world.

By Nina Bressler | Photos: Arctic Roe of Scandinavia

In the small town of Strömsnäsbruk, located in southern Sweden, lies an old paper mill. The vast premises have been overtaken by pools inhabiting 1,200 Siberian sturgeon, fish weighing on average ten kilogrammes each.

Arctic Roe of Scandinavia (AROS) was founded by Torbjörn Ranta. “The idea of starting my own black caviar production was born during business trips to Russia. Roe production involves a lot of hard work and many challenges, but at the end of the day, it’s a rewarding business in every sense,” he says.

The clear distinction between Arctic Roe of Scandinavia and other brands on the market is drawn at the mode of production: sustainability and the well-being of the fish are key. Rather than killing the animal and cutting out the roe, an otherwise common method for black caviar production, AROS cares for each fish year-round and carefully milks the roe when time is due, after which the fish is released back into the tank.

Everything from housing the fish to milking the roe and preparing the finished product happens on the company’s own premises, which makes AROS uniquely positioned as the single manufacturer of black caviar in Sweden. “Sweden is one of the most regulated countries in the world, a fact that compels us to excel where other producers may not extend the same concern. It’s not the simplest of ways, but its impact on the final product, quality and taste, as well as the long-term environmental benefits, make it truly worth it,” says Ranta.

In honour of its origin, every fish is named with a Russian female name, printed onto its respective caviar jar. “Black caviar is an exclusive product, and we believe that such a delicacy should be produced accordingly. We sample every batch to establish the highest quality, and our team works full-time with maintaining ideal living conditions for the fish all year round. It requires a huge effort, but we wouldn’t have it any other way; we believe that this is how you produce the best black caviar – from fish to table,” Ranta concludes.

The Siberian sturgeons are carefully collected for milking.

Black caviar uniquely produced in southern Sweden.

Web: www.arcticroe.com Facebook: Arctic Roe of Scandinavia Instagram: @arcticroeofscandinavia

Shipfaced. Photo: Aje Hedlund Photo: marxmedia.se

Craft beer at the old train station

Train Station Brewery produces award-winning craft beer and also runs a popular pub in Knivsta’s old train station. The ethos is about brewing beer that isn’t ‘lagom’, but challenges the palate and the perception of Swedish beer.

By Malin Norman

In 2012, the brewery was established by biochemist Colin Nordström from California, entrepreneur and sommelier Simon Vikström from Knivsta, and engineer Per-Johan Thörn from Halmstad. The trio decided to use the old train station building in Knivsta, dating back to 1867, as a base for a new beer brand that would revolutionise the so-called ‘folk beer’ (‘folköl’ – or beer at between 2.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent ABV, which can be sold in supermarkets and not just the state-owned Systembolaget monopoly) market in Sweden.

First out was a recipe for an IPA-inspired folk beer, The Hoppy One. “Colin kept on saying that folk beer in Sweden was rubbish, so we decided to make one inspired by hoppy American IPAs,” says Vikström. “We call it an India Pale Folk Ale. The timing was perfect as many people in Sweden were curious about craft beer.”

The beer received outstanding reviews, by magazines Gourmet and Allt om Mat,

for example, and the team knew they were on the right track.

Award-winning beers and other craft beverages In 2014, the brewery pursued fullstrength beer production. Its Groundbreaker has been named Sweden’s Best Lager by Umeåguiden and won gold in beer society Gambrinus’ awards. And, impressively, Shipfaced IPA won gold at Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival as Best Swedish Bottled Beer Regardless of Category. “It’s the small details that make the difference,” argues Vikström. “We analyse the water before brewing, we source ingredients carefully, and we constantly work with quality. This is our success factor.”

With the brewer coming from California, there’s naturally a West Coast IPA in the line-up as well. The brewery, now run by Nordström and Vikström, launched the first of its single batch series last autumn, a juicy and tropical New England IPA with loads of hops. The idea is to launch small batches a couple of times a year.

Train Station Brewery has an interesting range, including gluten-free beer and other craft beverages such as soda, tonic and ginger beer. Ginger Rail is a tasty, well-balanced, non-alcoholic ginger beer with spicy ginger and a touch of lime. And in 2022, the team plans to release a non-alcoholic beer, the recipe of which is still under development, as well as an alcohol-free gin and tonic.

Photo: Matilda Hübinette

Web: www.trainstationbrewery.com Facebook: TrainStationBrewery Instagram: @trainstationbrewery

Photo: Kaboompics

Tradition and innovation combined, for a one-of-a-kind wine

In a climate that most would think doesn’t naturally lend itself to wine-making, SAV Winery has nevertheless become a successful winery – and the secret is in the raw material. Rather than making wine from grapes, SAV uses birch sap.

By Amanda Düring | Photos: SAV Winery

Though there is some wine production in Sweden, no vineyards are based as far north as SAV Winery. Founded in Östersund in 2018, the winery used a centuries-old recipe to create a new product.

“Birch sap wine is an older tradition than you might think,” says Bengt Strenge, partner and chairman of SAV Winery. “The recipe we’ve unearthed comes from Germany, but there’s also an old tradition of birch sap wine in England. It used to be something that poorer people would make when they couldn’t afford wine made from grapes, but we’ve made it into something that takes its rightful place beside other wines.”

The recipe, discovered in an archive, was written down in 1785 and has given its name to the first wine to come into production – SAV 1785 Pétillant Naturel. A pet nat, as it’s also referred to in the industry, is a naturally sparkling wine with smaller, pearl-like bubbles that bring out the sweetness of the wine; while a traditional Prosecco contains an average of 13-14 grammes of sugar, the SAV 1785 Pétillant Naturel contains 18 grammes. “We’re very proud of our wine,” says Strenge. “It’s great to be able to bring back an old tradition and offer something new on the market. We’re going to the Vinexpo in Paris in February, and we’re getting a lot of interest – most people have never seen anything like it.”

Partner and chairman Bengt Strenge.

Unique ingredient, unique method –unique product The sap the wine is made of is harvested in the forests of Scandinavia, where land owners begin the harvest as soon as the ground thaws. The harvesting process is natural and eco-friendly and doesn’t negatively affect the trees. In many countries, the vitamin and mineral rich sap is considered a health beverage when drunk as is.

“I don’t know if we can call our wine a health tonic as such,” Strenge laughs. “But certainly, it’s a natural product that in many ways is better for the environment than traditional wine. The sap is sustainably harvested and leaves behind healthy, thriving forests, and we don’t use any pesticides.”

The production method is equally unique and developed by international wine consultant Lars Torstensson. After spending many years in Champagne, learning everything there is to know about the ‘méthode traditionelle’ and ‘méthode ancienne’, Torstensson developed a blend of the two – ‘méthode Suedoise’. Carefully crafted to align to tradition and bring out the best in the birch sap, the method is unique to SAV Winery.

Combining a fermentation in a casket with a second ‘half’ fermentation in the bottle, the resulting wine is fresh and crisp, with a hint of green apples. A second wine is in production and has just been bottled for its second fermentation – this one with only 3-5 grammes of sugar per litre.

International interest Well-received both internationally and in Scandinavia, the winery opened a web shop during the pandemic, where customers from all over Europe have placed their orders. Working with distributors to ensure consistent distribution in those countries, they’ve sometimes had to think on their feet.

“We’re finding that there’s somewhat different views of our wine in different countries, and different legal situations,” says Strenge. “In France, for example, we’re not allowed to call it a wine at all, so we have to find a different way to put it that lets customers know what to expect. In Italy, they’re very interested, but also very firm in their belief that sparkling wine is a summer drink, so we’re biding our time there.”

In its native Sweden, the wine is sold at Systembolaget, the Swedish liquor chain, as well as select restaurants. “We’ve been told by those in the know that we’ve done very well to get into nearly 100 Systembolaget shops in only two years,” says Strenge. “Customers are increasingly interested in natural wines in general, and in our birch sap wine in particular. It ticks all the boxes – it’s sustainable, vegan- friendly and delicious. Restaurants are sometimes more cautious about trying something new, but we’re definitely seeing that the demand from customers is winning them over!”

Web: www.savwinery.com Facebook: SAVWinery Instagram: @savwinery

Bottle rack containing bottles during fermentation.

Party with bright lights. Photo: Andreas Ronningen

Exciting flavour combinations in a bag. Choose your favourite from the Narr Chocolate selection.

More than six tonnes of chocolate is used every day during production. All production takes place in Ödeshög, Sweden.

Chocolate lovers, unite!

Can’t get enough of the sweet stuff? In constant search of new, exciting flavour combinations? Looking for top quality? You’ve come to the right place. Narr Chocolate is the Swedish brand that creates chocolate-covered yumminess sold to retailers, as well as in their shop and online.

By Nina Bressler | Photos: Narr Chocolate

The company, founded in 1993, is a family affair through and through. Roger Jonsson is in charge of the business together with his wife Anne-Lie and their two children, Natalie and Robin. The production, as well as their shop, is located along the highway E4, in Ödeshög, not far from the birthplace of the candy cane, Gränna – and perfect for the sweet tooth while on the road.

“We put an enormous effort into creating a product of the highest quality. We care deeply about the ingredients, the flavour combinations, and we want our selection to mirror that. After many years in the business, we know the craft well and take great pride in our final product, which we believe is why customers come back time after time,” says Jonsson.

Every day, an average of nine tonnes of chocolate-covered liquorice, fruit, puffed corn and nuts in different shapes are being produced inside the Narr facilities and shipped to customers throughout Sweden, the rest of the Nordics, and increasingly also to the rest of Europe. Having started by only selling their goods to resellers, the brand’s evolution into a physical and online shop reflects a steadily increasing demand, and the company is gearing up to fulfil the need. Among the examples of how they plan to tackle the surging sweet cravings are an extension to the existing premises, which is set to be realised within the next two years; an extended assortment of sweets on the drawing board; and a selection of chocolates being introduced to primarily Swedish food shops and supermarkets.

For now, have your pick between the blueberry-flavoured, chocolate-covered liquorice; the cinnamon chocolatecovered almond; passionfruit and chili liquorice; liquorice covered in white chocolate; or perhaps something else from the collection, which consists of more than 60 different delicious combinations – enough to satisfy even the most insatiable of chocolate lovers.

Web: www.narrchocolate.se Facebook: Narr Konfektyr Instagram: @narrchocolateshop

Experience and curiosity at praised brewery

Sigtuna Brygghus is constantly refining its craft, experimenting with ingredients and techniques, and expanding the exciting line-up of tasty, well-balanced beer – from Midvinterblot to Hazy Daze IPA, and the recent addition N.A.P.A.

By Malin Norman | Photos: Sigtuna Brygghus

Sigtuna Brygghus was established in 2005 and is considered somewhat of a pioneer in Swedish craft beer. The brewery has grown naturally over the years and is today a professional brewery with ten staff making innovative and award-winning beers.

“The atmosphere at the brewery is really good,” says brewer Karl Kusa, who works with daily production as well as product development. “Some of us have been here for a few years, and we have a couple of new, curious brewers who are keen to learn. It makes for a great dynamic in the group, and everybody is a part of the process.”

Sustainability is key, explains the brewer. “It’s important to minimise the use of water and energy and to reduce waste, and we include some organic beers in our production,” he says. An example is Organic Ale, an homage to microbreweries on the American west coast, which revolutionised craft beer. Sigtuna Brygghus often collaborates with local producers as well, and the tropical Anananas IPA is a great example, brewed with left-over pineapple from Grönsakshallen Sorunda.

From Hazy Daze IPA to N.A.P.A. The brewers are playing with classic styles as well as modern trends. “We need to constantly keep on our toes, changing and optimising the recipes, and improving the quality of our beers,” says Kusa. Hazy Daze IPA is one of the popular beers that works for all occasions, developed a few years ago. “It was important to create a well-balanced beer, and this one sits somewhere between a traditional American IPA and a hazy New England IPA. It goes well with burgers, spicy food and hard aged cheeses.”

Another hit is the winter classic Midvinterblot, an imperial porter with coffee and chocolate. In the spirit of experimenting, Sigtuna Brygghus also releases limited edition brews under the concept Keg Club. Here, the brewers explore various ingredients and techniques, often in collaboration with other breweries.

A new product and already a bestseller is N.A.P.A., a non-alcohol pale ale. “Sweden has around 400 breweries, but few make alcohol-free beer,” says Marcus Friari, brand manager. “It took around two years of experimenting until we released N.A.P.A., which is as close to an American pale ale you can get without the alcohol.”

Karl Kusa, brewer.

Web: www.sigtunabrygghus.se Facebook: sigtunabrygghus Instagram: @sigtunabeer

Stockholms Bränneri’s products can now be found in 20 countries worldwide, from Sweden and Denmark to the UK, and across the Atlantic in the US. Photo: Danger Österlin

Stockholm-based gin distiller prepares to scale up guest area

Starting a distillery wasn’t something founders Anna Wikner and her husband Calle ever actually dreamt of. For the pair, who met during their studies in the city of Lund in the south of Sweden, a professional path in engineering was the original plan. Until they left for Canada, that is, and realised that Vancouver had something that Sweden didn’t.

By John Sempill | Photos: Linda Svensson

“Vancouver is a real lifestyle kind of city; a lot of people live there for that reason,” explains Anna. “We also discovered that distilleries were popping up all over the place.”

These distilleries weren’t merely production factories, but also meeting places for gatherings or a night out. “You could visit them for a drink in the cocktail bar in connection with the distillery,” she continues. “This is where we hung out with our friends. We asked ourselves why this didn’t exist in Sweden and in Stockholm.”

This triggered a chain of events that eventually saw the couple, who had a great passion for food and drink, visit several different distilleries along the American west coast. They became friendly with a lot of them and started distilling vodka as soon as they got back home to Vancouver. “We used chemistry kits like the ones you had in school,” Anna fondly recalls. “We had a camping burner at one end and distilled vodka with different spices. It started to taste like gin, which sparked an idea.”

Gin has always been the couple’s preferred spirit. They started reading up on it and explored ways to bring their new busi-

The distiller – the heart of operations at Stockholms Bränneri.

ness idea to Sweden. “We actually started the company while still living in Canada,” Anna reveals. “Also because we felt that if we moved back, we would fall into old routines and not start our project.”

They started looking up distillation equipment while still in Vancouver. They eventually found the perfect match, but quickly realised that a second-hand distiller wasn’t an option, simply because of the dawning of the gin boom. “So we had to order a new one,” she says. “The turnaround time was six months, which was an eternity, because we just wanted to get started!”

Creating a destination The couple came back to Sweden in the late summer of 2015, and their new distiller was set for delivery. The problem was that they didn’t have anywhere to put it. “We forgot to think about that,” says Anna with a twinkle in her eye. “We wanted a space somewhere in town, preferably in Södermalm – otherwise a cool building somewhere on the outskirts, which we could turn into a destination. Like an old railway station or a brick building.”

They eventually set up shop in an old Jaguar workshop, only two blocks from their home on one of Stockholm’s main streets, Folkungagatan. Since then, Stockholms Bränneri has organically taken over more of the building. “Just recently, we signed up for even more space, which I believe was the office space for the old Jaguar workshop,” Anna explains. “That space will be turned into an additional visitor area for guests and visitors – a gin bar, open three days a week for tasting events and bar evenings. That excites us a lot. We have tasting events several times a week, but this will enable us to be even more accessible.”

A taste of the Nordics – and innovation Taste-wise, Stockholms Bränneri focuses on all things Scandinavian. And since it’s right in the middle of town, the urban touch is there, too. “The Nordics inspire us a lot,” Anna reflects. “From the rowanberry that grows in town to the cherry blossom in Kungsträdgården. We produced a gin together with a local hotel, with pineappleweed. It’s a wild camomile blossom that grows through the asphalt. We never want to stop surprising. It shouldn’t be obvious what our next product will be.”

And let’s not forget to mention that it’s all organic. Speaking of which, Stockholms Bränneri has developed ways of making use of its by-product. One example is their own hand sanitiser, which can be purchased on the website. This also helped them land the award for Improver of the Bar Industry 2020, at the Bartenders’ Choice Awards.

In addition to high-quality Nordic gin and a sustainable hand sanitiser, the distillery also boasts a wide range of merchandise on the website. If you think the bottles have a slight clinical look, you aren’t mistaken. “When we started, my husband and I really fell for the history of gin,” says Anna. “It’s based on genever from medical herbs, and it began as stomach medicine. That’s why we made the connection to pharmacy bottles. Calle and I knew from the start that we wanted to work with pharmacy bottles. We searched a long time for a bottle that we thought looked right.”

Stockholms Bränneri is more than a gin company. It’s a lifestyle. When you uncork one of their bottles, you’re part of the family.

Web: www.stockholmsbranneri.com Facebook: stockholmsbranneri Instagram: @stockholmsbranneri

A bottle of Stockholms Bränneri Dry Gin wouldn’t be complete without its elegant label, designed by Carl Bachmann.

Anna and Calle Wikner left Sweden in 2013 for Vancouver, with nothing but a passion for food and drink. They came back in 2015 with a spirited vision. Photo: Joe Hutt One of the ingredients that make gin. Juniper berries give gin its predominant flavour.

The wonderful world of whisky

Meet High Coast Whisky, the distillery at the forefront of the Swedish whisky market. Location, determination and innovation are only a few of the ingredients behind this brand’s success – so let’s explore what it really takes to create a whisky wonder.

By Emma Rodin | Photos: High Coast Whisky

Firstly, the High Coast Whisky distillery sits on the 63rd parallel north latitude in northern Sweden’s Västernorrland district. This makes it one of the world’s northernmost distilleries and gives its whisky an unusual edge.

“We have four distinct seasons here, and significant temperature variations throughout the year from -30 to +30,” says Henrik Persson, CEO at High Coast Whisky. “This helps to intensify the exchange between the oak and the spirit, contributing to a unique flavour development,” adds Persson.

With its ice-cold water, the Ångerman river plays a big part too. “Cooling our spirits in the distillation process is crucial. Cooling as quick as possible from the condensed form helps to achieve the right depth, flavour and elegance,” explains Persson.

Fancy owning your own barrel? It’s possible, thanks to High Coast Whisky’s Cask Owner Concept. Give it a go and you’ll not only deepen your interest in whisky, but also share the experience with lots of like-minded people. “We’re giving customers the chance to create their own whisky, from choosing the cask and deciding on peated or unpeated whisky, through to bottle design and label,” says Persson.

If picking something off the shelf is more your thing, you’re in good hands. There’s the four-piece Origin series, a tribute to the distillery’s rich heritage and dramatic surroundings. High Coast Whisky also has an ongoing partnership with Scandinavian Airlines, its Altitud whisky being available to purchase in economy class, and Atmosfär in business.

You could also explore the visitor centre. Here, guests can enjoy whisky tastings and monthly events, book a distillery tour, or sit down in the atmospheric Restaurant 63 for a whisky-paired meal. Then there’s of course the popular whisky festival, which will be held here 17-18 June. “It’s a two-day event packed with enjoyment, music, parties, food and great people,” says Persson. “Last year, we had to run a scaled-down version, so we’re thrilled to be back for real.”

After a few challenging, yet successful years, the team at High Coast Whisky is excited to attend fairs, welcome even more visitors and take their offering to the next level. Does that include new products? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Web: www.highcoastwhisky.se Facebook: highcoastdistillery