Midsummer in Sweden • June 23 - July 1, 2020
Immerse yourself in the joys of Swedish life ~ nature and the out of doors, rest, health, good food, and celebrations. Be a Swede for nine days of summer in the province of Skåne, the southernmost and agricultural region of Sweden.
Summers in Sweden include outdoor saunas, dips icy waters, hearty walks in the forest or along the seashore. Visiting family as a food-loving teen, I foraged for wild berries and relished the taste of fish caught that day. The food was clean, honest and always shared at big family gatherings.
Sweden has 25 historical provinces called landskap. We visit the province of Skåne (Scania in English), which has some of the most diverse terrain in Sweden. Shaped by agriculture and punctuated by the ever-present coastline, Skane is a scenic patchwork of pastures, sharp cliffs, long beaches and green forests.
Historic buildings, museums, and cultural landmarks help document the human history of Skane, which can be traced to Viking times. Skåne’s culinary traditions favor organic farms, coastal fishing and wild game hunting.
Nordic cuisine is characterized by purity, simplicity, and freshness. Swedes are deliberate in their choice of ecologically friendly or “eco” seasonal foods. Wild game, fresh fish, foraged herbs, mushrooms and berries are essential. Winter is long; summer is short so techniques for preserving food to capture the spirit of summer is a deeply held tradition. Our culinary focus will be on “slow food,” meaning dishes cooked from scratch using the ingredients at hand.
Swedes love to celebrate! There are many holidays, festivals, and celebrations, each with an array of traditional dishes that must be served. We celebrate with our hosts at every occasion.
The Nordic lifestyle
Communing with nature is ingrained in Swedish culture. They have a word, friluftsliv (free-loofts-liv), that translates as “open-air lifestyle.” Scandinavians are not hampered by the (often extreme) seasons and believe that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” Being in nature is also linked closely to “allmansrätten,” the right to roam. Laws are in place that allow people to walk, camp, or forage practically anywhere, as long as they show respect for the land, wildlife and the locals.
In Sweden the path to health and vitality leads to a sauna, followed by a dip in a bracing creek or the equally cold sea. For Swedes this tradition is a necessity, not a luxury.
Note: Walking excursions will be light to medium exertion primarily on paths.
Welcome to Skåne
We meet in Copenhagen for a welcome toast before taking the train to Österlen. Known as “the garden basket” of Sweden, the region boasts picturesque coastal towns with a rich fishing heritage. We stay at Svabesholms Kungsgard, one of many farms owned by former kings of Sweden. We settle in and have our first dinner together. During our first several days, we have time to enjoy a sauna, walk the farm, ride a bike to the sea, or nap. Two dinners will be at the farm. (D)
Farms & Fisheries
After breakfast we drive along the coast, then turn inland to visit eco farms that produce herbs, vegetables, and cold-pressed rapeseed oil. We’ll visit a local fish smokehouse where we’ll have lunch and a bakery that makes the regional specialty, Spettekaka. This cake is part of Scanian culinary heritage. The name means "cake on a spit" with the batter being drizzled on a spit over the fire. The EU has even given this cake Protected Geographical Indication status! (B,L,Fika,D)
Foraging & Sweden's Viking Stonehedge
This will be a very special day. Roland Rittman, “wild herb grandfather to the Nordic countries,” leads us on a foraging walk to gather ingredients for supper. Roland forages for restaurants, most notably René Redzepi's Noma, voted top restaurant in the world for the last four years. He has had a big impact on the new Nordic cooking as well as on environmental issues. We’ll look for wild berries, yarrow, sweet cicely, wood sorrel, chanterelle, and more. Before returning to the farm, we stop to visit Ales Stenar, a dramatic Viking era Stonehenge overlooking the ocean. In the evening, we have a cooking class and dinner at a farm that has been in one family for over 400 years and boasts beautiful vegetable and herb gardens which we will tour. (B,D)
On to Båstad
Today we head to Båstad, stopping along the way at one of many historical castles and estates that dot the region including the Wanås estate below. We cross Skåne from the southeast to northwest corner ending in the village of Båstad, tennis center for the Nordic Games. On our way, we stop at the village smokery to buy smoked salmon for dinner. (B,D)
Warmbadhus Spa & Cooking class
After breakfast, we drive to Hovs Haller, a national park along the sea, and walk to the fishing village of Torekov. Here we visit the Torekov bathhouse, Warmbadhus, a day spa dating from 1876. Located a few feet from the sea, the baths were once used by fishermen before returning home after days of fishing. Each of us has a private seaweed bath. Whether due to polysaccharides or other natural qualities, the seaweed calms and softens the skin. It’s fantastic! Salt scrubs, massage, and other treatments can be arranged at an extra cost. Also recommended is a traditional jump into the sea to refresh mind, body, and spirit. There will be time to shop the boutiques along cobbled streets. Choose lunch at one of the many fish restaurants. (B,D).
Cooking Class & Dinner with Mike and Jonas
This morning will be free and a time to relax, read a good book, or take a long walk. In the afternoon we’ll do a bit of shopping on our way to our evening cooking class with brothers Mike and Jonas, chef owners of Orangeriet, part garden store, part restaurant, and part cooking school. We’ll prepare traditional and updated Swedish specialties and have a fabulous meal. (B,D)
The Local Butcher’s Farm
Today we put our walking shoes back on and visit a neighboring farm where we'll have a guided walk through the rolling fields and learn about the ecological practices and small family owned farm. This family is known for its cured and fresh meats raised on the farm. We'll purchase a sampling of meats and have a picnic. (B,L,D)
The Gardens of Norrviken
The Gardens of Norrviken consist of seven themed gardens set around the Villa Abelin. Created by visionary Rudolf Abelin in the early 1900s, the gardens were inspired by various countries and epochs. After touring the gardens, we have an elegant fika in the Norrviken home.
Fika is the all-important Swedish tradition of stopping for coffee — no ordering to go here. “Functioning as both a verb and a noun, the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. In Sweden coffee is something to look forward to, a moment where everything else stops and you savor the moment.” – Anna Brones (B,Fika,D)
Shopping & Eating
Today is open for the group to decide how to spend our final day together. We might shop for Swedish made products or take a boat to a nearby island and wildlife reserve for a picnic. This region holds many shops that have curated the wares of local craftsmen. We’ll definitely be visiting a small, family-owned factory that weaves traditional Swedish linens. For dinner, we visit the home of my family, Anders and Anette Olsson, and cook a traditional summer Smörgåsbord featuring crayfish and wild game. (B,D)
After a leisurely morning and goodbyes, we’ll deliver you to the local train for a two hour ride to Copenhagen or help you with plans to visit Stockholm or elsewhere.
The first three nights we stay at Svabesholms Kungsgard in the pension or “pensionat” in Swedish. The three bedroom photos represent the farm with classic “Swedish” simplicity as it’s all about the out of doors. Our last five nites will be at a farm and art retreat. Photos coming soon.
$4450 per person based on double occupancy.
Several rooms with a double bed are available for a single person at a supplement of $800.
Program fee includes:
Pick up in Copenhagen
Five nights in a Swedish summer home
Three nights at a farm B&B
Daily buffet breakfast
Three to four cooking classes
Eight dinners, see itinerary
House chosen wine, nonalcoholic beverages, and possibly Aquavit at all planned meals at the house and while on excursions
Foraging with guide
Seaweed Spa Bath
Planned excursions, please see itinerary
Private transportation on all planned excursions
Planned restaurant meals, see itinerary
Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Copenhagen
End of trip transportation other than delivery to the commuter train, a very simple ride back to Copenhagen, Stockholm, or elsewhere
Personal shopping and expenses
Food and drink not included in the itinerary (four to five lunches and and extra Fika)
Any expenses incurred during free time
Tips for Community Cuisine staff, drivers and/or house concierge
Optional excursions or extensions
Non-refundable passport fees
Excess baggage charges
Airport taxes that are collected on the spot in foreign airports, departures taxes, airport fees, airline and federal security fees and ticket handling fees, surcharges due to changes in currency, any mandatory new or increased fees/taxes/fuel surcharge (if any) levied on airline tickets, hotels, incidental expenses in hotels, and hotel room upgrades.
Note: We have rented the home “AirB&B style” meaning there will be no daily maid service. We will have a washer and dryer on the premises and will happily wash and restock towels.
California Seller of Travel #2132010-40