Kitchen novices needn’t shy away—the experience can be as involved as you’d like. Though the experience is complimentary, you can purchase a cooking kit with the necessary tools, a local guide to help you forage, or even a personal chef with all the ingredients ready to cook.
One of the chefs is Titti Qvarnström (pictured below), the first woman in the Nordic region to earn a Michelin star. “People that have grown up in Sweden often have an intrinsic connection to nature that comes from allemansrätt,” she says. “Being an avid hunter and forager, I know the flora and fauna of Skåne, my part of the country, quite well. However, [this initiative] made me curious about the differences across our long country.”
While notable chefs crafted the menus, the real stars are the seasonal ingredients, which evolve over the summer and early fall. More than 2,000 plants and berries found around Sweden are edible, and its water systems are filled with fish and crustaceans. “In May, you’ll find aromatic donkey rhubarb and wild garlic,” explains Qvarnström. “In June, there’s chickweed, an herb with detoxifying properties, and July brings all sorts of local wild berries and brambles before mushroom and sorrel season kicks off in August and September,” she adds. Meals might include dishes like forest broth with poached perch and broiled herb butter, freshly smoked char with chanterelles and wood sorrel, and a dessert of acorn and hazelnut crumbs.
Along with her fellow chefs Niklas Ekstedt, Jacob Holmström, and Anton Bjuhr, Qvarnström hopes guests leave with a deep understanding of their food sources. “Preparing one’s own meal is a very powerful experience. It’s simply our responsibility to nurture and care for our surroundings in order to preserve it for future generations.”
For tourists, ‘The Edible Country’ fits perfectly into any trip to Sweden. If you’re spending time in Stockholm, reach the nearest table on Utö island via public transport. But, to fully experience the landscape, escape west to the remote Värmland region, where you can also stay in a moss-covered charcoal hut, build a timber raft and float down a river, or unplug in your own treehouse. No matter which pocket of Sweden you choose, nature’s pantry will be open.
Photography by Jonas Eltes & Victor Falk (portrait) and August Dellert (others)