Tag Archives: Drinks

Spritmuseum is an ABSOLUT hit

24 May

From the very first bottle of Absolut vodka portrayed by Andy Warhol, they now exist in all shapes and forms. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

Today Spritmuseum – the Museum of Spirits – will open its doors to visitors. The museum’s exhibitions will focus on all aspects of life – the  joy and the laughter, but also the agony and the pain – with and without the “booze”. It will tell the tale of how Swedish society and its politicians have chosen to deal with alcohol. In a restrictive Big Brother way, some would say, others claim that it benefits society to restrict the accessibility of alcohol. Alas, Sweden has no privately owned liquor stores but alcohol may only be bought Mondays through Saturdays in the government operated outlets. I’m sure quite a few of the foreign visitors will raise their eyebrows in disbelief  when they learn about the “Swedish model” while others will concur.

The new museum, located just a stone’s throw from the Vasa Museum, is also the new home of the Absolut Art Collection, under the guardiance of Spritmuseum. After many years abroad, the complete collection of art works were finally gathered in Sweden. The first major, retrospective exhibition by Absolut Art Collection is entitled Face it! and is a cross section through the art of the 1980’s and 1990’s. An era associated with the disco balls of Studio 54 in New York, the first victims of Aids, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the birth of IT.

Shirley Rabé Masinter © V&S Vin & Sprit AB 1995 / Shirley Rabé Masinter

The very first artwork created by order of Absolut was Andy Warhol’s painting of the Absolut vodka bottle in 1986, followed by the works of Keith Haring, Jane-in-Vain Winkelman, Shirley Masinter Rabé (Absolut New Orleans pictured below) and Ronnie Wood, to name a few.

For people hungry not only for art and liquor history but for real food, you’re in for a treat. The restaurant at Spritmuseum is bound to be an ABSOLUT hit. Proprietor Alexander Magnusson will serve the best Swedish cuisine with locally grown produce, fresh game of elk, dear and venison, arctic char, vendace roe and salmon. Menus will shift according to what’s in season and the well educated staff will teach the guests about the Swedish schnapps culture. Prices start at SEK 125 and you can order half portions of all dishes. In addition to the restaurant there is also an outdoors dining patio and a seaside bar.

Inaugural lunch at Spritmuseum, clockwise from top: Gubbröra (anchovies, eggs, onion, mayo), cured salmon, poached char, beetroots with goat cheese. Photo: Ewa Beit

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RiGastronomy – Latvia is moving up the culinary ladder

23 May

Lunch at Elements. Lightly smoked and grilled salmon, duck eggs and grilled vegetables in a lemon curd sauce. Photo: Ewa Beit

I recently made a trip on Tallink Silja’s ship M/S Romantika, across the Baltic Sea from Stockholm to Riga. If you’re a bit picky with your foods, as I am, instead of eating the buffet dinner, I recommend that you dine in the ship’s Russian á la carte restaurant, where I enjoyed great service and a very nice meal. And the great food continued as I arrived in the Latvian capital. It was all sunshine for mind, body and palate.

The inviting bar at the Tallink Hotel Riga. Photo: Ewa Beit

I stayed at the Tallink Hotel Riga, which is conveniently located close to the railway station, a big shopping mall and the huge market, housed in five old Zeppelin hangars. Tallink Hotel Riga offers excellent rooms and good service. I had a “quick”  three course lunch in the hotel’s own restaurant Elements, where Chef  Svetlana Riskova prepares tasty and elegant food from local produce.

I had a Caesar salad with bacon, followed smoked salmon with horseradish, grilled spring veggies with a tangy lemon sauce and duck eggs, which was actually a first for me. A feast for my eyes as well, lunch left nothing to be desired, it was simply a perfect harmony of flavors, colors and textures.

The Swarowski stone ornate stairway at ESPA in Riga. Photo: Ewa Beit

After a quick guided tour of Riga in-between lunch and dinner I went to the Skyline Bar, located on the 26th floor of the Radisson Hotel. This bar offers a breathtaking view of most of Riga, the largest city in the Baltic States. Another great amenity at the hotel is the five star, six story ESPA spa, offering a full range of luxurious treatments, health and gym facilities, pools and different saunas in a very relaxing atmosphere.

For dinner, I decided to try out Kalku Varti, on Kaļķu ilea 11a (Kalku Street)  This turned out to be an excellent choice and three hours later I was full of not only food, but positive vibrations for Rigan cuisine. For starters I had the basil-marinated spring carrots with white fish mousse, rhubarb (!) and sorrel sauce.

Starting the meal off with basil-marinated carrots and white fish mousse. Photo: Ewa Beit

As is customary in eastern and middle Europe, after salad comes soup, which I really enjoy. At Vincent’s I slurped down a creamy fresh goat cheese soup with wood sorrel. Then a strawberry sherbet to clean the palate, before the main dish – a masterpiece; roasted chicken ballottine with mashed potatoes, fresh harvested tomatoes and a mushroom velouté.

The delicious chicken ballottine at Kalku Varti. Photo: Ewa Beit

Time for dessert, carrot cake with acorn mousse and japonica quince sauce. Look at the photo and you will understand it would have been a crime not to eat it! The carrot cake melted its way down my throat. Vincent’s is located on the busy walking street Miesnieku in the Old Town. It’s advisable to make reservations ahead, as it’s a very busy during the peak season.

I love it when my concerns – especially over food – are proved wrong. Who would have thought there would be such an abundance of great food in Riga! I quickly named it RiGastronomy. It’s a shame the Latvians, because of the poor economic state of the country, cannot afford to participate in the international cooking scene challenges, such as the Bocuse d’Or. But if they do decide to enter, they will be a force to count on. I’m sure they will quickly advance up the gastronomic ladder to culinary fame.

Apart from food Riga is a really nice city to stroll around in, have a beer, a cake and do some shopping. It’s clean, lush and green, has lots of  parks and when you’re tired of walking, take a trip down the river in one of the canal boats. If you like music, there is the annual Riga Opera Festival, from June 5 to 17The highlights of the 2012 festival will be the impressive performances of Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, full of humour, tension, and references to the realities of Latvia. Richard Wagner lived for many years in Riga and was engaged at the Latvian National Opera.

Though Latvian is the official language, the majority of the Rigan population speaks Russian, as many Russians migrated to Latvia when the country was one the republics in the USSR. For those interested in the Latvian and Baltic history, don’t miss a visit to the Museum of Occupation.

For more tips on what to do and eat in Riga, visit Live Riga. And if you prefer to fly to Riga from Stockholm or Copenhagen, it’s just an hour away with Air Baltic.

Yours truly enjoying the spring sun in the Latvian beach resort of Jurmala. Photo: Martin Brozek

And if you have more than just a day or two in Riga, go to the wonderful Baltic Sea beach resort of Jurmala. Located only thirty minutes by car or train from Riga, it used to be the favorite vacation spot for high-level Soviet communist parti officials, particularly Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchevs.

Take a bite at Stockholm Culinary Week 1–6 June

21 May

Don’t be shy! Whether you’re a gourmet or a gourmand, be sure to take a bite. Some of Sweden’s best chefs will treat you to Swedish specialities and cross-over food at Stockholm Culinary Week early June. There will be oyster tasting, chili cook-offs, bar tending know hows, cook alongs, culinary walks and trips to the archipelago (the thousands and thousands of islands surrounding Stockholm).

For more info visit Stockholm Culinary Week.

Vintage Champagne Auction to be held in Mariehamn, Åland on 8 June

7 May

It’s time for another spectacular champagne auction in the tiny city of Mariehamn. The town is located in the autonomous archipelago region of Åland, in the Baltic Sea between Stockholm and Turku. The date to mark in your calendar is 8 June. Last year’s auction of two bottles of antique champagne gave profits of €57000 (USD 75000). All proceeds from the auction goes to preservation and research of marine life in the Baltic sea.

Top: The new auction site. Center: Diver Christian Ekström, present when the “treasure” was found. Bottom: Fabienne Moreau, historian at Veuve Clicquot, celebrates with Åland’s deputy county council Britt Lundberg, shortly after the first two bottles were auctioned to the same buyer via an internet offer from Singapore. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

The name and destination of the ship that sank more than two centuries ago are still unknown. The ship wreck was discovered by divers in 2010 and and a total of 168 bottles of Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar champagne were retrieved from the ocean. Read more about the champagne auction here.

If you go to Åland don’t miss a visit to Smakbyn (Taste Village) near the castle of Kastellholmen in Mariehamn, where famous chef Michael Bjorklund offers traditional Nordic cuisine and Pub Niska (named after a notorious Finnish prohibition smuggler), which offers pizzas with Nordic toppings. If you plan to visit Åland or Finland in May, travel by Viking Line ferries and enjoy Michael’s Nordic Culinary Meny and the breathtaking scenery of Stockholm’s archipelago on your way east. Bon Appétit!

…and for dessert it’s Oven baked Rhubarb with vanilla ice cream made of cream and eggs from Åland Islands and cookies. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

Boudoir style dining

16 Apr

Brasserie Le Rouge in Stockholm’s Old Town is not your average basement dining. It is a fantasy boudoir with tons of red and golden draping covering the brick vaults. Red lamps and a red carpet perfects the impression. It feels very welcoming and cozy, and combined with good service and excellent food, it’s well worth to book a table if you’re in the neighborhood.

Seabass á la Brasserie Le Rouge. Photo: Ewa Beit

Butter tossed fresh vegetables served as a side dish to the sea bass. Photo: Ewa Beit

I enjoyed a perfectly cooked sea bass with melted butter and fresh spring veggies for dinner last night.

For afters I chose the pot au creme, a delicious mini dessert, layers of chocolate mousse, cherries and lightly whipped cream served in a small glass. Very yummy!

When dinner is through, there are also two bars on the premises, one in the next vault and one upstairs, Le Bar Rouge which also offers appetizers and bar foods.

In summer it’s really nice to enjoy curbside “wining and dining” after strolling around in these atmospheric surroundings of the medieval old part of Stockholm. Quite a few of the houses here dates back to the 13th century.

After a stroll in Old Town, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio of Le Bar Rouge. Photo: Courtesy of the F12 Group

Fun for football lovers at Arlanda Airport

15 Apr

A new “daycare centerhas opened at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. With snacks, sausages and probably the best beer in the world, all traveling soccer (football) lovers will feel blessed and possibly proned to miss their flights when they discover the all new Carlsberg Euro Lounge. The lounge is part of the company’s sponsorship of the UEFA 2012 Championships, which will be held in June in Poland and the Ukraine.

Carlsberg Euro Lounge was inaugurated 11 April and opened 12 April for the public. Pictured are (left) Mark Jensen, MD Carlsberg Sweden and (right) Lars Edengréen, MD SSP, The FoodTravel Experts, Sweden. Photo: © Cision

Carlsbergs Euro Lounge is located in gate area 1–10, past the security check, in Arlanda Airport’s Terminal 5. The spectacular bar is a dream come true for all “soccer-o-holics” – with features like a poison green artificial turf, foosball game and four giant 70″ TV screens, that will air all games live and also highlights from previous tournaments as well.

Savoury Swedish Seafood Tapas

15 Apr

Lisa Elmqvist's seafood restaurant in Östermalmshallen, which was built in 1888. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

The wind of change has also swept into Stockholm’s famous late 19th century market hall, Östermalmshallen. It is the legendary family run seafood restaurant Lisa Elmqvist, that a few weeks ago launched a new concept – Friday after work seafood tapas.

The Swedish style tapas are  available every Friday between 4 and 7 PM (last order at 6.30). The elegant and savoury delicacies are presented on spoons and slate platters by cold cut chefs Malin and Maja.

Swedish seafood tapas at Lisa Elmqvist in the market hall. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

I bumped into “Mr. Champagne”

1 Apr

Together with Richard Juhlin, the man with an almost "photographic sense of memory" of scents, aromas and flavors, thus the world's leading expert on Champagne.
Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

Fancy shopping mall Sturegallerian in Stockholm is the new location of acclaimed “oracle” Richard Juhlin’s Champagne Club. The escalators from the bustling Food Court downstairs will take you up to his members only bubbly heaven. I bumped into Richard yesterday and he revealed to me that he’s currently working on his next book, which will contain 8 000 champagnes! It will be the most comprehensive guide to the exclusive bubbles ever published and a new coffee table bible, for sure.

Krug Champagne Bar premieres in Stockholm

30 Mar

Together with Trade & Business Development Manager Romain Cans, at the opening of the Krug champagne bar in Stockholm. Photo: Tibor Bárány © TIBORFOTO.com

“Krug to me is something more than a champagne. It is a statement of artistry, tradition, craftsmanship and moments of  maximum pleasure.”

Those words describing the magic Krug bubbles come from the lips of none other than world re-knowned Swedish champagne expert Richard Juhlin. Now this highly acclaimed champagne is finally available in Sweden, in the very first Krug Champagne Bar in Scandinavia, situated in Restaurant Pontus in Stockholm. At a press launch the other day, Mr. Romain Cans of Krug was present, together with Pontus’ owner Pontus Frithioff, who also took the opportunity to introduce Pontus’ new Raw Food Bar, which opens April 10 (more about it in a later post).

The Champagne House of Krug was founded in 1843 by German Johann-Joseph Krug. He had then worked nine years for the house Jacquesson, but was driven by producing a champagne which, whatever vintage, always held the same high quality. Today, the Krug champagne is one of the brands in the LVHM Group.