Tag Archives: Stockholm

Crazy about ABBA’s costumes?

11 Jul

Owe Sandström is the world famous designer who created all the magnificent costumes worn by Swedish super group ABBA. On Tuesday 17 July, Owe will be at Kronberg’s Ateljé in Skansen open air museum – where ABBA’s last studio album cover Visitors was shot in 1981. He will talk about how the costumes were made and he will also bring along some unique ABBA memorabilia. Kronberg’s Atelje is open 11 AM-4 PM.

Later in the evening Owe Sandström and The Original ABBA band will take part in the TV show Allsång (Sing-A-Long), broadcast live from the Solliden stage at Skansen.

Besides being ABBA’s costume designer, Owe Sandström directs Stockholm International Horse Show, works as a safari guide in Kenya and is the founder of Sweden’s largest animal care education center.

Owe Sandström with Agnetha Fältskog and her daughter Linda Ulvaeus. Photo: Tibor Bárany, TIBORFOTO.com


Sing-a-Long at Skansen, Stockholm

18 Jun

The host of popular TV show Allsång på Skansen (Sing-a-Long at Skansen) Måns Zelmerlöw, is is carried by his young supporters in the audience. Photo: Lars-Eric Örthlund

Tuesday 26 June marks the beginning of the highlight of Swedish summer – the Sing-a-Long at Skansen (in Swedish Allsång på Skansen). This televised event is broadcast live between 8 and 9 PM every Tuesday evening until 14 August. So if you want to sing your heart out in the company of others, this is the place to be. The host of the show is the 26-year-old multi-talented Måns Zelmerlöw, former Idol, Dancing with the Stars and actor/dancer in the musical Grease.

The event has in increased in popularity over the years – the first sing-a-long was back 1979 – especially among the youth, and queues form early in the morning in order to get the best seats, although Skansen doesn’t open until 10 AM. The record audience is 36 000, but usually it’s about 20 000 people trying to get a peak at their favorite artist and sing-a-long. Both Swedish and international starts perform. On Tuesday, 10 July, Eurovision Song Contest winner 2012 Loreen will enter the stage.

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.

Love is in the air 9 June – drop in wedding service in Stockholm

21 May

In 2011 the first couple to married started queuing at 6 AM! Photo: Courtesy of Skansen

All of Skansen open air museum will turn into a celebration of love come 9 June. Wedding bells will chime for all wannabe wedding couples. It’s the third annual drop-in wedding ceremony arranged at the famous open air museum in Stockholm. So if you want to tie the knot in Stockholm, be sure to come early. Last year the first couple queued up outside the gates at 6 AM to be the first couple wed.

Everything needed for a successful day will be available: photographers, florists, champagne bar, make-up artists and music. The restaurants offer wedding menus, picnic baskets, pastries and cakes and the musicians will play wedding marches and waltzes at the outdoor dance hall. At the glassworks the happy couples may eternalize their breaths inside of a glass heart.

And it’s a new record! A whooping 436 couples were happily united at Skansen. Last year 252 couples were married, in 2010 the number was 357.

The Museum of Photography in Stockholm open for early birds all summer

9 May

Alfred Hitchcock in Los Angeles 1973. © watson

It’s not common practice for a museum to cater to the earlybirds. But that will all change come 1 jun. For anyone interested in both rising early AND the art of photography, the Museum of Photography in Stockholm will open at 7 AM and close at 9 PM at the earliest seven days a week until 31 August. The only day the museum is closed is Midsummer’s Eve, 22 June.

This summer’s exhibitions include Swedish author, playwright and artist August Strindberg, American photographer Sally Mann and photographies telling the story of the Olympic Games. The Museum of Photography also offers a variety of activities such as classes in photography, after work, music et.c. And 6 June, Sweden’s national day, the brig Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) will anchor outside of the museum. Visitors are welcome aboard the brig and to go for a short sailing trip. Make sure to book in advance.

One of Sweden’s best chefs, a former member of the Swedish Culinary Team, Paul Svensson, runs the museum’s restaurant and coffee shop and invites you to breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, the traditional Swedish Fika (fika is both a verb and noun that roughly means “to drink coffee”). For more info about the museum click here.

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