Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to the Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson, as he is now on his book-tour for his book Fäviken, and this was his first stop in North America, and also the only stop in Canada.
Magnus has many times been named the rising star of Nordic Cooking. (Yes he is still under 30!) His place Fäviken Magasinet has only 16 seats and is located in the middle of Sweden, close to the ski-resort Åre, but still 650 km from Stockholm!
I had the fortune to visit Fäviken last summer (the pics here are from that visit). It was one of the most exciting dinners I have ever had! The way they cook and work with the resources close to them and taking care of everything is amazing. Who thought I would ever eat lichens and moss. Yes, lichens and moss from the woods!
These lichen and moss bites were served as snacks to our pre-dinner drink! And yes they were crispy and salty like other drink snacks! If you follow my blog you know that I love small nibbles and snacks but I haven’t tried these at home!!!
One of my favorites that night was the scallops that were cooked in their own juice over burning juniper branches. And when they were served, there were a few embers in the juniper branches (recipe can be found in M Nilsson Fäviken, p 130-133).
Their concept is amazing and their philosophy to try to make the most out of their surroundings. Magnus and his team hunt, gather, and fish. They grow, store, dry, preserve, pickle all their own vegetables and herbs. They buy fish and shellfish from local fishermen. They buy meat from local farmers and he prefers retired milk cows. We were also served a raw cow heart with bone marrow (recipe can be found in M Nilsson Fäviken page 78-79).
On the questions why he choose locally sourced resources his answer is easy: “Quality!” When you can talk to the farmer, hunter, and fisher or do it yourself you get the quality you want, is his longer answer!
They have a large vegetable garden where they grow all their vegetables that they use. The garden enables them to pick their veggies when they are at their best. And when they need them. And I don’t think it is possible to get a fresher garlic in a restaurant than one that was in the ground just 30 minutes before it was served!
We stayed over the night, as majority of their guest, as it’s part of their concept. And then the next morning we were served a lovely breakfast!
Magnus said yesterday: “For me cooking should be pleasure and happiness!”
I couldn’t agree more! His book is an inspiration for anyone who likes food. It includes some recipes but as many of us do not have last years fall leaves laying around I would say buy and read the book for amazing stories about vegetables, meat, fish, dairy and of course Sweden culture.
Thanks to the Cookbook store in Toronto for organizing this lovely event!
Remember Life is too short to not eat and drink well!