After years of worshipping the Mediterranean, the food world is looking to Scandinavia and discovering everything from salted candies to micro-locavorism. Here, the best in new Nordic food and design, plus a cheat sheet to glögg and skyr.
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Nordic Food Lexicon
Kjottkaker (right):Norwegian meatballs are spiced with nutmeg. In Scandilicious, her new cookook, London-based Signe Johansen shares her unusual cocoa-sauced recipe.
Glögg:Aquavit-spiked wine punch served warm with raisins.
Jarlsberg:Mild, nutty-tasting cow-milk cheese from Norway.
Grilled Salmon Gravlax
Gravlax:Salmon dry-cured in a mix of salt, sugar and herbs. Left: Aquavit-cured and grilled salmon is a clever take on gravlax.
Smorgasbord:Buffet of cold fish, cold sliced roasts and warm meats like ham.
Skyr:Super-thick Icelandic yogurt made from skim cow milk.
Gorgeous housewares from new Nordic design shops, including Huset in L.A. and Marimekko’s Manhattan flagship.
Nordic Food: Scandinavian Candy Shops
Amy’s Candy Bar, Chicago
Nordic Food: Scandinavian Chefs
Post-Noma, the fooderati are searching for Scandinavia’s next breakout chefs. Four Nordic stars to watch:
Signature Dish: Carrot Macarons filled with Sweet Corn
Frantzén and partner Daniel Lindeberg improvise each day’s menu at their eponymous Michelin two-starred restaurant, Frantzén-Lindeberg.
Signature Dish: Parsley Root Salad
The chef serves elevated Swedish country food at Krog i Skane Tranas, his 24-seat spot in a rural village.
Signature Dish: Smoked-Fish Board
Located on a fjord, the seafood-focused Brygga 11 is run by Skeie, who won the Bocuse d’Or global cooking contest in 2009.
© Ray Hom
Signature Dish: Cabbage Heads with Parsley Cream (left)
Inside an early-18th-century castle, Dragsholm Slot features high-end New Nordic food from this Noma alum.
Nordic Food: Ikea is Forever
Humorist Joel Stein ponders our Scandi-centric moment, as we eat skyr, watch Nordic chefs and worship prefab furniture.
When money is flowing and times are like a Jimmy Buffett song, we tend to think of heading south. To less stressful places with charmingly lax laws, fruity cocktails and warm azure water lapping upon us. These are cocky thoughts. They are 2006 thoughts. In 2011, we find ourselves thinking of all things Nordic. Of mittens and mutton. Of stylish sturdiness.
So we are hunkering down, longing to eat at places like Copenhagen’s Noma—easily the most influential restaurant in the world, converting chefs into micro-localists, foraging lichen in their basement and curing musk ox. Platters of toro sashimi might not be around in 10 years, but you can be sure there will be lichen and musk ox after the apes take over.
Scandinavia is about resilience, hardiness, a cool edginess. It all makes sense right now; we want to simplify. To drink clear, hard liquors (aquavit) and listen to spare pop songs (Lykke Li). We trust these things in times of trouble. Because no matter how low the NASDAQ falls, you can always buy things at Ikea. And when they break, you can buy more.
Joel Stein’s book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity, comes out in May.
Nordic Food: Luxury Lodging Up in the Leaves
Suspended in the tree canopy, the five rooms of rural Sweden’s Treehotel are designed to look like everything from a delicate bird’s nest to a floating modernist cube (above). Even the sauna and hot tub are up at leaf level. Doubles from $600; treehotel.se.
Nordic Food: Scandinavian Spirits
New Nordic Spirits
Krogstad Floral, barrel-aged aquavit. $35; krogstadaquavit.com.
Karlsson’s 2009 Vodka Made from baby potatoes. $75; karlssonsvodka.com.
Kanon Organic Vodka Swedish and organic, for eco-martinis. $26; kanonvodka.com.
Best Nordic Beers
Video: Global Food