Trendspotting: Nordic Food and Style

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.


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.

Cloudberry: Tart, amber-colored berry that makes excellent jam.

Grilled Salmon Gravlax

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.

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Nordic Food: Scandinavian Candy Shops

Scandinavian Candy Shops

© Ray Hom

Sockerbit, New York City

"Sugar cube" in Swedish, this shop has a massive selection that includes salty-sweet licorice logs, powerful striped mints and chewy rum-raisin fudge.

The Candy Store, San Francisco

This shop recently started importing hard-to-find Nordic candies, like super-sour gummy skulls and red Swedish monkeys that are firmer than the famed Swedish fish.

Amy’s Candy Bar, Chicago

Amy's has fantastic Finnish licorice (both traditional and strawberry-flavored), as well as caramel-filled chocolate horses from Sweden.

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Nordic Food: Scandinavian Chefs

Post-Noma, the fooderati are searching for Scandinavia's next breakout chefs. Four Nordic stars to watch:

Björn Frantzén

Stockholm, Sweden

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.

Daniel Berlin

© David Cenzer/

Daniel Berlin

Skane-Tranas, Sweden

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.

Geir Skeie

Courtesy of Brygga 11, Geir Skeie

Geir Skeie

Sandefjord, Norway

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.

Cabbage with Parsley Cream

© Ray Hom

Claus Henriksen

Horve, Denmark

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.

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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.

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Nordic Food: Luxury Lodging Up in the Leaves

Sweden’s Treehotel

© Peter Lundstrom, wdo

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;

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Nordic Food: Scandinavian Spirits

Scandinavian Spirits

© Ray Hom

New Nordic Spirits

Krogstad Floral, barrel-aged aquavit. $35;

Karlsson's 2009 Vodka Made from baby potatoes. $75;

Kanon Organic Vodka Swedish and organic, for eco-martinis. $26;

Scandinavian Beer

© Ray Hom

Best Nordic Beers

Nogne o Sunturnbrew Smoky, punchy potent brew.

Mikkeller's Cascade Single-hop IPA.

Haand Bryggeriet Haandbic Sweet-tart lingonberry lambic.

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