Dining at Fäviken - Sweden
Step into winter wonderland, into the wild, turn back time and stop when you get to the Middle Ages (you'll get my drift a little later on), oh, and head to Northern Sweden of course. It's only then that you will reach the quiet, the remote, and the utterly enchanting 24,000-acre hunting estate (near Järpen) where Swedish chef, Magnus Nilsson, has created the 'world's 25th best restaurant' *according to www.theworlds50best.com (2015) and www.eater.com (2015).
Scott and I first discovered the world of Fäviken whilst flicking through Netflix one evening last summer. We came across an American series called 'Chef's Table,' which features documentaries following the creative processes and lives of six high profile, world renowned chefs. So, our journey to Fäviken began...
As I write this, sat on my silver Swiss Ball, typing away at my desk at home (far, far away from the serene, stark, bitterly cold snowscape of Järpen), I can't quite believe that Scott and I were dining at Fäviken just seven nights ago! It was the most incredible, memorable, fairy-tale of an experience we will treasure forever, and it truly felt like we were taking part in some sort of play! Jämtland Folk music quietly filled the venue; an unusual touch which I've never experienced before; it set the scene straight away. The staff, dressed immaculately in chef's whites and smart, matching black boots, seemed to dance around us, creating theatre and excitement. It reminded me of a Shakespearean play!
From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, everything runs like clockwork; so precise, so perfect, so seemingly effortless, taking gastronomy to dizzying new heights! Everything you consume has been locally sourced, pickled, just-foraged and freshly prepared. Check out the snowcapped Root Cellar a little further down this post, this is where Magnus and his team store and preserve ingredients which are harvested during the more fertile months at Fäviken. The flavours, food and drinks combinations, colours, scents, visual creativity and craftsmanship, plus the backdrop to where you dine, are all unusual, exciting, authentic, artistic and unforgettable. You truly have to experience Fäviken for yourselves; it is like no other dining experience I have ever encountered before! Scott and I have dined at Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK and further afield too, we have enjoyed delicious meals and fantastic, attentive service, but, so far, nothing has been as remarkable and memorable as an evening spent at Fäviken!
I documented our evening at Fäviken step by step with photographs of each dish we consumed. These images are presented below in order of when they were served up. My aim is to give you an insight into how the evening played out. At the end of our stay, (we booked to stay the night at Fäviken too, I'll be writing a separate blog about that soon) we were given a menu of each dish we tried the evening before. The title of each course has been written above each image - there were 29 dishes in total, so be prepared for lots of scrolling!!! I am not going to clutter the photos below with text as I don't want to interrupt the pace, as much like the meal itself, the dishes were orchestrated to arrive swiftly, one after the other.
Our evening began at 7:30pm (prompt) in the bar, and the first 7 dishes arrived at our table with about 90 seconds to 2 minutes between each course - this meant having my camera at the ready! In order to set the scene, please press 'play' on this Spotify link as you read my post; the music you will hear is very similar to the Folk music we listened to throughout the evening. So, here we go, welcome to an evening at Fäviken...
Linseed and vinegar crisps, mussel dip
Wholegrain wheat cracker with carrot salad and tasty paste
Broth of smoked and dried reindeer, very fresh curds and crowberries
Wild trout roe served in a crust of dried pig's blood
Pig's head, dipped in sourdough and deep-fried, gooseberry, tarragon salt
Bird's liver custard, rowanberries, malted cabbage and black garlic
Slices of cured pork
I will just add here that after our delicious starters, we were taken upstairs to The Dining Room where a table was waiting for us... The next 15 dishes were served to us there...
Scallop "i skalet ur elden" cooked over burning juniper branches
King crab and almost burnt cream
Lamb tongue according to Cajsa Warg, salted beetroot
Seared cod brushed very lightly with honey, brown berries
Sourdough pancake, seaweed, beef butter
Lupin curd gratin
A small egg coated in ash, sauce made from dried trout and pickled marigold
Steamed pointed cabbage, Finnish fish eggs and cream
Pork chop with fermented, roasted and very finely ground lupin
Set broth, singed Brussel sprouts and toasted oats
Raw jerusalem artichoke, dark roasted cereals
Silage ice cream
Brown cheese pie and gompa
That's the gompa!
At this stage, we were asked to take our seats downstairs to enjoy the last of The Tasting Menu where we began the evening in the bar...
Bone marrow pudding, frozen milk
Pickled semi-dried root vegetables
This is Matilda, she took care of rustling up a delicious home-brewed locally foraged tea for us...
A wooden box filled with tar pastilles, meadowsweet candy, dried rowanberries, dried arctic angelica, sunflower seed nougat, dried black currants
This is The Root Cellar I mentioned earlier...
Getting there: We flew from London Gatwick to Trondheim Airport and onwards to Åre by car which we hired for the duration of our holiday. The journey from Åre to Fäviken took ~45mins. We took it easy as the roads were icy and it was our first time driving in snowy conditions.
Costings: The dinner menu costs *SEK 2,200* (~£180) per person and is payable upon reservation. This does not include beverages; guests can choose and pay for drinks during their meal. Fäviken will provide a wine pairing for an additional *SEK 1,750* (~£145). *Prices correct as of our meal on 29th January 2016*.