Sormland: Discovering a food and wine paradise

Posted on: 30 October 2014 by Diane Priestley

Diane Priestley continues her tour of the culinary rich Sormland region of Sweden

Kung Blacke restaurantKung Blacke restaurant sits on a shimmering lake surrounded by bountiful farmlands, which provide fresh daily produce for the table while the idyllic Blaxsta vineyards and superb winery produce award-winning wines and guests can stay at the exclusive Blaxsta hotel!

This impressive estate is every chef’s dream. It is, in fact, the dream come true and creation of master chef and wine-maker extraordinaire, Goran Amnegard who has transformed the historic buildings over many years into Sweden’s first winery and vineyard.

We are delighted to have Goran, dressed in his fancy wine print pants and chef’s coat, as our flamboyant and charismatic host. He has us enthralled enthusing eloquently about his unique method of wine-growing in Sweden.

Huddled in the vineyard at sunset, Goran explains that Swedish wine rivals French wine due to the combination of long hours of daylight over summer and mineral-rich soil. Blaxstra winery produces ‘icewine’ from grapes harvested in December when the temperature is minus seven degrees.

He also sheds light on why some ‘industrial wines’ result in thumping headaches and harrowing hangovers. Many cheap wines are concocted in a matter of minutes and loaded with sulphur and other additives. In contrast, Goran allows the pure grapes to ferment naturally over many months in oak, chestnut or cherry barriques in his 16th century barn to produce complex layers of exquisite flavours.

We were treated to Goran’s award-winning Vidal sweet dessert wine along with silk-smooth Merlot and sensational Chardonnay to accompany the tantalising four-course meal of fresh, unique delights I have never eaten before!

For starters, our palates were teased with creamy truffle mousse made from the delicacies sourced from nearby forests followed by an exquisite array of scrumptious seasonal vegetables, just some of the 700 varieties that grow in the surrounding lavish vegetable gardens.

The meat eaters dine on succulent venison while the vegetarians savour moose milk pie! I didn’t know it was possible to milk a moose however Goran explains that a lady farmer from north of the region runs a herd of the mighty beasts and supplies him fresh creamy moose milk and cheese!

Goran Amnegard of Blaxsta vineyard

Chef Goran joins us to regale us with fascinating tales of his international career from Italy to Canada to the heartland of Sweden and if I was a talent spotter I would say this entertaining character with his twinkling blue eyes and charming wit could be the next famous Celebrity Chef! Move over Jamie, Gordon and Gino!

I heartily recommend that chefs, gourmets and wine connoisseurs from every corner of the globe make a trip to Sweden to see this splendid culinary heaven and experience the Goran magic!

The trip could have ended there and I would have floated home euphoric however after a snuggly night in the castle and another royal breakfast, we hit the road for something completely different.

boat ride to Savo

Our lovely Asa had organised a boat ride to the island of Savo for a hike through the picturesque Somerlandsleden Trail. The hike was invigorating but not overly strenuous taking in the pristine forest and views across the steely bay. We capped off our exertions with a lunch of creamy carrot soup and freshly baked focaccia prepared by the charming couple whom manage the immaculate cottages on the island where Swedish families and international visitors spend their tranquil summer holidays.

Our handsome boatman zooms us giggling girls across the vast expanse of the Baltic Sea to stay at relaxing Trosa Stadshotell and Spa at the picture postcard harbour town of Trosa. Our guide Elisabeth is excited to lead us to Marsipangarden, her favourite café bursting with lavish cakes and chocolates for a spot of Swedish Fika. I choose the chocolate nougat slice while coveting the blackberry cheesecake! After such indulgence, it seems only right to try out the sauna and warm pools in the soothing spa. The sumptuous turn on a gourmet meal of seasonal delicacies and fine wine before a heavenly night’s sleep.

Sunday, the final day of our magical tour, we reluctantly depart the pretty, tranquil town but there are more delights in store! Sven-Gunnar guides our little bus into the banks of Lake Malaren in Mariefred for an awe-inspiring visit to the Gripsholm Castle, built in 1537, to view the stunning rooms and thousands of intriguing portraits of the Swedish royal characters going back centuries. Elisabeth cleverly brings to life every portrait with stories about the eccentric personalities and politics. British history buffs would relish a tour of this fascinating castle brimming with priceless artworks.

Gripsholm castle

There is just one culinary challenge left. A tough assignment but someone had to do it! So we all bravely volunteer to visit the Cake Castle! I kid you not. Such a fairytale place really does exist. In fact 250,000 visitors from around the world every year flock to experience the sweet delights of Taxinge Slott. After a filling lunch we are faced with the agonising dilemma of choosing from a lavish array of luscious cakes and slices from Northern Europe’s largest cake buffet!

Taxinge Slott cake house

Our charming hostess shows us around the beautiful castle, which is open for weddings and conferences and lazy Sunday afternoons where, just an hour south of Stockholm, visitors can taste the best cakes in the world!

Our beguiling adventure in Sweden was full of warm hospitality, luxurious accommodation, culinary pleasures, colourful history, beautiful countryside and almost all the unexpected twists and turns of our 100-year-old hero who climbed out the window. When will you escape to Sweden and be pleasantly surprised?

 

You can read the first part of Diane's travelogue Sublime Sweden is full of surprises.

 

     
 

Sörmland factbox

 
     
 

Getting there

 
 

British Airways, SAS and Norwegian all operate flights from London to Stockholm Arlanda. SAS also operates flights from Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh to Arlanda.

In addition, Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Stockholm Skavsta in the heart of Sörmland.

 
     
 

Hotels

 
     
 

Trosa Stadshotell & Spa

 
 

A double room with breakfast costs from SEK 1,990 per night

Spa entry costs SEK 275 per person

www.trosastadshotell.se / +46 156 170 70

 
     
 

Meals

 
     
 

Blaxta Vineyard

 
 

A four course tasting menu with wines costs SEK 1090

www.blaxstawine.se/en/ / +46 70 483 46 90

 
     
 

Marsipangården (Trosa)

 
 

http://kutterkonfekt.se/marsipangarden-marsipan-choklad-marsipankonfekt-handgjorda-marsipanfigurer-praliner-cafe-butik-trosa.shtml  / +46 156139 08

 
     
 

Taxinge Slott – the “Cake castle” 

 
 

www.taxingeslott.se/english/ / +46-159-701 14

 
     
 

Attractions

 
     
 

Sörmlandsleden trail

 
     
 

For more information on the walking trail, see www.sormlandsleden.se

This is the Sävö island section:

www.sormlandsleden.se/vandring/etappbeskrivningar-och-kartor/56-trosa-tullgarns-slott.aspx

 
     
 

 

Trosa Shipping Company

 
 

Boat tour around the Trosa archipelago starts from SEK 250 per person

www.trosarederi.se

 
     
 

Gripsholm Castle

 
 

Adult entrance to the castle costs SEK 120, children aged 17 and under are free. See here for information on opening times and guided tours.

http://www.kungahuset.se/royalcourt/royalpalaces/gripsholmcastle.4.396160511584257f218000856.html

 
     

 

More information

Visit www.visitsormland.com,  www.visitsweden.com or www.visitstockholm.com (Visit Sörmland website is currently only in Swedish but the UK version is launching in November). 

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