It was an honour to be invited to the Swedish Residence for a Swedish luncheon hosted by the Swedish Embassy. I know I know, three “Swedish” in one sentence? I can’t help it :p
Canapés were served as we mingled and waited for the rest of the guests. So simple yet elegant, I like the marinated shrimps in cocktail sauce on toast rounds best!
Our host, Ambassador Ingemar Dolfe, gave a welcome speech and short introduction to Sweden.
Then, we headed to the state-of-the-art kitchen where Executive Chef Jakob Esko and his team from Capella Singapore were putting the finishing touches on our appetisers.
Ok, it’s time for lunch!
We were seated at a long and formal dining table.
From the seating plan to each individual table setting, no detail was overlooked.
Beautiful chinaware used by the Swedish royalty. I’m not kidding you, these are the real McCoy!
Our first course: Swedish seafood cocktail, tarragon infused carrot foam, frozen sour cream, white asparagus and cucumber.
I was really looking forward to this after catching a glimpse of it in the kitchen earlier. Anything with white asparagus I’ll like and this was no exception. The long spears were sweet and juicy, and paired well with the fresh shrimps and mussels. Nothing beats eating seasonally, right?
Do you know that because of long winters, Swedish cuisine used to be lacking in fresh vegetables and fruits? Of course, that’s no longer true! In fact, Swedish food (and the Scandinavian diet) is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. While potatoes still play a dominant role on the dinner table, Swedes today eat a lot of greens and salads! More than Singaporeans, I’ll say.
Second course: Spiced veal loin with morels, young spring vegetable tartlette, sweetbread, potato fondant and red wine sauce.
While everyone else had the veal, I was served a fillet of sea bass with a light cream sauce, fondant potato and morels.
The fish was excellent, very fresh and cooked perfectly with a most crispy skin covering juicy soft meat. Simple food cooked well is the best (and the most challenging)! And that’s how Swedish food is — traditionally simple, nutritious yet no less delicious.
If you take a look at the world map, you will see that Sweden is surrounded by water on almost all sides. So it’s not really a surprise to learn that fish and seafood form a very important part of Swedish cuisine. Salmon, herring, perch, crayfish, eel… I think I’ll fit in well there, haha.
Third and final course: Textures of almond and pear with cloudberries ice cream.
I absolutely love berries of any sort but never have I heard of cloudberries until today! These berries a local delicacy grown wild in northern Sweden, Norway and Finland. They are close relatives to raspberries but are golden when ripe. In Sweden, cloudberries are used as toppings for ice cream, waffles and pancakes etc. Since it’s not easy to get your hands on the real fruit in Singapore, why not try IKEA’s cloudberry jam if you haven’t?
So, back to the dessert. Imagine this: moist and light almond sponge cake, incredibly sweet and soft Nordic pear, and the smooth and creamy cloudberries ice cream. Textures, indeed!
After this interesting and educational tasting session, I can’t wait to visit Sweden!
Special thanks to the Swedish Embassy for the kind invitation, and to the ambassador and his lovely wife for their gracious hospitality!
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