Hopefully my absence on the blogosphere has been duly noted over the past week. Lucky me, I've been off on a whirlwind adventure through Sweden and Denmark. Okay, so I only actually visited a few places, but it was wonderful nevertheless.
When I travel, I always look for local specialties, whether it's a local brewery or a special dish only found in that region. This can backfire sometimes, like when John and I went to Costa Rica and realized that the comida typica (the typical plate) was the exact same thing every single time, no matter where we tried it.
Happily, this did not occur in Sweden or Denmark. The problem we ran into was one typical of Americans traveling in Europe: the bad exchange rate. Pictured below, I am eating a hot dog for lunch so that we could justify eating a nice dinner. It may not be the most flattering picture of me ever, but I have to say that their ristet hot dogs (roasted hot dogs) with all the fixings (ketchup, Danish relish--mayo and relish mixed together, spicy mustard, fried onions, fresh onions, and a lot of pickles) were quite tasty.
All kidding aside, the Swedish and Danish kroner exchange rate did not exactly cause us to go destitute, and we did manage to try some really great local specialties while we were there. I don't usually crave chocolate the way most people do, but I couldn't resist trying an assortment of chocolates from a small shop in Goteborg (also known as Gothenburg), Sweden. My assortment included a chocolate pistachio, chocolate with more chocolate, and white chocolate with a raspberry filling. My favorite was the white chocolate. Here are my chocolates pictured next to another vice: beer. This brew is called Avenyn Ale and is a local brew made just outside of Goteborg. It was deliciously girlie with an orange flavor accenting the amber ale.
Given the proximity to the sea, I was not surprised that much of the local fare focused on fish. We ate fish at many different restaurants, and it was even part of the breakfast buffet at our hotel in Sweden. I enjoyed a breakfast of smoked fish and pickled herring on my first day there. This grossed out John, who went for the bacon and homemade bread. Of course, he was still recovering from his mistake of ordering beef tar tar the previous evening. Never again will we make the mistake of ordering anything tar tar.
That's right: raw. In case that wasn't enough of a shock to my poor husband, the dish also came with a raw egg. John bravely ate a few bites and then decided that ordering tar tar was a great diet plan that he may endorse back here in the States.
Alright, so let's get back to the fish. One specialty I was told to try while I was in Scandinavia was the smorbrod-- or sandwiches. These enormous open faced sandwiches come with just about anything you can imagine. There were forty options at our restaurant of choice. John tried one with homemade meatballs and potato salad. Mine was called the "shooting star" and came with one piece of fried cod, one piece of roasted cod, an enormous pile of small salty shrimp, caviar, asparagus, mayonnaise, and cucumber slices. It did not resemble any sandwich I had ever eaten, and was surprisingly delicious.
Speaking of asparagus, it was everywhere! At the markets I stopped into they were selling green and white varieties from Germany. At every restaurant we visited, asparagus came with the meal. During one particularly good meal, I was delighted to find an asparagus puree on the side. New potatoes were also abundant at nearly every meal, a sign that most restaurants were indeed serving dishes and produce that was in-season.
That's all for my travel and food report from Scandinavia. You can look forward to another travel dis(h)patch this summer when I visit another northern land: my hometown of Mackinaw City, Michigan.