There's no better way to land in a foreign city than with a private chauffeur ready to escort you to your new car. I know because I recently purchased a Volvo through the Volvo Overseas Delivery program-an amazing service through which the Sweden-based Volvo Company gives you two tickets to Europe and a personal introduction to your car just after it rolls off the factory floor. I flew into Gothenburg, where I was met and brought to their headquarters, given a tour of their pristine factory, and served a lunch of Swedish meatballs. Then comes the best part, of course: driving away with it, ready to explore the Swedish countryside.
After checking in at our hotel, my friend and I left the car for the day and set off on foot to explore this former walled city, this gateway to Scandinavia, where even the historic marketplace was built in a boatyard. Although much of the Saluhall is currently closed for renovations, we peeked in and sampled the city's namesake sea salt truffle at Flickorna Kanold's chocolate shop.
Along the streets of old Gothenburg, we found cafés like Husaren, with its giant cinnamon buns, and a stop in the Curry House with its jars of spices was a fun diversion. But it's along Magasinsgatan, with its chic shops like Artilleriet, Grandpa, and Acne that I could have spent an entire a day. Stop for coffee at de Matteo like I did and you might not leave. Here the sourdough comes in different flavors like lemon and parsley-all of which you can sample-and the smell of roasting coffee works patrons into such a frenzy that once a month de Matteo turns into lunchtime disco!
To blend in and feel like locals, we decided to walk through the more residential district of Linné. At Linnégatans Ostaffär we tasted some of Sweden's artisan cheeses, like "Anno 1225" an organic cheese with a sour buttermilk flavor. Anno 1225 is made in baskets at Almnäs Bruk in nearby Vättern and modeled after a recipe from the Middle Ages. The sourdough trend is so big in Sweden right now that there are even hotels where they will feed your starter for you while you're out of town. At Alvar & Ivar, around the corner from Linnégatans Ostaffär, we watched the lovely blue-striped bakers making sourdough loaves almost too beautiful to eat.
After a full day of wandering, we brought our first day to an end under the careful attention of the team at Restaurang Fond. A rich and nuanced cup of foam-topped shellfish bisque teased Chef Stefan Karlsson's menu, based on ingredients plucked from Sweden's coastal waters and forests: delicately smoked salmon with raw shrimp caught the day before; cod in oyster sauce with salsify; venison served with beet cream and a hash made of typically Swedish ingredients like black currants and funnel mushrooms. A dessert of apple and bay leaf gelato on a bed of deep-fried pancake droplets was the perfect grand finale of local flavors. Indeed, this meal was the perfect "Welcome to Sweden!"
Photo (3) credit: Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se
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Södra Larmgatan 14 & Stora Saluhallen 132
tel: +46 (0)31 13 05 61
tel: +46 (0)31 775 04 60
(Closed Sundays and Mondays)
Alvar & Ivar
tel: +46 (0) 31 13 03 13
(Closed Sundays and Mondays)
tel: +46 (0)31 81 20 32
West Sweden Tourist Board
For more information on traveling to West Sweden.
Volvo Overseas Delivery
For more information Volvo Overseas Delivery.
tel: (800) 631 1667