En route to Malmö, we passed by Sofiero, the former summerhouse of two Swedish kings. When King Gustaf Adolf died in 1973, he donated the estate to the city of Helsingborg so that today we commoners can picnic and play on the same playgrounds as the royals from a bygone era. Today the castle is known mostly for its gardens, voted some of the best in Europe, and early spring is the best time to see it, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Since it wasn't picnic weather, we ate under the glass veranda in the café behind their award-winning restaurant where, on a clear day, you can see Denmark. As we finished eating our rhubarb crumble, a woman at the table next to us stood up and said something in Swedish and pointed out the window. As we turned to look, the fog over the strait parted to reveal the turrets and towers of Kronborg in Helsingør - otherwise known as Hamlet's castle.
On the outskirts of Malmö there is a place whose name was mentioned reverently throughout our travels, a place called Ängavallen. Rolf Axel Nordström bought the farmstead in 1971 when it was not much more than a chicken coop. At the time he was student of animal husbandry at the nearby university, who knew there must be an alternative to the industrialized farming being taught at the time.
Today this organic farm is not quite self-sustaining-wine and ingredients like fish and olive oil are made or caught elsewhere-but they come extremely close. Nothing made at Ängavallen is sold anywhere but on the farm. Their products are either used in the meals eaten at their restaurant or sold at the farm store, which, when it opened in 1983, made Ängavallen the first farm to sell directly to consumers. We were enticed by a variety of mustards, pickles, cheeses, breads, and of course their meats, sausages, and pâtés.
With the combined help of his wife, Birgitta, and their sons, Niclas and Mathias, Rolf Axel's farm now contains a restaurant, hotel, dairy, mill and more. Since we were visiting on a Sunday, the cost of brunch also got us a tour of the farm: we pet the animals and saw the flourmill, cheese-making area, and pretty much everything else in between.
Dinner at Ängavallen was especially delicious, as I could almost taste the effort of their labors in everything from sourdough breads and homemade butter to blood pudding with bacon, apple gelée, apple purée, and lingonberries three ways. And the wine list is, like everything at Ängavallen, entirely organic, right down to the Duval Leroy Champagne, with which we toasted the Nordström family.
Photo (3) credit: Ängavallen
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251 89 Helsingborg
tel: +46 (0)42-10 25 00
235 91 Vellinge
tel: +46 (0)40-42 32 50
The evening's three-course menu here is a value at 480 SEK.
Tourism in Skåne
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