Destination: Stockholm

Destination: Stockholm

Stockholm isn’t just the setting for this year’s suspense series The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which won over 30 million readers worldwide, and the Nobel Prize winners’ banquet hosted on December 10—it’s rising in popularity for gourmets who have a proclivity for good food, chilly ice bars and wine and spirits museums.

For The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fans, opt for a tour offered by the Stockholm City Museum, which stops at several locations featured in the books including Soderhalm Island—the hip, bohemian neighborhood abundant with art galleries, artisan gift shops and wooden cottages. You’ll stop by Lisbeth Salander’s 25-room, 3,800-square foot penthouse apartment in Fiskargatan 9, which she bought after hacking a corrupt financier’s bank account. The 19th-century beer hall, Kvarnen Bar and café, Kaffeebar, that Salander frequents is also on the route. Buy tickets for the English-speaking tour at the museum, which features a recreation of the Millennium offices.

The Swedish city’s gourmet food scene includes six Michelin-star restaurants that all feature creative use of fresh fish from the Baltic and North Seas and Atlantic and Swedish lakes and rivers. They also use game from venison, elk and reindeer, lingonberries, cloudberries and Arctic raspberries, and a variety of fish roe and wild mushrooms—natural delicacies that will astound those who expect herring, smörgåsbord and Swedish meatballs.

Didn’t make the Nobel Prize banquet guest list? You can still enjoy a Nobel-inspired dinner at Stadshuskallaren, which serves dishes from the annual event all year round, with menus dating back to the 1901 banquet. The 2009 menu that is currently featured showcases favorites like truffle-stuffed quail, lobster consommé with shellfish tartare and sea buckthorn sorbet—a berry-like fruit of a shrub found on sandy sea coasts. Groups of eight or more and advance reservations are required. Check out their menu.

At the two-Michelin-starred Matsalen, Chef Matthias Dahlgren, who won Sweden’s 2010 Gastronomy Prize and the 1997 Bocuse d’Or, Europe’s premier culinary competition, offers three and six course tasting menus of globally influenced cuisine. The restaurant—decorated with velvet sofas, lemon-yellow leather chairs and oiled parquet floors—is less pricey but as chic as its one-Michelin-starred sister, Matbaren, located in the Grand Hotel, which overlooks the Royal Palace and harbor.

In Stockholm’s picturesque Gamla Stan, 13th-century yellow ocher and pink houses line the hillside cobblestone streets. There, the two-Michelin-starred Frantzen/Lindeberg is a foodie destination for its boldly experimental Scandinavia and Asia fusion fare. Five-or seven-course dinners feature exquisitely presented small dishes of local ingredients.

Expect international fusion at the sophisticated Esperanto, the one Michelin-starred restaurant. Dishes like redfish with tapioca in ginger and confit of scallop roe, wild duck glazed with charred pears and sourdough granola are on the menu of this Vasastan neighborhood favorite.

In the former Electrolux factory canteen, Lux, which holds one  Michelin star, builds its menu on four tastes—salty, spiced, smoked and sour—plus fruit and berries from its own organic garden. Try the caramel and pepper-fried venison with mushrooms, or the sea buckthorn sorbet with cream of cloudberries and licorice ice cream. For lunch, indulge in the coriander-spiced cod with lemongrass bouillon.

Stockholm’s “coolest” bar, the Absolut Icebar Stockholm in the Nordic Sea Hotel, is built entirely from ice and maintains a temperature of 23°F. Visitors can don a fur-trimmed parka on the 40-minute visit to the bar, where even the cocktail glasses are constructed of ice.

Visit the Historical Museum of Wines & Spirits to learn about the 55 herbs and spices used to flavor vodka and other spirits. The museum tour also features exhibits on the culture and history of wine, a replica of the wine shop where playwright August Strindberg was a frequent customer and a tasting of Swedish beverage like glögg, hot spiced wine.

Published on December 2, 2010