Old castle-like university buildings, cobblestone streets with small shops, parks and botanical gardens – this is Lund, a cosy little town in Southern Sweden. It is my favourite place by far in this region not only for its relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, who are happy to have a chat and give you some advice, but also for quite a few gourmet spots that are not to be missed.
A sweet fusion of cinnamon and cardamom aromas emanating from the mounds of buns, biscotti and cookies piled up on the counter is the first thing you inhale when entering St.Jakobs Stenugnsbageri (St.Jacob’s Stone Oven Bakery). It is worth visiting both for their pastries and for the café, that is somewhat eclectic, with this mysterious feel, which makes you want to stay and have some breakfast or mid-day fika (traditional Swedish coffee break accompanied with a small pastry).
I had been always frowning upon excessive amounts of cardamom until I tried St.Jakob’s cardamon and sugar sprinkled shortbread cookie. It was simply melting in my mouth, with incredible flavour sensation.
The next morning I was lining up for another cookie and the third morning I was ready to get traditional cardamom bun. The bun had a bit too much of cardamom for a person who had just been converted to it, but it was so fresh and moist that it became a gauge of Swedish pastries I can compare the rest of them to.
St.Jacob’s croissants are worth a separate mention. It was the best croissant I had in a long run: soft inside and crunchy outside – just the way it should be. I would have liked some butter and jam to it that sadly were not available, but a cup of good coffee made me forgive it. They also have different kinds of buns and pastries, including one of my favourite – mazarins – traditional Swedish almond tarts, let alone loaves of freshly baked bread to take home with you.
St.Jakobs Stenugnsbageri, Klostergatan 9, Lund, Sweden
Bengtsons Ost cheese shop, located just across the street from St.Jacob’s bakery will pleasantly surprise you with the variety of cheeses and the knowledgeable staff who would happily offer you to sample any cheese you fancy and advise on what wine or beer to choose to complement the particular flavours. Here you can find around 300 kinds of cheese from all around the world including some local Swedish produce.
The cheese that I wanted to try the most was the famous Västerbotten – hard cow’s milk cheese with tiny holes in it. It originates from the northern region of the same name in Sweden and it is produced by the sole Norrmejerier dairy company. The first time when I tried it, it was oddly enough in herring salad. I wanted to have a proper taste of this cheese as it is very popular in Sweden and sometimes the demand is bigger than the supply. Lightly matured Västerbotten is sold in some supermarkets, but for serious cheese lovers Bengtsons Ost offers more matured version of it. Firm granular texture of it is similar to the one of aged parmesan and the flavour reminded me of my previously well-studied cheddar, only with much sharper notes to it.
The other cheese I was offered to sample was Bengtson’s special Landets Godaste and it was an instant “I’ll get some of this”. It had a very mild flavour with natural sweetness of milk, that made me think of it being a perfect cheese for breakfast sandwiches.
I tried some other ones that were more mature, but they were too tart to my linking, so I transitioned towards differently fermented cheese – blue vein goat’s Getädel. There was the third “Yes” here. Two distinct flavours: the tanginess of goat’s milk and the tartness of blue vein were intertwining into this complex harmony. It hinted for some sweetness to soften the flavour. The first thing that crossed my mind was fruity Riesling, but I thought I’d check if my intuition was right. The cheese monger confirmed my hypothesis that Riesling would go well with it and also suggested some alternatives such as Sicilian white wine or white Port. I could totally imagine this cheese pairing well with the latter, but I decided to go for Sicilian wine as a more versatile option to have with other cheeses I picked up and it turned out to be a really good choice.
Bengtsons Ost, Klostergatan 10, Lund, Sweden
Covered market Saluhallen is a good spot to visit not only for the selection of fresh gourmet food, but also for Lund’s famous knake – award-winning sausage, produced by Holmgrens factory.
The maroon coloured crunchy sausage (knak means ‘crunch’, thus, the name) doesn’t taste much, but there is quite a bit of history behind it. Back in 1898 when Niels Holmgren founded the factory and started making knake, they were sold from a cart in the main square of Lund. When the indoor market was built they opened up a proper shop there. In the middle of 20th century knake became a popular snack of construction workers who were building Lund hospital. The demand boosted the scope of production considerably. Holmgrens started supplying the sausages to factories and other large workplaces. The popularity of the sausage was spreading fast among all levels of society, including municipal office workers, professors, lawyers and doctors. The original knake recipe hasn’t changed since the beginning and Holmgrens continue serving their loyal customers up to this day.
Holmgrens, Saluhallen, Lund, Sweden
If you had a coffee at St.Jakob’s bakery along with your pastry, it would have been from Love Coffee roasters. whose coffee shop is located further up the street. They have been roasting coffee in the outskirts of Lund since 2009 and opened their first café recently.
You can choose to have an espresso made either of their peachy Ethiopian Rebel blend (70% Suke Quto and 30% Aramo) or Diplomatic espresso blend (50% Fazenda Itaoca and 50% El Salvador) with the notes of milk chocolate and nuts.
There is a range of coffee beans to buy and seeing a great variety of my favourite origin Ethiopians made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Extremely friendly and chatty baristas can make you filter coffee from any of the beans for you to try on the spot. My pick was their suggested single origin Ethiopian Suke Quto with a very subtle flavour, silky texture and notes of milk chocolate and apricot.
Love Coffee Roasters, Klostergatan 1, Lund, Sweden
Just slightly off Klostergatan you can find quite well hidden chocolaterie Hovby No.9. When you spot their sign on the street, dive into the arch way, cross the first courtyard and continue to the second one until you see the steps leading into the half-basement. You will get into a small shop looking like a secret laboratory with a chocolate scientist dressed in a white coat behind the counter.
An intense rich chocolate smell lingering in the air will make you want some chocolate even if you are not a big fan of it. Try their natural chocolate bars made of different origin cocoa beans. I had my foodie “wow” moment realising how different they tasted, even though the amount of cocoa was fairly similar in each of them. Some of the chocolate was bitter and had a bit of character, while the others were more fruity and creamy in texture.
The range of Hovby’s produce consists of chocolate bars, individual truffles and different flavoured pralines such as Sechuan Pepper, Sakura Tea, Lavender, Moscato Grappa or Fresh ginger, just to name a few. All the chocolates are dipped in Venezuelan Criolla Carupano and the fillings have been created specially for Hovby No.9 by Oliver de Loisy – famous French chocolatier, dedicated to the design of couverture chocolate (made with extra cocoa butter) using single-origin and single-variety cocoa beans.
If this chocolate fix is not enough, head to Ahlgrens Konfektyr, which is just around the corner in Lilla Fiskaregatan. Here you can find a huge selection of chocolate and candies from all over the world as well as some of their own made fresh chocolates.
The variety to choose from is eye boggling. I couldn’t resist picking up a few most interesting looking ones including white chocolate truffle with sea buckthorn filling and cornflower petals. It was an interesting flavour and texture combination, but there were so much of dried cornflower that I ended up with a mouthful of hay-like petals to chew on. Purple coloured nuogat ball was quite nice and so was white chocolate strawberry truffle.
Ahlgrens Konfektyr, Lilla Fiskaregatan 7, Lund, Sweden blog comments powered by Disqus