• Archipelago memories from Gällnö.

    It is two weeks now since my long Swedish summer vacation ended. In many ways, this summer has been different due to the ongoing pandemic. Longer holiday trips have not been possible, but by boat in the Stockholm archipelago, the holiday has really been wonderful. We visited Gällnö, an island in Stockholm’s central archipelago. Gällnö has been inhabited since the days of King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. The island was ravaged by Danes in the 17th century, and during the Russian ravages of 1719. Despite the proximity to Stockholm, a visit to Gällnö is as far from the stress of the big city as you can get. The…

  • This year’s crayfish party

    The first time crayfish is mentioned in Swedish gastronomy is in a letter from king Erik XIV dated 1562. King Erik grew crayfish in the water-filled moats around Kalmar Castle. Crayfish were not eaten whole and cold as they are today. Kajsa Warg’s cookbook from the 18th century contains old recipes on how to make crayfish cake, crayfish sausages and stewed pans with crayfish tails. The crayfish party (Kräftskivan), as we know it today, was formed during the first decades of the 20th century. Since then, it has increased in popularity, and today it is one of the holidays associated with Swedish identity and Swedishness. Previously, crayfish fishing was only…

  • A romantic castle

    There is so much to experience not too far from home. Yesterday we made a car trip to the town Mariefred some 60 kilometres west of Stockholm. Mariefred means “Peace of Mary” and the city got its name from a former monastery “Pax Mariae” which was the only catholic Carthusian monastery in the Nordic countries, and one of the last established monasteries in Sweden before the Reformation. The monastery was built on the hill where Mariefred’s church is now located, opposite Gripsholm’s castle. The monastery church was inaugurated in 1504. Above ground, there are no remains from the monastery today. The king Gustav Vasa, who led the Protestant Reformation in…