You might be wondering where I have been.
It’s been a while since I said hello last, hasn’t it? I have been traveling and the truth is I feel I have been living out of a suitcase for the last six months, which I sort of have been. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see I have been all over the place. My iPhone camera – my trusty companion.
I wrote about Gothenburg and the amazing workshop with Mikkel Vang. Well, right after that, I left for Beckershof (about 2 hours south of Stockholm) to teach a food styling and photography workshop hosted by Ritchie Ace Camps with whom I have worked with in the past.
We stayed at the most amazing house on Beckershofs Herrgård. A estate that has been in the Asker family since the mid 19th century. I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful this place is. Set right on a lake with horses, chickens, rabbits that run freely, beautiful gardens, a floating sauna, rowing boats, apple trees… It was the perfect location for 5 days dedicated to styling and photographing food.
Our students came from all over the word – Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. We all shared a 12-bedroom, fully-equipped house that overlooked the lake.
We were there close to midsummer when the sun didn’t set until nearly midnight and rose again around 3am. We were lucky with warm and sunny weather the entire time we were there so we took advantage of it – mornings swims to the sauna where the preferred activity, followed by breakfast outside. Days were spent styling and photographing food, cooking for a picnic on the lake, foraging, photographing a sheep farm and learning about natural light.
Nadia who was assisting us this time prepared beautiful meals for all of us and even had a couple of guest chefs. Frerik Forss, the resident chef, prepared us a fantastic meal one of the nights with local ingredients. Fish tartar with sunchokes, wild duck with new potatoes (the Swedes were crazed about their new potatoes) and berry Eton mess (one of my favorites).
One of the highlights of the workshop for me was to forage around the estate with chef Ola Rudin of Saltimporten Canteen who graciously came up for the day from Malmö . truth be said, we were a bit nervous as we were unsure if he would be able to find anything so early in the season, but he surprised us all with over 20 finds within a 500 meter radius. Spruce tips, black currant leaves, wild chives, rhubarb and its flowers, lichen, yarrow, ground elder, wild mustard leaves and flowers, sorrel, chickweed and so much more… I was in heaven.
That evening, Ola agreed to cook dinner for the group and just like that, without previous panning or notice, he prepared a meal with the foraged foods plus anything else he found in our refrigerator. We were in awe. I even helped prepare dessert. Olive oil and yogurt cake flavored with spruce tips and woodruff and served with roasted summer fruits. Simple, but perfect for the day.
On our last day we visited Bjärsäterstorp, a sheep farm not far from Beckershof. Owner Elisabet Jannson raises sheep for their wool – beautiful wool and hides. We drove through the countryside, with a couple of missed turns, but when we arrived we were greeted so graciously. Elisabet allowed us to walk around the property and photograph the sheep in the breathtaking pastures. So grand and vast. I fell in love with her hides and brought back some little dolls made from grey sheep’s wool that Jon and Miren loved.
We had a last picnic in Elisabet’s garden, which was the perfect ending to our time together. One of my favorite experiences ever.
Thank you to Angela and Nadia for all the hard work and thank you to our students who were such troopers and worked so hard. We also laughed hard. Anette, Elin, Jenny, Kelly, Kreetta, Leslie, Louise, Malin, Sif, Soes, Yasemin – miss you guys.
After Beckershof, Angela and I flew north to Åre to have dinner at Fäviken. Traveled there just to have dinner at one of my top three dining experiences ever. The chef, food, the estate, the sun that never set…
I followed with two days in Copenhagen, lunch at Saltimporten Canteen (my new favorite lunch spot in the world) in Malmö, and dinner at NOMA. I cannot even think of the right words to describe it. But I can tell you this…
…I am in love with Scandinavia.
I have been in the Basque Country ever since trying to spend time with my family and get some rest. This has been a very intense year and I just wanted to lay low for a bit. We picked cherries, roamed the streets of Old Bilbao, cooked and shared family time.
Shall write about the Basque Country soon. First I need to get home to Seattle. Tonight.