Recently I was asked by the lovely founders of Madamilen to participate, which roughly translates as “the food mile”. It’s essentially a food tour of the city, where you stop at 10 participating establishments and sample food based around a theme. The movement began in September 2016 and has since had 3000 participants. What with this being the December event, the theme was based around the idea of Christmas gifts. So on a chilly Saturday morning, Tom and I loaded up the camera and headed to the first stop!
- Ingelsta Kalkon – Östergatan 26
Our food journey began in southern Sweden’s premier turkey (kalkon) delicatessen. You can find their products sold throughout the region in supermarkets and great care and attention is given to quality and ethical standards. It’s a smart and high end establishment in the heart of the old city, not far from the train station. Our offering was a festive selection of turkey products, including a style of turkey ham, with a delicious mustard edge, a prinskorv style sausage and a Swedish style meatball. It was served with a coleslaw of red cabbage, kale and cranberry. It was basically like a miniature Christmas dinner and packed with big, festive flavours. The quality of the ham, which we found out was made from the darker thigh meat of the bird, was almost indistinguishable from actual ham. Quite how you could gift the whole thing was a bit beyond us, but any of the ingredients bought as a gift or collectively given as a hamper would be warmly received by anyone.
- Mat och Chokladstudion – Amiralsgatan 16
Stop number two took us south of the old city, near Stadshuset (city hall) and one of the only desserts on the menu for today. Joel Lindqvist is a pastry chef, cook and author of a number of Swedish cookery books. He’s been on Swedish TV and has a simple philosophy when it comes to cookery: don’t compromise on quality. This is seen clearly in the artistry and care on show in his work. We were served a Spruce fir flavoured ice cream with cacao soil, spruce emulsion and Italian meringue pieces. The smell and taste of the fir hits hard with wintery freshness, delivered in the ice cream and complemented by the crunchy texture of the crumb and the meringue. We concluded quickly that any gift bought from Mat och Chokladstudion would be incredible. Again, the question of how you’d package the ice cream with all the elements left us both a bit baffled, but as a dessert to a high end Christmas taster menu, this ice cream would be very welcome indeed. I was even lucky enough to meet the incredible Titti Qvarnström, who was helping out in the studio that day. She is not only Sweden’s first female Michelin Starred chef (for Bloom In The Park) but also the co-founder of the collective ‘Malmö Cooking’ and a Malmö food hero, respectively. She is such an amazing person to talk to and reaffirmed in me that Malmö was the right place to move to.
- OST & Vänner – Ö Rönneholmsvägen 6
Our next stop took us to the cheese course of the day at OST & Vänner near Triangeln in the heart of the city’s shopping district. It’s part of a trinity of quality stores along Ö Rönneholmsvägen that often collaborate closely on food projects and ideas (one of those stores was next on our agenda to visit on the tour!). It’s the brain and love child of Daniel, Elin and Melissa who all have other professional lives but share a passion for cheese and drink. Daniel is a jazz musician, who regularly utilises his music in the experience of tasting the cheese. They are currently up this year for the best bar in Malmö. Here we had a canapé of a Danish blue cheese on a homemade gluten free seeded biscuit, with served with fig jam, flambéed figs in an Österlen VSOP and salted almonds. The smokey richness of the cheese was complemented beautifully by the rich fig jam and the biscuit. The canapé was accompanied by a glass of warm apple Glögg.
- Ola & Ko – Ö Rönneholmsvägen 6
Immediately next door was the equally charming Ola & Ko, a butcher and meat deli with some truly delicious things on display. Ola & Ko prides itself on being totally additive free and mainly sources from producers in Skåne with a smattering from southern Europe too. The emphasis on quality is paramount and clear in the taste of the products too. We were treated to another capapé but this time of pork rillette, made from local Skånian pork on a slice of baguette from Bageri Leve with a topping of the owner’s sister’s homemade caramelised onion marmalade. Perfect for a winter picnic or a hearty lunch.
- AB Småland – Södra Förstadsgatan 25-27
Next on the map was AB Småland, again in the heart of Malmö’s shopping district, a well established face on the city’s lifestyle and fika scene. AB Småland are all about green living, contemporary Scandinavian chic mixed with traditional, sometimes recycled elements, in their homeware and fashion. Their cafe is a big draw in the city with its open plan, indoor garden feel. They served a hearty cauliflower soup with saffron and curry. Served with some crusty baguette with a choice of either herb or chilli infused oil to dip in. Big, hearty flavours, indicative of the kind of flair for taste that AB Småland are famous for.
- Gottelisa – Engelbrektsgatan 20
This little candy store near Gustav Adolfs Torg in the centre of town was one of our shortest stops, but it was arguably the one that hit the brief the best. “Welcome to our world of quality calories!” reads their website and quality is certainly in evidence. Combining well known brands with a range of off piste delights, Gottelisa is a small store but packs a punch. Established in 2002 it is clearly still going strong. They offered a small gift wrapped package of three German chocolates – one white (a lemon truffle), one milk (an apricot truffle) and one dark (A salted caramel truffle). They even threw in an extra morsel of liquorice from Lakrids by Johan Bülow, his 2017 special edition liquorice. Golden balls of chocolate coated, salted caramel liquorice dusted with some gold dust. We weren’t there long but the great service and atmosphere left a great impression!
- Lanthandeln, Saluhall – Gibraltargatan 6
Malmö’s Saluhall describes itself as a food lover’s paradise and it’s hard to argue with that description given the amount of quality produce available. It’s certainly earned its reputation and its claim to being one of Malmö’s premier food destinations. Lanthandeln is a (literally translated) “country store” and is a relatively new addition to Saluhall occupying three open units along the north side of the hall. Their offering of quality and diverse grocery products have, in part filled the gap that GRAM once occupied. Their Madamilen contribution was another soup, but served and executed with a twist; a cauliflower cappuccino with pickled Shiitake and crispy black cabbage shard, finished with a drizzle of white truffle oil. which was bursting with flavour. They had the ingredients necessary to create the soup around their display which seemed the most sensible way of answering the brief while providing something which isn’t exactly gift ready! We paired it with a tasty Pale Ale Soda by GBG Soda.
- Favvo Glass, Saluhall – Gibraltargatan 6
Technically speaking, this stop was a bonus one as it brings the number of stops to 11. Must have been an eleventh hour offering, excuse the pun! We were glad it was added however as it gave us an opportunity to sample some of their delicious samples of ice cream. Most were festive inspired so we went for the Glögg and saffron flavours which absolutely delivered on quality and taste. But we couldn’t stop long as the day was winding down and we still had three more stops to get to!
- In the Pink – Neptunigatan 2
Conveniently situated outside Malmö Central station, In the Pink is a small cafe and bistro aimed at health conscious and busy city dwellers who want to be able to go out and eat something but not set back their training regime at the gym! As such, great thought and care has been put into each of their dishes and drinks. It has a flexible dining space that’s ideal for casual customers as well as busy professionals, (it’s even hosted a Creative Mornings: Malmö recently). Their offering for Madamilen hit their own brief perfectly but didn’t quite live up to the brief of the event itself. That said, it was absolutely delicious and hearty too. They served a red lentil dal style soup with spinach, tomato, ginger, garlic, onion, garam masala and vegetarian broth, topped with a mint raita. We decided to pair it with a Roots ginger kombucha, so that it would compliment with the flavours of the dal. The verdict: not really very Christmassy or gift ready but tasty nonetheless!
- Restaurang KP, Posthusplatsen 4
By now we were pretty tired and the night was beginning to draw in, so we headed across the road to Restaurang KP which is situated overlooking the water near Central Station. The building is opulent and grand but the atmosphere inside was very stale. We ate in the bar and the whole experience was quite cold. Kudos for offering a vegan christmas inspired soup (topped with pumpkin kernels, fried kale and soured red onion) but that’s where the good will towards the experience ended. The food itself was well made and delicious, but again it definitely missed the brief and didn’t really tie in with the Christmas spirit. Altogether a bit of a disappointment. By this point the amount of soups that we’d had in quick succession really made us wonder whether or not the restaurant’s approach to the event was balanced enough, but I’ll return to that later.
- Vigårda Grill – Centralplan 10A
Fortunately our final stop of the tour redeemed the experience and restored our faith in the spirit of Christmas. Vigårda is one of those restaurants in Malmö that you see on a regular basis as it’s part of the Central Station complex and immediately opposite the bus station. It’s a high-end burger restaurant that offers a wide variety of options that change regularly. Served American style (with fries and dips), their burgers are often guest created by chefs from the Swedish food scene. As it was quiet, one of the three co-owners brought us our sliders, which were smaller versions of the Cheddar & bacon burgers on their menu and talked with us at length about the place, he even threw in some gratis fries! Again, we did wonder how you would gift someone a slider for Christmas, but at least the effort was made to try and adapt the concept to fit the restaurant. And it was delicious, which helped immensely! We paired it with a great Winter ale from local brewers, South Plains Brewing Co. Great flavoured ale!
Madamilen is now an established food event in Skåne region, Sweden, especially with two more events planned for the new year in Malmö (February 10th) and Helsingborg (March 10th). The scope and range of possibilities does seem pretty endless, especially in a city that has swollen in size and diversity over the past decade, and in a region that prides itself on being the food producer of Sweden.
The offerings we experienced as part of the December 9th event were delicious, every single one. Fine examples of the quality and attention to detail that good food producers put into their craft. From Ost & Vänner’s bespoke canape to the fir flavoured ice cream from Joel Lindqvist, the imagination was there for the most part. What lacked a little more thought was the tendency towards soups. Maybe if they’d been more spread out we wouldn’t have noticed them so much! Don’t get me wrong, the soups themselves were delicious and included some incredible ingredients, but it would have been nice if there had been a limit on the number of similar types of dish.
Despite that, it was great fun going round to the different vendors and sampling what they had. We made some great personal discoveries and we certainly have plans to return again in the future, which was, of course, the whole point of the tour!
As a newcomer to the city, this is a great way to introduce people to the bustling, independent food scene that Skåne has to offer. It would be a great idea as an early Christmas gift to a loved one, or an experience for someone visiting the city. The only hitch, would be that the ticket website currently is in Swedish only, but with translating programs, it’s an easy one to get around. I’d definitely recommend this tour to my friends, family and to any foodies out there. Thanks once again to Madamilen and Malmotown for letting me take this opportunity!