Hallakra Vingard – visiting a Swedish vineyard

Sep 26, 12 Hallakra Vingard – visiting a Swedish vineyard

Posted by in All, Scandinavia, Travel

“They make wine in Sweden?” That was pretty much the standard response when I told friends that I was on my way to Sweden for a few days to visit a Swedish winery. I can now tell you that yes, they do make wine in Sweden, the wines were surprisingly good and what’s more, the wines I tried were reds made from the variety rondo! I was totally expecting cool climate whites to be coming from Sweden. Sweden is probably better known for it’s knit jumpers, tall blondes and the brooding detective Wallander but they are quietly working behind the scenes on becoming recognized quality wine producers. The man behind this stealth move into the wine industry is Hakan Hansson, the owner of Hallakra Vingard, set just outside the lovely town of Malmo, in the southernmost province of Sweden, Skane. After driving through the hay fields of southern Sweden for about half an hour, I was beginning to wonder where the vines were when a wine barrel with the words Hallakra Vingard popped into view. Yup, this had to be it. Going up the winding road, I still didn’t see any vines but thought they had to be here somewhere and the taxi driver assured me that they did make wine there. At the top of the hill we arrived at what looked like a farmhouse and 2 other buildings in the middle of the fields. The driver dropped me off and then…nothing. Hmmm, as I wandered up the path, I entered the first big building on the right. Looking in, I spied a long table with the detritus of a wine tasting (half eaten cheese, empty bottles, used wine glasses) but absolutely no one about, not even a dog, the silence was a little bit eerie. I was beginning to feel like Wallander at a crime scene when suddenly a smiling blonde woman came rambling up the path. It was Hakan’s wife, who explained to me that Hakan was finishing up a vineyard...

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Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Jul 29, 12 Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Posted by in Austria, Food and Wine

I went to a rather interesting dinner over the weekend. It’s called Global Feast and the premise is over 20 days, the event will feature a cuisine from 20 regions around the world. Global Feast is also featuring chefs and supper club owners each night, many of them flying in specifically for the event. Besides all that, the main feature is the table. The night I went, it wasn’t finished yet but when it’s done, it will be a world map, called a Worldscape. In a nutshell, it’s a “sculptural geographical landscape” based on NASA’s digital map of  the world. I wasn’t really sure how to make heads or tails of it, even after it had been explained to us but I do remember it having something to do with the holes in the tables representing the population densities of the world, hence in the Indian and Chinese parts of the world, there wasn’t much table top(! )and the sculptures standing on the table represented the height of mountains and other geographical landscapes. I’d like to go back and see it when it’s completely constructed. But anyway, back to the food. It was Northern Europe’s turn the evening I attended and Swedish Chef Linn Soderstrom was in residence along with London supperclub owner Claudia Stachelhaus. We started with some lovely canapes of garlicky cucumber gazpacho and crispy flatbread direct from Sweden with prawns in mayo and dill –  the prawns were served with an edible daisy, quite tasty. I like edible flowers. I could have also eaten the whole platter of that flatbread starter. A very tasty starter of herring with beetroot and brown butter mayonnaise, paired with the 2010 Rabl gruner veltliner was first at dinner.  I liked the gruner, dry with white pepper and mineral notes. I also detected a bit of hay in there. However, one of my dining companions had some of the Italian Folonari  pinot grigio rose left from earlier in the evening and I thought the red fruits...

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