Mister L and I took the most wonderful trip to #Gothenburg #Sweden this past week. We visited our wonderful agent Lena Magneby from Swedish Brands @swedishbrandwines who was the most amazing host and guided us to all the smart places serving Levin Wines. We felt like we experienced every vibrant element of Sweden’s sleek second city, starting with a warm Scandinavian welcome from Lena who whisked us away from Gothenburg Airport to our first visit (and had gratefully warned us to bring warms coats).
First, we dropped into meet the visionary hotelier, Thomas Petersen of the Dorsia Hotel. It really was the most extraordinary boutique hotel, decorated after the style of La Belle Époque, with a restaurant and champagne bar. With its theatrical velvet curtains and jacquard carpets, it felt like stepping onto film set – incredibly luxe! (Trädgårdsgatan 6, 411 08 Göteborg, Sweden, http://www.dorsia.se/en/)
Next stop, Fiskekyrka translating to fish church, a marketplace to worship all things piscatorial. On the mezzanine, we visited Restaurant Gabriel and charming chef and host Johan Malm, second-generation owner and World Champion Oyster Opening. We had fabulous pickled herrings, fish soup topped with mussels, Swedish/Japanese oysters (translation doesn’t work), freshest grilled plaice with new potatoes grilled mushrooms, finishing with the lightest berry, chocolate and meringue dessert. (Feskekörka, 411 20 Göteborg, Phone: 031-13 90 51 http://restauranggabriel.se & http://www.xn--feskekrka-57a.se/)
Then we walked around Gothenburg and discovered the most wonderful bakery where they mill and sell their own flour. Then we went up a set of stairs, through a cobbled courtyard and found a flower shop, then rambled down to food market, with Swedish cheese and stalls of organic and local produce.
Next, we checked into Hotel Pigalle playfully decorated in 1900s Parisian grandeur. Everything about this hotel, restaurant and bar was stylish, plush and sultry. We stayed in the Belle Suite, which included a fantasy champagne fridge chilling Dom Perignon, Cristal, Bruno Paillard, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, 1988 RD Bollinger in magnum, bottle and half bottle. The dressing room was right out of the Belle Epoch, with a stunning bedroom, with a sitting room and even its own boutique shopping range. (Södra Hamngatan 2a, 411 06 Gothenburg, https://www.hotelpigalle.se/en/)
After a quick stop to the Gothenburg Museum of Art and a brilliant restaurant and bar with stunning cocktails and, of course, Levin Sauvignon Blanc, we had dinner at the sensational SK Mat & Människor. Owned by Visitas Hall of Fame chef Stefan Karlsson, the restaurant opened in 2014 and received its Michelin star in 2015 for its Swedish seasonal menu. We started with White asparagus with beurre blanc and vendace roe; followed by Tartar of local beef topside with cucumber, Swedish vinegar, dried egg yolk, capers and horseradish cream; then Cod with grains cooked in broth, spilt peas Swedish chorizo and dill jus; finally, Rhubarb two ways with white chocolate and yoghurt pudding, almond cake and vanilla ice cream. We’re so delighted to have 2011 Levin Sauvignon Blanc listed there! (Johannebergsgatan 24; 412 55 Göteborg, http://en.skmat.se/)
On Thursday, we took a drive and ferry to the Island of Marstrand. A very picturesque little Island, where King Oscar II of Sweden built his summer house, which now operates as the Grand Hotel Marstrand. After a tasting of the range with Anders (2011 Levin Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon en magnum, 2015 Le Vin de LEVIN Pinot Noir, 2010 Madame L Gamay, 2012 Mr L Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Levin Noble Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc), we enjoyed simple and delicious lunch of Cod with fresh grated horseradish, shrimp, pickled egg, new potatoes. Afterwards, Mr L cheekily asked for pudding. Though there was nothing prepared, the kitchen hand was sent to pick some wild rhubarb growing at the old fort behind the hotel and 20 minutes later, a delicious rhubarb crumble appeared for a very happy Mr L! (Grand Hotel Marstrand, Rådhusgatan 2, 442 67 Marstrand http://www.marstrand.se/en/)
We returned by ferry to Gothenburg to the most popular wine bar in town, Juan Font, with a French-Spanish-Basque influence, where there’s a queue an hour before opening. Miguel and his team Charlie, Molly, William and Isabelle have selected a fantastic list and we were thrilled to have our Levin Sauvignon Blanc & Levin Gamay, Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc en magnum, Mr L Sauvignon Blanc and Vin Cerveaux Pouilly Fume on tasting. After the presentation, we duly tucked into one of the best bar menus we have ever tasted. Everything is made behind the bar, from the beef tartare with foie gras, air dried prosciutto, fresh curd cheese, charcuterie, pizza and possibly the world’s best olives to the foie gras macaroons; all most certainly hit the spot. (Teatergatan 36, Gothenburg http://juanfont.se/)
We took the late-night ferry to Skaret on the island of Styrsö and were met by Ylva, the patron of Pensionat Styrsö Skäret. Friday brought a beautiful sunrise and sunshine to the Island of Styrsö. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of three different homemade breads, local churned butter, fresh orange juice and range of homemade lingonberry, marmalade and other local jams, bacon and scrambled eggs, herrings, smoked meats and charcuterie, not to mention Swedish cheeses and delicious pouring yogurt over homemade muesli. Well-fed, we walked around the island, where we were served coffee and cake at the port of Bratten. Kate Levin loves her red bike and we found one by the road with a pretty basket of flowers, though it looked a little small for the 5’11’’ Miss Levin. (Skäretvägen 53, 430 84 Styrsö http://www.pensionatskaret.se/english/)
Back at Pensionat Styrsö Skaret, Ylva, Ola and chef and the team were preparing the menu for our winemaker dinner and the guests were arriving to take an aperitif of Le Vin de LEVIN Pinot Noir Rosé on the terrace in the sunshine. Each dish was a triumph of pairing with our wines: Butterfried Crayfish smoked shrimp – caviar from Karelen with Levin Sauvignon Blanc; Tartar from Styrsö lamb cured egg yolk – barley – ramson onion with Madame L Gamay; Butterfried Cod asparagus – bleak roe – new potatoes with Vin Cerveaux; Cheese & jam with Mister L Sauvignon Blanc; Sea buckthorne – chocolate – licorice with Levin Noble Sauvignon Blanc.
The evening was also a celebration of May Queen (a rough translation, hence the flower crown) everyone including Mr & Madame L, Lena from Swedish Brands got into the spirit. We were thrilled to have Charlie, head sommelier from Juan Font, ferry over from the mainland to join us at the dinner with his partner. We cannot thank Lena from Swedish Brands, Ylva and Ula enough for being such amazing hosts and the opportunity to showcase Levin Wines and Vin Cerveaux on the Swedish Archipelago.