When you think of Sweden, what immediately springs to mind? Do visions of minimalist IKEA furniture, Swedish meatballs and ABBA hits dance in your head? Aside from the obvious exports, anyone who has ever visited the Scandinavian country would be quick to reference Sweden’s stunning natural landscapes and world-class culinary scene—which are exactly the assets that the Swedes are hoping to promote with their latest project, The Edible Country.
Some attribute the rise of highly processed foods to factors like convenience and cost efficiency, but there are plenty of people who believe that healthier alternatives are too complicated or expensive to prepare. However, this new global initiative aims to demonstrate just how easy and accessible healthy food can be. To do so, Visit Sweden is transforming the country into a 100-million-acre gourmet restaurant to highlight the bounty of delicious and nutritious foods found in Sweden’s wilderness.
The campaign was co-created by four chefs from some of the country’s leading Michelin-starred restaurants: Titti Qvarnström, Niklas Ekstedt, Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr. Together, they created a nine-course menu that visitors can cook themselves in the wild. A series of seven handmade wooden tables have been strategically dispersed throughout the country, stocked with kitchen kits and all of the cooking utensils needed to prepare each course.
“Sweden is 96 percent uninhabited and yet easily accessible for everyone,” Jennie Skogsborn Missuna, Chief Experience Officer at Visit Sweden, says. “Our nature is filled with edible ingredients and we want to invite the world to enjoy them, and at the same time, wind down in nature like us Swedes do,” she continues. “By using our star chefs’ menu, this new and innovative do-it-yourself culinary experience makes it possible for visitors to explore and transform nature into gourmet food themselves.”
The different recipes found on the menu vary based on the season, but nearly all of the ingredients included can be collected in the wild year-round. Dishes might include a forest broth with poached perch and broiled herb butter, or smoked char with chanterelles, juniper berries and wood sorrel. The menu also includes detailed instructions regarding where to find the ingredients and how to properly cook them.
“For me, Swedish nature has always been my biggest source of inspiration when cooking,” Ekstedt says. “The hours I have spent in the forest have turned into the realization that cooking outdoors, with the ingredients right in front of me, is the core of Swedish cuisine. The Edible Country is a symbol of how easy, close and uncomplicated food can and should be.”
The seven tables can be found in Skåne, West Sweden, Lapland, Jämtland, Småland, Värmland and the Stockholm archipelago. Those hoping to participate in The Edible Sweden can reserve their spot between May and September using the initiative’s official site or through Bookatable by Michelin—and everything is completely free of charge.