Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea, offers great food experiences.
Combine a dramatic climate, windy but sunny, with old and rich food-traditions and add excellent growers and restaurateurs. The result is a unique experience of flavours and colours.
Gotland has been cultivated for thousands of years and the nourishing soils are yielding fine crops of roots, vegetables and grain. Lamb has been raised for a very long time, the two endemic species being the natural choice. The meat is highly appreciated for its texture and wonderful flavour. Nowadays lamb is being slaughtered all year round. Thus, you will find local high quality meat of lamb alongside locally, raised beef and pork at most of the food stores in Gotland.
Local growers have been exporting their produces for quite some time now. It started with carrots and other roots, followed by potatoes and eggs. Crayfish-farming began twenty years ago and about ten years ago the first wild truffles were sold. You will find local wine and beer at ”Systembolaget”. We may pride ourselves with three vineyards, one large and several micro breweries. Delicious cheese from farm-dairies ,hand-made chocolates and preserves from small-scale entrepreneurs are other examples of the diversifying and fast growing food-production.
One of the oldest farmed produces, grain, is peaking in popularity. Ancient grain varieties
dating back to the bronze age are now commersially grown and on sale at selected stores. You may find spelt flour and whole grain as well as ”Borstvete”, a wheat variety. These are highly appreciated for their purity and nourishing contents as well as their exciting history. Farm and small-scale town bakeries true to old baking traditions are increasing in numbers. Many coffeeshops/cafés are offering delicious home-baked products.
The culinary highlights in Gotland begins in early spring with some wild herbs. Ramson wood garlic "”ramslök” and Sand leek ”Kajp”. The sand leek is the main ingredient in a traditional soup and both ramsons and leeks are used for flavouring butter. The next highlight is asparagus being the star at a spring-festival dinner in May. In July the first roots are harvested and in November the peak of the wild truffle season is the Truffle Academy dinner.
Throughout summer the local delicacy smoked flounder as well as salmon and turbot are all on offer at fish-shops. In Katthammarsvik, Sysne, Närshamn, Burgsvik and Lickershamn you will find these delicacies. Scattered all over the island farm shops offer a rich variety of local produces.
Being in the middle of the Baltic Sea has been quite advantageous for Gotland. For centuries
merchants have been based on the island trading with exotic goods from remote places.
A medieval heritage is saffron. In Gotland you can buy buns with saffron all year round where as it is a Christmas tradition only on the mainland.
The most famous regional dish is Saffron Rice pudding ”Saffranspannkaka”. It is served with whipped cream and dewberry jam "Salmbärssylt”. Other old-fashioned dishes you may come across is ”Glödhoppa” (lightly cured lamb, boiled, then fried with a mustard-coating) and ”Ugnstrull” (a rye bun filled mainly with pork). Lamb skulls are difficult to find on the restaurant menu. You may come across a private party, if so, try to get invited.
Restaurants using mainly local produces are listed on www.kulinariskagotland.com.
We welcome you to Culinary Gotland!
Gotland The Culinary Capital in Sweden 2013!
Photos Riina Noodapera, Allan Pettersson, Gunnar Fardelin