Gotland is Sweden’s largest and most sunny island – and also a culinary gold mine. A tasteful journey in Gotland’s food world offers surprises and wonderful gastronomic experiences. A number of new eateries and old traverses have resurfaced on the island.
The Gotlandic culinary culture is known for its ingredients and the art of improving the value of a culinary experience. In 2013 Gotland was in fact appointed culinary capital of Sweden by the government.
Gotland culinary heritage
The central role of regional food traditions in the island’s culture has resulted in Gotland becoming a member of the network Culinary Heritage Europe, which works to promote and stimulate the development of local businesses. That includes restaurants, farming and processing of foodstuffs, fishing, both local and international, in which the businesses have a clear regional connection and an expressed intent to profile and further develop the cuisine of the entire region.
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A walk through Gotland’s medieval city, Visby keeps both tourist and gourmet in touch with the city’s savory past. The Gotlandic food culture is renowned for its fine ingredients and the art of changing them to delicious dishes and unique dining experiences. The island has good conditions for cultivating many different raw materials. The sunny climate and the calcareous soil provide excellent prerequisites for growth. There are many varieties unusual elsewhere in Sweden, such as truffles, asparagus, rams and different types of root vegetables. Even the Gotlandic meat has a very distinct flavor since the animals are grazing in open meadows covered with herbs.
A vibrant historic district
Not surprising, the raw materials in Gotland are delivered to Michelin-starred restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen as well as to Nobel dinners and royal weddings. Grilled lamb, smoked flounder, saffron pancake and Burgundy truffle are all Gotlandic specialties.
Strolling along the narrow, cobblestoned streets of this island city, it is easy to imagine Swedish knights in armor; ladies in flowing gowns; jesters and minstrels; and the salty air thick with the savory aroma of spit-roasted mutton.
Related: A Swedish Island Retreat in Medieval History – Visby, Gotland
Although the area within massive granite walls is now a vibrant historic district with craft shops, cafes, and cottages, the ruined medieval churches remind us of the turbulent past of this Viking stronghold and Hanseatic League city-state.
Sweden’s Culinary Island Gotland
Take the opportunity to get closer to the food during your stay and visit farm shops or go on an organized truffle hunt with dogs. Or, at least, visit some of the new restaurants and eateries.
With the beautiful botanical garden of Visby as the nearest neighbor, Café Breidablikk is a place filled with harmony, flowers and tranquility. As of this spring, the cafe has new owners, Ingela and Lars Nisser. The place is open for breakfast, coffee, lunch and selected evenings arranged for barbecue nights.
Robin Ingelse, former chef of Wisby Strand, has opened his own restaurant, Adel 33, in the shopping street Adelsgatan. The restaurant offers an inspiring crossover concept with Caribbean and Japanese-inspired menu. The restaurant aims to offer a culinary healthy experience with food, drink and music. Here you can enjoy exotic drinks that can be enjoyed in the outdoor dining room at Adelsgatan or in the backyard
The famous eatery Gula Hönan has now a sister restaurant in Adelsgatan in Visby called Tuppens Krog. In venerable 17th century rooms, you may enjoy rustic flavors composed by the chef Marc Enderborg.
Pensionat Warfsholm in Klintehamn is now run by new owners and the place has undergone a renovation, while retaining its old character. The restaurant offers tasty food from the charcoal grill, to be enjoyed out on the porch. During summer, concerts with well-known Swedish artists will also take place.
In the small charming old settlement and fishing village Lickershamn, Julia Söderbloom has taken over the Brasserie Lickers after her parents. After gathering inspiration from traveling to Asia and experience from the restaurant industry in Stockholm, she has given new life to Brasserie Lickers. Here, you may enjoy smoked shrimps from the local fish shop as well as food from all over the world with a Gotlandic twist.
Related: Gotland – Best in Europe 2017
Gotland’s history as a Baltic trading center is also reflected in the island’s food. Take, for example, saffranspannkaka, a baked rice pudding flavored with saffron. It is on the menu of nearly every cafe and restaurant in Visby.
Sweden’s Culinary Island Gotland, written by Tor Kjolberg