Fäviken, SWE

More than anything, Fäviken is defined by its harmonious coexistence with its harsh surroundings. In this inhospitable environment produce is harvested at its prime and later dried, pickled and cured as cupboards are filled before punishing winters. As stores are depleted, spring and the harvest returns once again. This cyclical unity with nature is as old-Nordic as the Vikings themselves.

Possibly the most isolated serious restaurant in the world, Fäviken is housed within the grounds of a hunting chalet at the end of a dirt road, east of the small skiing hamlet of Åre, Sweden. It offers all the modern comforts, while maintaining a uniquely rustic refinement. The six bedrooms are luxurious yet quaint. The wood-clad dining room, with hams and herrings being dried from the ceiling, feels appropriately like a Valhalla, worthy of the divine meal to come.

Click here for pictures from my meal at Fäviken.

The cooking is firmly rooted in Nordic traditions, yet offers mind-blowing innovation. Constantly provoking with forgotten ingredients and techniques. Presentations are often simple with few, but pronounced flavors. Depending on the season you might be treated to local game in various states of preservation or succulent seafood from the nearby Norwegian coastline. Highlights include live scallop cooked in the shell over embers, and salted herring aged for three years served with curd on rusks. Not forgetting delectable trout roe served with pig’s blood custard in croustade of the same.

Fäviken Magasinet is an all-immersive dining experience unlike any other, its location adding to the sense of pilgrimage. Read a book in front of the fire or enjoy a soothing sauna before dinner. Awake the next morning to fresh mountain air and an equally eye-opening breakfast. Constantly at the mercy of the wilderness surrounding him Chef Nilsson has created an adaptive approach to gourmet dining that’s likely to provide a palate for a changing world.