At the end of August, I embarked on yet another adventure to Smaland in the South of Sweden. I travel there regularly for pleasure, but this time I embarked armed with a creative team (Elodie Rambaud, Frankie Unsworth, Anders Schonnemann) I had put together for an exciting project I had pitched to The Sunday Times Style magazine, which is out today.
Each year around August in Sweden, the country celebrates one of its greatest gastronomic wonders, the crayfish. The paraphernalia starts to hit the store; the supermarkets devote aisles to paper crayfish hats (compulsory attire during the feast), crayfish bibs, shed loads of Schnapps and, of course, plenty of bundles of fragrant dill flower (which flavour the magnificent juices you slurp out the crayfish heads). Here in Smaland we were treated to the freshest crayfish of them all, straight from the lake in front of the house.
Capturing them is a time consuming process. Each morning they row out in the the boats, throw the cages overboard dotted around the lake. Then the next day you have to be up at the crack of dawn (before light or the crayfish might crawl back out) to collect the crayfish from the nets and store them live.
The crayfish are then cooked in plenty of stout and dill flower heads and left to cool in the broth in the garage for us to enjoy later (see the recipes online or in the magazine today).
We started a couple of days early, taking out the nets, foraging for fresh berries and setting up an idyllic crayfish party with a handful of models (read: friends).
Anders came over from Copenhagen to capture the day of preparation for the party and our staged party which we put together before we let our hair down for the real deal on the Saturday.
Elodie worked her magic in creating the perfect venue for our guests to enjoy the Swedish spread Frankie and I had prepared.
And just before the rain poured down, we captured these…
Check out the full article in this week’s Sunday Time Style Magazine, for all the recipes and Anders’ beautiful photography.
The strapline in the magazine mentions Smaland being in Northern Sweden, when in fact it is in South Sweden. Here in fact.