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When sausages cause a female stampede

Kathleen Harman was hoping that Fair Erotica would be a bit more, well, erotic. She decides in the end that the kind of sausages she wants can be better supplied at a new shop on Stockholm's Kungsholmen.

Tipping Point

‘Are you excited?’, I asked David ‘Mr Sausage’ Taylor about the very imminent opening of his first shop in Stockholm.

‘Well, to be honest I’m a bit nervous’, he said and I can see why, as a mental image of hoards of clamouring, flushed, wild eyed women, their fists crammed with five hundred kronor notes, battering down his door, flashed before my eyes.

Mr Taylor, a butcher originally from Northern Ireland, has built up a very loyal and enthusiastic clientele both here in Stockholm and down in Gothenburg, based to date on his home delivery service.

I hear from my sources that the good women from one of Stockholm’s posher suburbs (which shall remain nameless as their secret is safe with me) positively stampede in a most unladylike fashion in their haste to be first in line for Mr Sausage on his refrigerated van delivery days. But I can understand why – sometimes the thought of Swedish falukorv, a sort of grotesquely florid, mechanically recovered sausage, is just assimilation gone silly and when you are desperate for the real thing, the arrival of Mr Taylor and his wares might well cause an outbreak of over enthusiastic behaviour.

Yours truly was treated to a sneaky peek behind the scenes at his new premises, no doubt much to the seething jealousy of many an expatriate woman, and I am delighted to report that it is certainly a fair size and spotlessly clean. The shop actually opens Monday 5 Nov at 10 am and will stock all his popular sausages, including a new variety called Regency Pork – heavens, it‘s going to be handbags at dawn to be first in the queue with those, I can tell you. Irish and English cheeses, together with Welsh free range beef will all be available too, together with his pies and pasties and all sorts of pates and pickles.

The nice thing about Mr Taylor, apart from his excellent products, is that he is the type of person who knows all his customers by name and both he and his new business partner Gareth Jones are extremely helpful when it comes to giving advice to those of us who may be somewhat intimidated by a large chunk of raw meat. So, ladies, be gentle with them.

Speaking of large chunks of raw meat, I found myself at the Fair Erotica’s Ladies Night, entirely for research purposes, I hasten to add. And let me get something straight right from the outset – there wasn’t anything remotely erotic or even a bit naughty about it.

In fairness, I only caught a couple of the male strippers’ acts but they just looked like nice, clean cut boys who took their clothes off and wiggled about a bit to pay off their student loans. I imagine that they were probably trying to memorize their periodic tables or Einstein’s theory of relativity while they were doing things with whipped cream and posing pouches so it just wasn’t very sexy really, unless you’re a science undergraduate with limited experience of the outside world.

But the ladies did seem to be having a nice time, if not an outrageous time, with everyone browsing happily around the booths that were selling all manner of battery operated paraphernalia. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the matronly, latex clad, sales assistants were holding up various items and giving little demonstrations in much the same way that sales assistants demonstrate unnecessary kitchen gadgets at those Ideal Home shows. Strangely enough, my favourite item in the whole show was in fact an unnecessary kitchen gadget – a little metal thing that shaped fried eggs into men’s rude parts which you could probably use as a cookie cutter too, so maybe a very handy item after all.

But a word if I may about the clothing on sale, which I have to say was both extremely expensive (over 1,000 kronor for a nurse’s dressing up costume) while being atrociously cheap at the same time. Now I realise that the aim may well be to look cheap but does everything have to be nylon? The problem with a nylon body suit is that there’s a distinct possibility it could cause a very nasty infection in parts that are vital for any form of conjugals. Even nastier still, I would worry that the slightest amount of friction would cause the whole thing to spontaneously combust. Which would give new meaning to being a red hot lover, I suppose.

So, as for the Fair Erotica – well, there’s a makeshift bar and a kiosk selling hot dogs, and live entertainment in the form of wholesome strippers so it might be a different, and certainly harmless, way to spend an evening with a few friends.

But, for my part, I don’t think I’ll be rushing back. If I want to spend my time jostling with rampaging women on a mission, I’ll be elbowing my way to the front of the queue for the opening of David Taylor’s shop.

Taylors and Jones, Hantverkargatan 12, 112 23 Stockholm, Tel 08 651 2910, www.taylors.se (Cash only on the first days of business until credit card facility in place)

Fair Erotica, Gamla Tryckeriet, Gustavslundsvagen 149B, Alvik, Stockholm, Tel 08 658 6028, www.fairerotica.nu, 3 Oct – 4 Nov 2007.

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DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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