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A gastronomic Swedish Easter

Looking for a treat for your tastebuds this Easter? In Västervik you can enjoy the best of traditional Swedish food with a special Easter package.

A gastronomic Swedish Easter

Like people in many parts of the world, Swedes have recently been rediscovering their passion for food. No longer is it good enough for food just to be cheap and filling – more than ever before, people want to know where their food has come from, how it was produced. And for real foodies, the real discoveries are to be made far from the big cities.

Västervik, a pretty old port town Sweden’s east coast, is one of the places leading the Swedish food revolution. Placed between some of Sweden’s most fertile farmland and the fisheries of the Baltic Sea, it is fast becoming a magnet for Swedes and tourists looking for a genuinely Swedish gastronomic experience.

Easter time is one of the highlights of Västervik’s foodie calendar – perhaps unsurprisingly, as the Easter weekend is known as the period of the year during which Swedes buy the most food. For most Swedes, no Easter is complete without a traditional smörgåsbord, featuring salmon, herrings, potatoes, hard boiled eggs and fish roe, among other delicacies.

In Västervik, Easter also means it’s time for the Galet Gott food fair.

Galet Gott, which translates as ‘Crazy Tasty’, is a chance for local producers and specialist food and drink providers from further afield to promote their wares to locals and visitors in Västervik. The festival is run by well-known local restaurateur and cookbook writer, Henrik Arkåsen, who is known as an evangelist for organic, small-scale food production:

“Small scale food production has been on the up in Sweden in recent years. It’s important for us to know the provenance of the food,” he says.

Among the local delicacies available to be sampled at Galet Gott are smoked fish from the Kårö smokery in the Västervik Archipelago. The smokery produces favourites such as smoked salmon, but also local specialities such as smoked buckling, a smoked fish very similar to kippers, and smoked flounder.

“They work with classic Swedish herbs and spices and old-fashioned methods,” says Arkåsen.

Other local food producers exhibiting on the day include Arkåsen himself, who as well as his restaurant Saltmagasinet runs two further eateries, a bakery and a cheese shop-deli. His traditional sourdough breads and Swedish pastries such as cinnamon buns are always a firm favourite with both locals and visitors.

“We only use organic produce and support traditional agriculture,” he says.

While many of the exhibitors are local, others have come from further afield. Visitors to the festival can taste wines from across Europe together with foods, and wine critic Camilla Settlin, from Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, will be on hand with tips.

Of course, no Swedish celebration is complete without a smörgåsbord, a traditional Swedish buffet. That’s why Västervik is offering readers of The Local a special deal, including two nights and an Easter buffet at the Best Western Västervik City Hotel. There will also be a Saturday boat trip to to archipelago, where you will be served local Easter food, archipelago style.

At a price of 1785 SEK per person (or 3480 per couple), including room, breakfast, Easter buffet, boat trip with Easter food and tickets to Galet Gott, there is every reason to celebrate springtime with a feast in Västervik.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Traffic jams and sold-out trains: the latest on Easter travel in Sweden

Easter is probably the busiest time of the year for travel within Sweden. Here's the latest on how to travel safely and where you might face delayed trains or ugly traffic jams.

Traffic jams and sold-out trains: the latest on Easter travel in Sweden

Travelling by rail

If you haven’t already booked your ticket, you may find it difficult to get a seat on some popular routes. 

“Some routes are already fully booked. This is particularly the case between the major cities,” Anders Edgren, a press officer for the national train company SJ, told state broadcaster SVT.

A screenshot of SJ’s booking site for Good Friday shows most morning trains between Malmö and Stockholm are already sold out.
 
Edgren said on Thursday morning that there were still a few seats left between Stockholm and Gothenburg and Stockholm and Sundsvall but that they were selling out fast. 
 
 
“What we’re trying to do is to double-up trains, which is to stick together two trains, and if we manage to do that we might be able to release some more tickets.” 

Sweden’s national rail company SJ often schedules engineering work for national holidays, as fewer people are travelling to work, and this easter there will be engineering work at around 20 sites across the country, meaning more than 1,000 trains will be partly or totally replaced with buses during the Easter break. 

The worst areas are on the routes between Gothenburg and Malmö, between Västerås and Stockholm, and between Karlstad and Växjö. Work on the new Västkustbanan will mean replacement buses between Helsingborg and Gothenburg throughout the Easter holidays. 

SJ has made a map showing all the routes where you can expect interruptions: 

Traffic interruptions over Easter: 

Karlstad C to Kristinehamn: 10pm April 14th to 5am April 19th 

Gothenburg going north and south: 10.35pm April 14th to 2pm April 18th

Varberg to Heberg: 2pm April 14th to 2pm April 19th 14

Ängelholm Helsingborg: 12am April 4th to April 25th 4.15am 

Frövi to Kumla: 10pm April 14th to 5am April 19th 

Skymossen to Motala: 12am April 14th to 5am April 19th

Stockholm Central platforms 3 to 7: 10pm April 14th to 10pm April 21st 

Huvudsta – Barkarby: 1.10am April 14th to 4.30am April 19th 

Travelling by car 

In its guide to travelling by car over Easter, the Swedish Transport Agency warns that weather conditions at this time of year can vary enormously as you drive north.  You may find, for instance, that you need winter snow tyres by the time you reach your destination, even seemed almost summery when you set out. You should also make sure you have clothing for all seasons. 

Here is the agency’s maps of roads which it expects to see heavy Easter traffic. 

A map showing which roads are expected to be busy over the Easter period. Photo: Swedish Transport Agency
These include: 

The E22 between Kalmar and Norrköping, the E4 between Norrköping and Stockholm, and then from Stockholm all the way up to Sundsvall.  The roads leading towards the ski areas around Sälen and Östersund also tend to get crowded. None of the roads in Skåne are expected to see heavy traffic. 

The Swedish Transport Agency has imposed a ban on overtaking on the E4 between Gävle och Tönnebro, on the 14th and 14th of April for travel in a northerly direction, and on the 17th and 18th of April travelling south. 

The agency also recommends choosing roads with central reservations and speed cameras, as these are safer, even if this might mean a slower journey. Here is the agency’s map of roads with central reservations.

Flights

If you’re coming to Sweden by air, you should be aware that companies have been cancelling a high number of flights in recent days, because many of their staff have Covid.

EasyJet and British Airways cancelled more than 80 scheduled flights on Thursday, blaming staff sickness. 

Airports

If your flight is running as scheduled, be aware of issues at several UK airports.

Airports including Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham have been hit by disruption because of staff shortages caused by Covid, affecting everything from airport security to luggage handlers. Passengers risked missing their flights because of lengthy delays, according to reports in the UK press. 

Passport queues at Heathrow Terminal 2, from where SAS flies to Stockholm, were ‘stretching to 90 minutes’ on Maundy Thursday, The Independent reported. 

Passengers have been advised to make sure they are at the airport as early as possible to allow for delays, and unions have warned that the disruption could last for some time.

In the case of Manchester, the advice last week was to arrive three hours early.

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