I have yearned to visit this unique restaurant ever since I laid eyes on the powder blue cover of the cookbook, “Faviken”. It was an impulse buy nestled amongst other worlds top 50 chef’s books, from a favourite haven, Books for Cooks. I sat down one rainy Saturday afternoon and began to flick through the pages. Mesmerised, the afternoon soon became evening and I read it cover to cover. My mind was made up, I would make a pilgrimage to this far away place on the other side of the world, 200 miles south of the Arctic circle and that would take a bit of organising.
Dinner Saturday 11 July 2015
Faviken , Järpen, Sweeden
Chef: Magnus Nilsson
Faviken 216, 830 05 Åre Municipality, Sweden
+46 647 -401 77
Worlds best 50 restaurants: no 25 in the world 2015, 2014
Michelin stars **
Vibe: One of a kind at the end of the earth
Iconic dish: Scallop cooked over burning juniper branches
I went online, too early to make a booking, I signed up to the email list. I awoke one morning, there it was, the staff were returning after a winter of discovery and would reopen on July 1st, 2015. I felt a sense of panic, I had to move quickly, while I had been asleep on the other side of the world, had the Europeans beaten me to it, would that date be available?
I have tried to book a solo online before, just try to ask the heartless booking system robot, can I have a table for one? Within a nanosecond it is a flat not available, so I had no issue booking and importantly paying for 2, just to secure the booking. You know what? as a business owner, if I was running a 16 seater near the arctic circle, if it was a booking for one it would have to be on a communal table or a seat at the bar or not at all.
I actually don’t care, if costs me twice the price, I would rather saveur the food without interruption rather than deal with attempts of clumsy, social dalliances with unknown diners.
Not lamenting a lost opportunity, I grabbed the booking for 2 like a child with the last sweet in the lolly jar, and clarified my intention when a please explain email followed soon after. Yes I had booked for 2, would pay for 2 but it was only me to dine and importantly sleep alone, in a double bed, not a twin share.
The Swedes are a pretty relaxed crowd, the sauna at Faviken is a tradition, and from what I can gather it is filled with goodies as well. Swedes do not worry about swimsuits or towels, and there are mixed messages from reviews about whether or not it is communal but I suspect it is.
I have delved into online reviews and just love Rachel Nuwers account from August 2013 in the Smithsonian, where she describes Magnus as taking Locavoriam to an extreme by relying on foraging, farming, hunting and preserving traditions. Locavorism, coined in 2005 by four women in San Francisco is an apt description of the Faviken culture. So many chefs today pay lip service to it but I am not sure anyone comes remotely close to Faviken where locavorism is as much a necessity as a creed.
A locavore is
If you haven’t seen Magnus Nilsson on Netflix’s Chefs table, treat yourself. If the sound of his swedish accented English is not enough to seduce you then his life story will. This is a man who has set his goal in his teens to have the best restaurant in the world. Thats a good start.
After all a man who knows how to cook Pizza Hawaii, is man after my own heart, check out the recipe on my blog:
To say my excitement before the pilgrimage is at fever pitch is an understatement. If the journey itself isn’t enough, I await with anticipation this year’s menu, and wonder how it will reflect the themes of the winter break: “The colour blue” or “Monastery life in Finland, “The Japanese mushroom garden”, “Lupin beans and the use of their proteins”, “Traditional and modern methods for extended storage of eggs”, “Swedish freshwater fish” and “The use of growing beds heated with compost in the garden”. Eater Tracking
What other say
The Telegraph Luxury: 22 December 2014
Smithsonian: Rachel Nuwer 21 August 2013
Spanish Hipster: 22 April 2013
Nordic Nibbler: 12 December 2012, an absolutely beautiful review