For people who care about their food

Brews and bruises

Mark Anthony Low is a globetrotting chef originally from the central swamps of England but recently working in Sweden. He’s written a three-part account of his recent visit to the Älska Mat food festival in Malmö – here’s the second instalment.

[continued from Part One: Prozac for chefs]

Now, I am not sure what goes through the minds of people who have small children, but I am sure it’s not a lot. Whenever I end up at some exhibition there are always those happy-looking parents who decide that bringing a pushchair the size of a four-wheel drive off-road vehicle is a good idea, and that somehow they should have right of way through the throng of people regardless of how many ankles they take out on their way to get to a free piece of cheese on a toothpick.

So, with my ankles gradually turning into tenderised meat, I found a stall where I could hang out for a bit, away from the ravenous masses searching for free bits of bread with sauce and little crumbs of cheese.

“Since I was 12 I dreamt of having my own brewery…” Those words themselves are surely the things that legends are built from.

When most of us were dreaming of becoming a pilot or a truck driver, Anders Hansson was already shaping his dream. 28 years later it was finally realised in the shape of Malmö Brygghus, Malmö’s first new brewery for 20 years and definitely about to make its stamp in the world of beer.

Anders is a man who looks as if he understands his beers, having a slight resemblance to British comedian Al “The Pub Landlord” Murray, and here at the festival he was showcasing two of his beers, his cacao porter and a white beer. The cacao porter is a excellent mix of smoothness, slight bitterness and Nubian darkness. The white beer is a pure flavour smack in the mouth of refreshing citrus undertones with beer goodliness.

At the moment his beers are being brewed in his brewery and being sold at Systemet, the Swedish government monopoly off-licence. But on 20 November his full dream will be realised, when a pub within the beer house (something which hasn’t existed in Malmö since 1864) will open its doors to the lovers of fine ales who like to quaff their pint at the point of production. Like drinking wine at a vineyard, it always adds to the experience.

That will certainly be something to add to the map of Malmö’s beverage experiences and I for one am going to pay a visit. www.thebeerproject.se

In amongst the abundance of bread and cheese stalls, others that caught my attention were:

  • Le citron vert (www.lecitronvert.se), a catering company which had a excellent canape of beetroot-cured gravadlax with parsley jelly made by a enthusiastic young chef;
  • Scandinavian Silver Eel (www.silvereel.se), a small-scale smokehouse which had amazingly sweet and smoky eel for tasters, a perfect balance of flavours which had me going back for some more;
  • The Kiviks Hotell, which was showcasing some of its packages for couples at its spa weekends. Not exactly my idea of a weekend, but their Scottish head chef also had made some excellent bread and tapenade which kept me interested in their venture;
  • The oyster and champagne bar Johan P (www.johanp.nu) at the very back of the hall had me stopping for some delicious oysters to accompany my cacao porter.

The live demonstration area also seemed to be extremely popular, with its cooking show going on under the watchful gaze of pushchair-wielding food lovers.

On to Part Three: Swedish poultry’s agoraphobia hell!

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