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Top newspaper experiences foodie tour of Umeå

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Michelin chef Mathias Dahlgren accompanies writer to the north
Guardian writer Michael Booth accompanies Mathias Dahlgren, one of Stockholm’s top chefs, on a trip back to his home town in the north, Umeå. Dahlgren takes a day off from running his two-Michelin-starred Matsalen and one-starred Matbaren, both in the Grand Hôtel.
The former winner of the Bocuse D’Or, now “a bulky man in his mid-40s, with that permanent air of being a bit knackered that all the best chefs have”, introduces the journalist to local delicacies such as snow-cured reindeer, which, according to Dahlgren, “has an extremely interesting character, a beautiful raw texture. When you fry it, it smells almost like French cheese.”
The article focuses on the new youthful, fast-growing character of Umeå, which Dahlgren says “has become more part of the world, which is a good thing. The university is really important for that: it brings in a lot of young energy, and you can really see it in the food scene.”
They visit the new cultural centre Väven, also home to some prime food venues like Duå, a gourmet delicatessen, and the restaurant Viktoria.
Elsewhere in Umeå the writer experiences the “weirder” aspects of the town, including camels in a petting zoo, the world’s oldest (5,000 years) ski, two Eurovision-themed nightclubs and the Umedalen sculpture park in the grounds of a former mental asylum with its works by famous artists.
But the most memorable experience is tasting sürstromming, fermented herring, with a smell so bad it has to be opened inside a plastic bag. Dahlgren loves its “surprisingly mild, elegant flavour”. The journalist bravely manages two bites.
The Guardian
[pictured: Umeå; photo by Sara Ingman/imagebank.sweden.se]

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