Story and photos by Bo Zaunders
BUTTER, CREAM AND LOVE
Expect unexpected little pleasures as you travel the small winding country roads of Sweden. Most recently I found Gräddhyllan (“the cream shelf”), a lavish café, just a few kilometers from where I grew up in the rural southwest corner of Småland.
Located across a scenic lake in a red-painted old farmhouse from the 1870s, Gräddhyllan features an abundance of homemade cakes, pastries, and other indulgences. Started in 2010, it was the inspiration of Rune Lindgren, a native of the region, whose dream was to run a summer café with checkered tablecloths.
After speaking with Rune, I also met with Ulla Pålsson, who spends the winter months as a social worker in Stockholm, and helps manage the place.
“We bake everything ourselves,” she said, “with butter, cream and love.” This, apparently, is Gräddhyllan’s motto - as well it should be. I understand the place is thriving, with thousands of guests every year. Not only are there several rooms, upstairs and downstairs with a lovely lake views, there’s plenty of seating on the patio outside.
I had already pampered myself with a cinnamon bun. With Ulla I now went back to the pastry counter for a look at other delicacies. On display were rhubarb and strawberry cheesecakes, nöt kolapaj (I won’t even attempt a translation), and Smålandskringla, a local variant of what has been described as a Nordic pretzel, kringla meaning ring or circle in Old Norse.
I also noted a kladdkaka, a chocolate sticky cake, said to be Sweden’s gift to chocoholics.
And we must not forget Gräddhyllan’s particular specialty: slabang, a scrumptious chocolate roll with marzipan, whipped cream and banana. Quite irresistible. I ate two of them.
© June 2013 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.