Reindeer and Ice Cream

I don’t usually do a double-take when looking at a menu outside of a restaurant. However, on my first night walking around Stockholm, I wandered down to Gamla Stan, the old town in the center of Stockholm to look for something to eat. I was checking out restaurants in the area and came across this menu:

The 2nd line item is:

Fillet of rein deer, with cranberries, chanterelle sauce, and wedge potatoes

Reindeer? I knew they had them here, but hadn’t actually expected to see poor Rudolph on the menu! I was intrigued, though, and almost sat down here, until I looked at the adjacent chalkboard and gasped:

Today we don’t serve any alcohol.

Now that certainly wouldn’t do! I set off and found another great looking restaurant with an open bar. After reviewing the menu, the waiter very nicely asked if it was my first time here. I said yes, and he actually said “you really must try the reindeer – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.” After this prompting, I had to go for it.

The meal that arrived was quite amazing! I had chanterelle cream soup (yum!) and the fillet of reindeer was served medium over a dark sauce that tasted like a red wine reduction with some rosemary in it. There was a special Swedish cheese around the dish as well that complemented it quite nicely. Reindeer has some of the flavor characteristics of venison, but is not nearly as gamey – it’s a much milder meat which is nice (but still very dark in color.) To top it off, I had a huge bottle of Mariestads beer – a Swedish beer at 5.3% alcohol – and my dinner was complete! If you’re ever in Stockholm, Restaurant CC (at Skräddargränd 2b in Gamla Stan) is definitely worth a visit!

Now, as you all know, I’ve got a thing for ice cream. Sweden happens to be ranked as the #5 country in ice cream consumption per capita. Needless to say, there were plenty of ice cream shops in Gamla Stan, and as I went into one, I realized why they’d rank so high! First of all, the marketing geniuses behind these ice cream shops put this really cool waffle cone maker right in the open window near the street – for about 2 blocks in every direction you could smell freshly baked waffle cones. It was like an irresistible force that compelled me to walk into the place!

But the most amazing of all were all the flavors – the Swedes are creative! They came up with some pretty amazing stuff, but by far my absolute favorite was called “Chokomarzipan.” This was a vanilla gelato-like base, with chocolate chips and marzipan swirled in. On a waffle cone. I had my first one that night, and took the entire team back there for dessert after our team dinner on Wednesday night! I definitely had agreement from a number of folks that this was an amazing ice cream. I’ll admit I’ve been back every day since… and it is now my mission to figure out how to make this combination when I get home… I can’t wait to whip out the ice cream maker!

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~ by Nathan on July 7, 2007.

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