This is possibly where Chef’s dreams are made off. When I read up on the area in the West Coast of Sweden I saw the term ‘Lobster Safari’ and ‘Oyster Safari and I was immediately intrigued. Gotland as a foodie destination is quite well known but I wanted to venture a bit further afield and came upon the area of Grebbestad. We are staying on a cottage owned by Marcus and Ingela who also owns the company Skargardsidyllen. We are overlooking the sea which is scattered with some very impressive rock formations creating beautiful fjords.
Grebbestad is famous for it’s oysters, 90% of Sweden’s oysters are harvested here and amazingly only by two well known diving brothers Klemming. The invasive Japanese Oysters which introduced itself to the Swedish waters about 10years ago are free to foraged to your hearts content. We just missed the annual Oyster Festival which takes place every year and there is a competition for shucking the most oysters. Sadly, we are also missing the annual lobster season which opens in a few weeks time. All the fisherman are getting the baskets ready in eager anticipation. As a Swedish citizen you are allowed two have two cages in the water (daily) where you can await your daily catch without a permit.
We decided to rent some kayaks for the day and venture out on the sea between the beautiful fjords in search for some oysters and mussels. It must be at this point that the weather gets a special mention. I am South-African after all and after 14years in London I now have a saying that everything is beautiful when the sun shines. It is Autumn after all and we are in Sweden so I will thank the crazy weather patterns we are having at the moment as we ascended into the water on a warm 23c day, as this ‘safari’ would of looked a whole lot different in the pouring rain!
I was a bit sceptical at first as I am use to mussels farmed on ropes and dive caught oysters. After about 40minutes we rested our sore arms on a little shallow beach and there for our picking was the most beautiful oysters, mussels and a few clams. We foraged the sea gems for hours and left feeling smug and chuffed. Surely, this is what chef dreams are made off?
A simple supper awaits of Moules Mariniere.
Serves 2 generously or 4 for a light lunch
- mussels (3kg)
- 1 large leek
- 1 chilli finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic very finely sliced
- 1 red pepper finely diced
- 1/2 bunch of parsley
- 150-200g linguine
- 120ml white wine
- 30ml cream
After giving the mussels a thorough scrub I gently fried some leeks, garlic, chilli and red pepper until soft , to which I add some white wine (I chose a good Chenin Blanc) and a touch of cream, reduced it down a bit before adding the mussels. Bring some salted water to the boil and add the linguine. At this stage you can turn up the heat a bit to create the necessary steam. We waited in anticipation for the mussels to open and once opened I added them the al dente linguine. I strained the cooking liquor and reduced it a bit further and added the linguine to the sauce, scatter with the chopped parsley. I don’t think I have ever had a fresher bowl of mussels in my life. Simple and delicious and one to remember for a long time.