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Savor Sweden: Epicure’s Guide To Stockholm’s Best Food Markets

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Stockholm. Photo courtesy of Adisa via Shutterstock.

Stockholm is often called the capital of Scandinavia, and there is a reason to it; it’s the city on fourteen islands. The city on water. The city of contrasts. The city where the new meets the old and creates thus a fascinating ambiance. Stockholm is without any discussion a creative and living city, pulsing with life and ideas, a place that attracts artists from all around the world. City with fresh air, healthy lifestyle, equal rights and liberal thinking.

Taking all that into account Stockholm represents yet another quality.

When it comes to food, Stockholm is a trendsetter who cares what they eat, wanting to eat fresh and light and according to ecological principles. They eat seasonal products because they care about the planet, the environment and their own health.

Stockholmers love to indulge, too, especially when sweets, coffee and alcohol are concerned. Yet when talking about everyday diet, Stockholmers prefer the quality over the price. The local food market, represented by local farmers and small tradesmen, is highly supported.

The tradition of high food quality is long and there are several proofs of it in the center of Stockholm city. We’ll take a small walk through the two busiest city areas — Norrmalm and the upscale Östermalm — to experience the Swedish way of eating first hand.

By the way, if you visit during a solo trip to Stockholm, these markets also offer the perfect place to dine without feeling awkward!

Hötorget Market

We take the street from the Central train station with the lovely royal name Drottninggatan (drottning-queen) and after a while turn right. There it is, hidden between large buildings, one of them the famous blue concert halls annually hosting the Nobel Prize award ceremony, a large street market focused mainly on fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. Unusual for calm Swedish nature, shouting sellers try to sell you big red strawberries during the summer months or tasty yellow chanterelles in autumn. The market is vibrating with colors, pleasant smells and bargaining.

Don’t miss: The fresh chanterelles. You can use them to prepare one of the typical Swedish dishes, the cheese pie.

Go there for fresh seasonal produce, if you wish to experience passionate negotiation and if you’re looking to see a different side of Stockholm.

Hötorget Market Hall

On the corner of the Hötorget Square, facing the lively market, there is a little door to another world. Hötorget Market Hall offers almost everything you could imagine food-wise from nearly all around the globe. The market hall will bring you a multicultural food experience you won’t forget.

Far in the northern Europe, you’ll meet warm Italian delicacies as well as Turkish or Hungarian national specialties. All fresh, all authentic and all available every day year round for reasonable prices.

The hall invites you to a very Swedish yet non-Swedish culinary experience. The history of the market hall falls deep down to the past. The first market hall was built here around the 1880 with 120 places for the sellers inside the building; however, the old market hall was demolished and replaced with a new one in 1958, which is the one we know now. On two floors we can throw ourselves into the wonderful adventure of exploring the world of food from different corners of the planet.

Don’t miss: The Turkiska Delikatesser (Turkish delicatess) for a wide range of burgers, tasty falafel and other Turkish specialties at reasonable prices.

Budget travelers with a rumbling stomach, multi-cultural palates and history buffs should all try this fantastic market.

Östermalm Market Hall

Take a walk from Hötorget alongside the only skyscrapers in Stockholm, under the two bridges on Kungsgatan. You’ll soon reach the posh area called Stureplan, the heart of Östermalm. Don’t stop there.  Carry on and walk past the corner to the left until you see a red-brick building with cute little balloons placed on the wall. You’ve now reached your destination, the premier market hall of Sweden.

Under one roof, all year round, are gathered the top specialties from the Swedish cuisine. Since 1888 the market hall slowly gained its place in the food circles. In fact, it was voted the 7th best food market hall in the world in 2007 along with the market halls in Budapest or Tokyo. Jamie Oliver, the famous London-based chef, mentioned the market hall at Östermalm as one of his favorite places for food shopping.

Don’t miss: Vete-Katten bakery for its fluffy cinnamon rolls, the very best of Swedish sweets.

The key ingredient of the Östermalm Market Hall is the personal service, the feeling you came to buy food from your good friend. The only 17 sellers will be willing to help you with the right choice of products, even to reveal some of their family recipes.

Go there if you wish to taste Sweden, personal service and if you’re a Jamie Oliver fan.

Culinary Stockholm has much to offer for the curious food lovers that prefer quality and fresh, eco-friendly products. Don’t underestimate the cold north and next time when planning your holidays head to Stockholm.

By Jack Franz, a Stockholm tour guide, freelance writer and translator. Check out Jack’s latest project, Playlist, and on Facebook.

Jessie Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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  1. It’s amazing how delicious food looks in Sweden’s markets!

    1. @Geeky Explorer: Agreed!

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