Food markets – Rosendals Trädgård, Stockholm
When thinking about ways and means to describe the identity of a given country, food is unquestionably one of the options -if not the main one. Because of its unique bound with people and its essential role in everyday’s life, food is the perfect tool through which anyone can wrap up centuries of history and miles of landscape. But besides vineyards, agricultural fields and oceans, there’s another specific place where food plays as the storyteller of a whole community: the market. These boxes full of smells, colours and flavours have an essential role in every city. Markets reflect the taste of their community, as well as the needs and its resilience. They can be easily pointed out as the main stage for geopolitical processes, human innovation, cultural change and exchange, that have the same kind of impact of seasons, terroir and biodiversity in every foodstuff available on earth.
So how would you describe the love of Scandinavian people for outdoor activities and their care for organic products, if not with a greenhouse market? Not so hidden in one of the islands that form the city of Stockholm, the Rosendals Trädgård (literally: the rose valley) welcomes locals and visitors for some flowers and vegetables shopping or even for an afternoon fika, the typical Swedish break with coffee and sweets.
The history of this beautiful garden and its greenhouse dates back in the 17th century, when King Karl XIV Johan, together with architects Frederick Blom, transformed some lands destined to pasture into an English garden. From that moment on, every member and heir of the Swedish royal family took great care of the fields. Rosendal Garden literally bloomed with Queen Josephine in 1861, who settled an academy for gardeners -following the example of the London Royal Horticultural Society.
Today, Rosendals Trädgård is an open garden managed by an independent foundation, whose main goal is to raise awareness on biodynamic farming through workshops, classes, exhibitions and, of course, shopping. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as more than 50 varieties of roses, can be purchased directly from the garden: visitors are encouraged to stroll around the field, choose their products and pick them up from the ground or the tree. The cash desk is at the exit of what seems to be a perfect reproduction of the labyrinth of Alice in Wonderland. For those with a green thumb or every wannabe gardener, the main greenhouse hosts a plant shop with a great variety of local seeds, bulbs and sprouts, together with turf, aromatic herbs and mediterranean trees like lemon, olive and fig trees.
Moving to the next greenhouse, furnished with long wooden tables and decorated with colourful ribbons, the kitchen team of the bistro transforms the freshly-picked products into tasty and healthy meals. Veggie soups and salads with a typical Swedish twist are served with warm bread baked in their wooden oven – just perfect to dip into some crème fraiche or to make scarpetta in what’s left of a lentil and tomato soup. And if you’re still craving for carbohydrates even after a sumptuous lunch, the bakery next door sells warm wholegrain loaves wrapped in yellow paper to take home together with the other groceries. Desserts of all kinds and sorts (with a generous dust of cinnamon and cardamom) are available all day long: a more traditional and international carrot cake is lined up with fragrant kanellbullar, the Swedish cinnamon roll. Not to forget the sweet tooth of Swedes that typically rouses on Saturdays: liquorice candy stones and fruit jellies are also available at the market.
Rosendals Trädgård, is a full, vibrant experience in deep contact with nature and its seasons. A little shopping through the fields and the greenhouses, and anyone can bring some nature home.
Author Francesca Mastrovito
115 21 Stockholm
April – September: everyday, 11:00-17:00
October – March: everyday, 11:00-16:00
22nd December – 3rd January // 21st June – 23rd June: closed
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