Village of Tastes – Smakbyn in Åland

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Two weeks ago we made a trip to the Åland Islands to go to a wedding (no post on the wedding, sorry!). We also celebrated a friend’s birthday and had an evening out at Michael Björklund’s new place Smakbyn in Kastelholm (Sund, Åland). I wrote about his restaurant last year, Gourmet in Kastelholm, 19 June 2012. He has now got a new place and huge plans.

The new restaurant, Smakbyn, is in a brand new house just a stone cast away from the castle of Kastelholm of the 14 the century, where the Swedish kings, e.g. Gustaf Vasa and Eric the XIV resided in the 17th century when Kastelholm was the centre of Åland.

Michael aka Micke runs the restaurant and a distillery that makes spirits of fruits such as Ålvados which is like Calvados made of Ålandish apples! Cobba Libre (rum) is also quite popular. They give cooking classes and plan to do their own one-year cook education.

Our visit to Smakbyn was splendid – we had a tasting at the distillery,  a guided tour with Micke and dinner, of course.

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We were a party of five so we could try more dishes. The kitchen treated us with a foamy cappuccino of Jerusalem artichokes, an amuse-bouche. For starters we tried soup of crayfish, salmon with fish roe and beets with chèvre. So good!

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White fish with Svärmorslimpa crumbs and soured red onion.

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Local beetroot with honey, goat’s cheese and roasted seeds.

Everyone settled for tenderloin for the main and it was so delicious, served with the kinds of sauces – tomato aioli, mayo and herb butter.

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The main attraction: Tenderloin of beef with three house-made sauces and deep-fried potatoes.

The dessert was a cake. A cake that was taken to the table by the whole kitchen staff singing Happy Birthday!  It was of white chocolate mousse, raspberry mousse and refresh berries. Melted in our mouths! We had no choice but finish the meal with coffee and Ålvados. An excellent meal in great company! Something we will treasure long.

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Michael and Jenny, the wife, have great plans. They are already experimenting with whiskey that should be ready in six years. For that they have built a cellar that today houses some oak casks and that is a scene for larger dinners, choir performances, concerts and the like. And for Michael’s collection of old doors. There is also a wine cellar where companies can hire shelves. There were so many fun stories we were told during the tour!

Smakbyn was opened in November. Next summer there will be a boutique hotel there. Later on a dairy for blue cheese and a butcher’s for making smoked ham nod sausages. They have made long terms plans for the next 14 years! Can’t wait to see how they do and wish them success!
It is good to see how this chef stays true to his origins, promotes local organic food and is devoted to his passion of food and at the same time builds the community, gives a spur to tourism and creates jobs.
Read more about the place at http://www.smakbyn.ax/en

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