So, you are preparing to score that elusive reservation at Fäviken. You are open to travelling to the remote northern reaches of Sweden, have set aside an open time frame and have made yourself willing to go ahead with the upfront non-refundable payment of SEK 3,000 (roughly £270) per person for food alone. Actually securing the reservation aside, you are almost there…[Although, not really if you were planning on visiting in 2016, as they are currently fully booked until the end of the year].
I really don’t want to stress you out any further than necessary when it comes to nailing that reservation, but…do not miss out on booking the on-site accommodation.
Now here is the tricky part: the dining room seats 16 guests, with an additional 8 spaces available at the downstairs communal table…however, only 5 rooms are available, each of which can accommodate a maximum of 2 guests. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate that not everyone dining at Fäviken will be able to sleep over.
On our recent visit, we were lucky enough to nab one of the coveted rooms. Without an ounce of exaggeration, I must say that our experience at Fäviken was enhanced 100 times over simply by having the opportunity to stay.
Although nice, it was not the room itself that made our time at Fäviken exemplary. Rather, it was the ample amount of time it afforded both before and after dinner. Check-in was at 4:00PM, which meant that we had time to explore the property and enjoy its surrounds. This inevitably led to us whiling away a leisurely couple of hours over a wine (or two) in the front yard.
It is hard to adequately describe just how magical it was to sit there, watching the sun set on the expanse of green that stretched beyond the enclave that was Fäviken. A view straight through into the cooking area nearby meant that we could observe the highly disciplined kitchen team hard at work, seamlessly moving between stations, prepping and cooking the meal that was to come. Intermittently, one member or another would race out into the surrounding forest and fields to gather additional ingredients. If that doesn’t signify a special dinner to come, then I don’t know what does…locally-sourced, seasonal food indeed.
After dinner, we found ourselves huddled around a roaring open fire in the teepee snug with a nightcap and a round of cigars. Knowing that bed was a mere stone’s throw away made for a relaxed end to the night and we happily whiled away the late evening hours over many drinks, many stories and many laughs. This proved to be a highlight of the trip and it is from this window of time that I carry the warmest of memories. The very thought of having to cut the night short and pile into a taxi to be delivered back within the realms of reality at a faraway hotel just makes me sad. Don’t let that be you…
As far as the accommodation itself went, the room was simple but elegant, put together in that chic Nordic style that I have grown to love. Flowers on the windowsill and fur throws on the comfortable beds made for a warm and cosy space.
Whilst I would have preferred a private bathroom [NB: the room did have its own wash basin and vanity], the shared bathroom [a collection of words which would usually have me running for the hills] across the hall did not bother me greatly as they were spotless, close by and uncrowded. Furthermore, the presence of a beautiful blonde-wood sauna, complete with snacks and, more to the point, a self-service bar, more than made up for this shortfall.
And then there was breakfast. Now, I am not generally a morning person – but perhaps I would be if my day started with a spread like the one they put on at Fäviken. Generous quarters of Oviken cheese lay begging to be sliced alongside heaping mounds of cured ham and smoked reindeer heart. In addition, a selection of spreads – trout pâté topped with brown butter, black grouse liver pâté and fresh whey cheese – were provided to slather onto more of the previous night’s deliciously crusty sourdough bread.
…As if that wasn’t enough to do it, I would certainly be completely sold on the concept of breakfast if I were able to get even the most average of days rolling with a taste of the magical-sounding cloud berry. This was served in the form of a compote to be spooned freely over my first taste of långfil – the signature ropey yoghurt of Jämtland. Texturally challenging at first, come the end of the bowl, it was nothing but love.
Served with pureed trout roe and lovage salt, a sweet little nest of perfectly soft-boiled eggs rounded out our morning feast. Everything was washed down with lingonberry juice…what else would it be? How very Swedish.
I am a big believer in the idea of no single thing ever being better or worse. Overly positive? Perhaps. But what I am trying to stumble across is that everything is simply different. Except in this instance, because I think that staying at Fäviken is better. This is likely to come down to the fact that Fäviken is as much about the place as it is about the food they serve. Would I have been so completely blown away if I was sitting in a city centre, working my way through the exact same 32 courses? Undoubtedly, no.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Fäviken is so much more than a restaurant. And this was so much more than dinner. It was a journey, a lesson and a fully-immersive experience. Staying the night enabled us to absorb it all and really live in the special moment that only a place like Fäviken can provide.
Worth the arduous journey and high expense? Absolutely. Travel, eat, stay and enjoy.
The Finer Details:
– Spread across 5 individual tables, a total of 16 spaces are available in the dining room. There is an additional communal table downstairs, which can seat up to 8 guests.
– One tasting menu is available to all diners and this is priced at SEK 3,000 (approximately £270), plus an additional SEK 1,750 (approximately £155) should you wish to include matched wines.
– 5 twin rooms are available, currently priced at SEK 2,500 (approximately £220) per couple, per night. This is inclusive of breakfast the following morning.