Swedish lunch, Embassy of Sweden, Delhi, India

Nobel Memorial Week celebrated at the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi

We might know little about the culture of this quiet country in Europe but we do know that this is where the Nobel Prize comes from. Sweden is where great minds are awarded for their innovations, inventions and research. Celebrating this reason, the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi hosted a masterclass by Nobel Chef Mark Phoenix and Chef Fredrick Forsell. The Nobel Week celebrations happen worldwide during October.

Ambassador's residence, Embassy of Swden, Delhi, IndiaWords and photos: Ambica Gulati

The Ceremonies in December http://www.nobelprize.org/ceremonies/archive/

At the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, Europe, on 10 December, presentation speeches extoll the Nobel Laureates and their discovery or work, after which His Majesty the King of Sweden hands each Laureate a diploma and a medal. The event is followed by the Nobel Banquet, with 1,300 guests, held at the Blue Hall of the Stockholm City Hall since 1934.

In Oslo, Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize is presented by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Norway, the Norwegian government, Storting representatives and an invited audience. Several hundred seats are reserved for persons with special reasons for wishing to attend the ceremony.

Chefs taking msterclass, Embassy of Sweden, Delhi, India
Chef Fredrick Forsell (in black) and Nobel Chef Mark Phoenix

Back in Delhi
It’s not common to find Swedish cuisine in Delhi. So a live demo by the Chefs was a treat. And that too in the manicured lawns of HE Ambassador of Sweden to India Harald Sandberg’s residence. Even as the fountain flowed rhythmically at the back, the humble Chefs gave us a treat to three dishes—Toast Skagen, Rodbetscarpaccio and Rårakor, which were  cooked well, light to eat and healthy I would say, for there was almost no oil, minimal salt, seafood and ample greens.

What made up each dish
Toast Skagen, Sweden
Toast Skagen was delicately boiled prawns, diced with care, layered in mayo and lime and served on bread.

Rodbetscarpaccio, SwedenRodbetscarpaccio was beetroot carpaccio with horseradish cremefraiche and rocket salad.

Rårakor, SwedenRårakor was fresh potao patties with cremefraiche, chopped red onion and Swedish caviar.

*The caviar and horseradish had come from Sweden with the Chefs.

My Swedish discovery
A glass of juice in my hand and a pen and paper in the other, I juggled between conversing with the HE the Ambasador’s lovely wife, Else Sandberg and trying to find out more about the country, its people and cuisine.

And what I found—Swedish people love to eat fish, apple and game. It is a beautiful place with forests and people actually go picking berries and mushrooms. The Sandbergs live in a village which has 200 inhabitants and in the middle of a small forest. And Mrs Sandberg makes berry dishes for her grandchildren and all of them pick berries. Organic is not a separate term as the country is conducive to growing crops without much need of pesticides. A good time to visit is autumn. The country also has many restaurants serving global cuisines, including Indian.

There is less use of spices, once upon a time only salt and pepper were found in the dishes. During Christmas cookies with cloves, cinnamon and ginger were a luxury. Not any more though, as the world has become a global village and trade between countries has grown.

India treats for HE Mr Sandberg and his wife
The sauve couple has been living in India for over three years now. They have travelled to Rajasthan, Kerala, Khajuraho, Guwahati, Kolkata, Bandhavgarh, Simla, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Dishes they like are butter chicken and dosas. And a dish Mrs Sandberg has learned to make is chicken curry.

Our lunch treat
Swedish lunch, Embassy of Sweden, Delhi, India
As Mrs Sandberg talked about berries, she treated us to lingonberries parfait after a very Swedish meal. This comprised cold tomato soup with garlic bread, dil potatoes and an absolutely pink Salmon which had come from Norway for this lunch. And we wound up this lovely afternoon with a round of green tea and black coffee.

And as we walked out through the green lawns, a flash of dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel came before the eyes. If he had not spread the word about felicitating inventions, we would not have been privy to this meal.

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