Well, I won’t pretend that I wasn’t thrilled to be hosted to experience having dinner at Helsingborg, Sweden’s Sofiero Castle. The castle was a retreat palace and summer palace for the Swedish royal family until 1973, when King Gustaf Adolf willed it to the City of Helsingborg. A grand restaurant is now in the palace. On the grounds, there are frequent live concerts, with the likes of Bob Dylan and Bryan Adams taking the stage. The castle, as well can be imagined, is gorgeous. In the restaurant, you’ll find antiques and oil portraits of important members of the Swedish Royal Family. Lighting is elegant and well, light. You wouldn’t imagine furtive, subdued lighting in a modern castle, right? Save that stuff for the Middle Ages.
The reigning Swedish Royal family sometimes does eat here, to bring back the good memories. Definitely dress for dinner!
Dinner started out with hors d’oeuvres: white radishes with sour cream, house-made langoustine crackers and pork crackers. They were like light little crisps in a fun, large size. This lets you know that dining at Sofiero Castle is a gourmet, but not “precious” experience. You’re here to relax!
The amuse bouche sent by the chef was garden mushrooms, celery, tomatoes and apples with dots of fois gras.
Bread service was a beautifully presented plate with house made Swedish rye crisps, aioli and butter.
The next course was duck liver in red wine glaze with pickled chanterelles. It was garnished with edible flowers, micro greens, crushed nuts and shaved carrots. It lighted and made more delicate a meaty appetizer, brightened in color and flavor by the accompaniments.
The entree’ was venison with “black root,” apple cream, blood sauce and grainy mustard. Game with antlers in general is popular in Sweden. I learned at the palace that in the right hands, game doesn’t have to taste “gamy”. The flavors of Fall were masterfully brought out in the perfectly cooked — moist, not dry — venison.
Dessert was a marble plank carrying a symphony of raspberries: puree, fresh, pulp, along with house-made pistachio ice cream.