The Nordic cuisine based on local terroir is quite the hype globally. But where did it start? Maybe here at PM & Vänner situated in Växjö in the middle of the forest of Sweden. PM & Vänner was started in 1992 and already in 1994 they started to try to capture their local terroir. Their name for it in 1994 was Forest, Meadow and Lake which besides a couple of towns is all you will find in this part of Sweden. Even today PM & Vänner still have Forest, Meadow and Lake as their guiding light for not just the food.
So the majority of the ingredients in their menu are sourced in maximum a 90 minutes car ride from their restaurant. It can be local perch from the lakes, cheese from local dairy, wild garlic and mushrooms from the forests. A lot of herbs and greens are even grown in their own garden and greenhouse close to the restaurant.
The regional focus goes further than just the food. This is the region where IKEA comes from, it is a region characterised by its frugal thinking where you do not let things get wasted. So you will find nose to tail ingredients in the food and herbs and plants which normally might not be used but with honest and hard work (which this part of Sweden is known for) pleasure can come from it. The famous Swedish botanist Carl von Linné who taught us that there are families of plants coming from this part of Sweden, so for example through the years PM & Vänner has worked with over 70 different types of potatoes. Astrid Lindgren is Sweden’s most famous childrens writer, also from this part of Sweden (called Småland), she created characters like Pippi Longstocking. Her straightforward, playful thinking is evident in the straightforward playful menu.
The interior is also terroir based. Ingegerd Råman, one of Sweden’s leading glass artists has designed several glass and tableware, but also helped out in advising on the rest of the interior which is made by local furniture makers.
So if you are interested in Scandinavian local terroir, a trip to Växjö and PM & Vänner is where you can enjoy someone who has been improving it for quite some time.
If you also are interested in terroir wine then you have to go there. There are almost 2,500 references in their cellar with about 90 percent European, making it one of the better cellars in Northern Europe. The focus of the wines is also terroir, of course not local Swedish, but that the wines should express terroir wherever they may come from.
So if a sense of origin is something you crave, be it wines from around the world or local Scandinavian food, PM & Vänner will not let you down. And neither will they if you are “just” into great tastes of food and wine.
Written by Joakim