Patrik Strömsten, perhaps the best sommelier in Sweden, lives highest up and furthest away in Sweden. He loves skiing and life. Maybe that’s why he’s got such a keen nose for wine.
— Might I tempt you with an after-dinner tequila?
— Quite a pleasant Herradura, aged in oak casks. And, well, don’t take this the wrong way Håkan, but this is completely different to the tequila you used to drink when you were young.
I look at Patrik Strömsten, known as ’Strumpan’, in his blue sommelier’s apron as he smiles at me. I know he’s not trying to trick me, because here at Meteorologen they don’t serve the kind of tequila I used to drink when I was young. But last time I had tequila it ended badly, so…
— Yes, of course. Why not?
— Excellent. You’ll be surprised.
— I’m sure.
Patrik Strömsten is a well-known figure for travellers and skiers at Riksgränsen. Even if he looks like a young lad with his long blond hair and well-trained physique, he’s been here for 25 seasons running. Managing one of the best hotels in Lapland wasn’t always the obvious choice. Strumpan was a promising goalie for Kiruna AIF ice hockey team when a friend asked if he wanted to join him at the Loussavaara ski slope in Kiruna for some skiing. Patrik had never stood on a pair of slalom skis – it wasn’t part of his childhood – but he tagged along anyway. Click, clack went the skis as he put them on. Something else inside of him also went CLICK. He skied just as well as the others, straight away. Then he left them behind.