A fun and educational way to experience a new place is to eat local food. In Swedish Lapland, we’re very proud of our pure, local products such as berries, game, fish and vendace roe. Since we have a long tradition of curing, smoking and drying our products, it’s easy to get hold of pre-packaged goodies with long shelf life. Goodies that can cope with being thrown around a bit by the baggage handlers. Once you are home, you can surprise your friends with a cool beer served with thin slices of reindeer meat as accompaniment.
If you really want to surprise culinary curious friends, buy a piece of coffee cheese. Coffee boiled over an open fire with cheese in is the epitome of Swedish Lapland for many. It’s a baked cheese that tastes a bit like mozzarella, sharing its ability to pick up other flavours. It’s cut in small dice, then placed in a cup of steaming hot coffee where it stays until it starts to go soft. Then you fish the pieces up with a teaspoon, enjoying the highly satisfactory squeaky texture and lightly salty coffee flavour. It’s also ideal as a dessert. Bake it lightly and serve with cloudberry jam and cream, or vanilla ice-cream.
Since Swedish Lapland is part of the Arctic, there are few vegetable patches here. Historically speaking, we’ve always picked our daily dose of vitamin C in the forest. This means it’s easy to find products based on local berries, such as jams, syrups, cordials, sweets – even beauty products. Not just berries, also spruce, pine and birch. The largest range is available at the Jokkmokk Winter Market, but there are also other local markets, delicatessen, confectioners and souvenir shops with a selection of local berry products.
There are several interesting artisans in Swedish Lapland, many of Sámi origin. Some work according to traditional Sámi handicraft techniques, making cups, knives, scarves and so on. Others make modern interpretations of jewellery and handbags. For the real thing, we suggest a visit to Sámi Duodji, the shop of the Sámi Handicraft Foundation in Jokkmokk. Also, check out the bracelets made by Sara Björne, necklaces made by Erica Huuva, and don’t forget a visit to StoorStålka for some interior decoration for example.
Blankets, mittens, hats and warm socks. These are items you can find everywhere, useful when you least expect it; when your last pair of socks are wet, when the thermometer shows plenty of degrees below zero, or when you find some authentic Lovikka-mittens with your name on them. If you are really set on knitted things, you should get top-notch stuff from Heart of Lovikka, a company that’s taken a century-old tradition of knitted goods to another level. Make sure it’s 100% wool, then it’ll keep you warm for years to come.
Buying a reindeer skin can be tempting, and we’d say: go for it! You can drape it on an armchair or use it as an outdoor yoga mat. But a small word of caution: they shed hair and may tend to smell of – well – reindeer. A couple of well-made leather shoes are fashion-wise a very wise investment. They will always be unique, and the more you use them, the more worn in they are, the cooler they become. Kero makes really amazing shoes, and if you contact them in advance, you can have a pair tailored to your foot and calf size.
Of course, you’re going to find a lot of other nice stuff to catch your eye: local craftspeople and artists, photographers and food artisans are found throughout Swedish Lapland. Local markets and perhaps one or two shopping centres as well. Happy shopping!