Järpen, Sweden

Photo: Patrik Neckman (Flickr: Fäviken i solnedgång) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Patrik Neckman (Flickr: Fäviken i solnedgång) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
How far would you travel for a memorable meal? New York or Paris? Of course. Copenhagen or San Sebastián? Definitely. Reykjavík, Lima, or Tokyo? Why not? But what about a remote part of northern Sweden? It better be epic.

Fäviken is one of the most isolated restaurants in the world. It’s located 750 kilometers north of Stockholm in Jämtland. After flying to Åre or Trondheim, Norway, drive to Järpen, a small town that’s home to less than 1,500 people. It’s here, on a 20,000-acre reserve, that you find Fäviken, where chef Magnus Nilsson focuses on the cycle of the seasons and local traditions long forgotten.

You arrive at Fäviken to find an 18th-century grain store that’s been converted into a restaurant and a hotel. Pine beams, lamb-skin-draped chairs, and drying herbs fill the building. Gardens, dormant most of the year, are now overflowing with colorful vegetables. The root store, set deep in the hillside, looks like a hobbit’s house. The canning and the brining will resume there soon. While your simple room—you certainly won’t want to drive after tonight’s dinner—has thick blankets and a shared bathroom. A beer and a charcuterie board are awaiting you in the sauna.

Dinner begins promptly at 7 pm. Snacks—like flaxseed crisps with mussel dip, trout roe with crusty dried pig’s blood, and aged salted herring—and rhubarb wine are served at the zinc-topped bar. Dinner once featured warm (read: freshly extracted) bone marrow. Now you’re served the biggest scallop you’ve ever seen over burning juniper berry. Trout arrives with bog butter buried in peat. Blood bread is presented with moose broth. Your drink is, dangerously, never empty. While Brussels sprout steam rises from monkfish. You’ve eaten almost 20 courses before dessert is announced. Quite full, you take just small bites of honey pie and still-fermenting yogurt with raspberry juice. Yet you can’t resist devouring the spruce ice cream.

It seems like the meal, make that the experience, would be over at this point. But it’s not. Move back to the bar for beeswax-coated seeds, instead of the typical chocolate-covered petit fours, and homemade liqueur. Then head outside to the tepee—yes, tepee—for Negronis by a crackling fire. You’ll be talking about this experience for years to come.

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