The summer holidays are upon us and the promise of 6 weeks of fun (and exhaustion!) with my crazy brood. After a few days at home after the kids finished school we have been fortunate enough to spend an incredible week in Sweden. My brother in law and his wife live fairly near Stockholm with my adorable 1 year old nephew and whilst we have visited before it has always been a bit of a whistle stop tour. This time we were determined to stay a lot the longer and explore some parts we hadn't been to before.
We spent the first few days in a hotel in the gorgeous Haga park and even managed to squeeze in a run around the lake. Keeping up my running schedule during the holidays is proving tricky!
A visit to the highly recommended Viking exhibition at the museum was top of the boy's list of things to do and we were pleasantly surprised to find a cafe well stocked with a range of vegan salads and even Oatly ice creams! After a few hours of archery, tug of war and other Viking related activities we were ready for dinner so headed into a neighbourhood of the city in search of an elusive vegan Chinese restaurant. The thing about Stockholm though is that much of the city shuts down in July as most people take this time as their annual holiday.... Said restaurant was indeed shut for the summer but we will definitely try it next time. Instead we stumbled upon a fabulous Indian cafe/restaurant who could not have been more accommodation with our dietary requirements. Delicious vegan thalis all round with mountains of poppadoms and gluten free onion bhaji pieces made with gram flour. Happy days.
We also took a couple of trips into the old town of Stockholm, visiting a couple of my brother in laws favourite coffee shops and buying some beans to being home. The whole area had a lively vibe not unlike the North Laine area of Brighton and the coffee was goooood! Delicious flat whites made with Oatly barista milk and raw vegan cakes. Take me back...
The second part of our week was spent in a fantastic house we rented through Airbnb in the Stockholm archipelago. It's the first time I've used Airbnb and I was suitably impressed. The house was large, with a great garden for the children and the setting couldn't have been more perfect. We spent the next few days in a blissful haze of beach walks, lake swimming, forest exploring and wonderful family time.
We self catered during this part of the week and generally found the supermarkets to be very well stocked with vegan and gluten free options. As in the UK the larger stores held a wider range but it was easy for us to find what we needed. Interestingly Sweden seems to have a huge number of lactose free/laktosfri products so if you are vegan or intolerant to milk protein itself it is important to make sure you check the products are milk free/mjölkfri.
One of the things I got really quite overexcited about was the sheer number of Oatly products on offer. Much to my brother in laws amusement I purchased one of every available product! The range was huge compared to at home and included ice creams, yoghurt, cream cheese, Creme fraiche, smoothies, custard and many flavoured milks. The cream cheese especially became a firm favourite with the kids and I'm pretty gutted we can't get more of these products at home. Oatly seem like a really fabulous company with good ethics and they hint that their product line will be further expanding outside of Sweden in the future so fingers crossed!
All in all we found it to be a wonderful country to visit with heaps to do for small children and easy to travel with regards to food. We already have plans to return next year and I'm hoping to run the Stockholm marathon.
In a Swedish related side note the day after we got back we found ourselves in IKEA buying some bits to finish off the house. They now sell a vegan (and gluten free) version of their ever famous meatballs served with a surprisingly tasty salad. Good to know if you ever find yourself that way....
Well that's enough rambling from me for now, hoping to get some new recipes up soon. We've been experimenting with some lovely summer salads, veg packed curries and a nearly perfected vegan millionaires shortbread... Watch this space and enjoy your holidays xx