The second leg of our West Sweden road trip took us from Gothenburg to the Bohuslän coast. After an hour’s worth of driving, we’d been transported from Gothenburg’s buzzing and lively atmosphere into the serene and rugged coastal landscape of Klädesholmen.
Pickled Herring Lesson at Salt and Sill
Klädesholmen is located towards the south of the Bohuslän Coast, and is known as the herring island. At Klädesholmen you can find boathotel and restaurant, Salt and Sill. Because the Salt and Sill hotel is technically a boat, it’s home to the (officially recognised) world’s fastest sauna. That’s something you don’t come across every day.
In order for us to get a taste for the process of pickling herring, we began our visit with a course. We were given a selection of prepared ingredients, and two recipes used by Salt and Sill. This was a completely new experience for me, having only tried pickled herring once before visiting Sweden. Thankfully the folks of Salt and Sill made the process easy to follow.
Christmas Buffet at Salt and Sill
After our pickled herring course it was time for a festive buffet lunch at the Salt and Sill restaurant. The restaurant specialises in local seafood and herring. In fact, they offer the largest selection of pickled herring in Sweden, with no less than 36 varieties. We began our meal with Swedish Glögg (mulled wine), before piling our plates high with local seafood and fresh salads. There is an entire room dedicated to desserts, candy and cheese. Being a group of Instagrammers and bloggers we were in our element, especially as the room was flooded with lovely diffused light.
A night at Hallins Hus, Slussens Pensionat
An hour North of Klädesholmen, at the top of Orust, lies Slussens Pensionat. The family-run hotel is known for its vibrant and popular music scene in the Summer months. As Summer draws to a close, Slussens Pensionat closes and its sister, Hallins Hus, opens its doors. Unlike Slussens Pensionat, Hallins Hus is a quiet and intimate retreat, with an emphasis on culinary experience. There are just 24 spaces available, and meals are served across two large tables.
Sulssens Pensionat and Hallins Hus are owned by Vibs and Robert Sohlberg. Their son, Julian, is sommelier, and has experience working as a head waiter. Needless to say, there was a welcoming family feel to the place. We arrived at Hallins Hus in the early evening. Vibs welcomed us inside for Fika (the Swedish coffee break with friends/colleagues). We watched the sun set over the sea, whilst enjoying some warm Lucia buns and fresh coffee.
We had a bit of time before dinner. Our guide, Sanna, encouraged us to try the tradition of Winter bathing. In between Sulssens Pensionat and Hallins Hus lies a sauna cabin, situated against the edge of the sea. I won’t lie, the idea of jumping into the cold water after a sauna was pretty alien to me. But I was so glad we tried it. It was certainly the time which I laughed the most on the trip, and it was actually very refreshing.
After winter bathing it was time for dinner. I’ve had tasting menus before – perhaps around six to eight courses. This one was on another level. We were given 12 locally sourced Christmas dishes, with surprise items in between. The menu was paired with a selection of wines, and non-alcoholic drinks for me. As someone who doesn’t really drink, I always appreciate when the same amount of thought goes into both the alcohol-free and alcohol selection.
The next morning we took a leisurely breakfast and watched the sun rise from the balcony before heading back to Gothenburg. It was amazing to experience both Gothenburg and the Bohuslän Coast. They are two very different but equally wonderful parts of West Sweden.
Special thanks to West Sweden for providing me with this experience. Head to the West Sweden website to learn more about this beautiful region.