KLADESHOLMEN, Sweden----The mind can drift when you travel alone.
I was having lunch on the outdoor patio at the acclaimed Salt & Sill, a restaurant and floating hotel on the Marstrand Fjord about an hour northwest of Gothenburg.
Kladesholmen is a fishing village that dates back to the 15th century when its winding streets were lined with salting houses and canneries. The Salt & Sill restaurant is only 10 years old but it celebrates one of Sweden's oldest food traditions:
So I had to have the Sillplanka (pickled herring board) with a half dozen very unique herrings (195 SEK; or $25.31 USD).
There was a wonderfully rich blackcurrant herring, homegrown dill and lemon snap herring, "The Herring of the Year" (homegrown malt whiskey snaps and mustard) and horseradish and bacon herring.......
Did I mention rhuburba and vanilla snaps herring and dill and coriander herring (which was my least favorite of the grouping)?
For some reason I thought of comedian Kip Adotta's ballad "Wet Dream," which I knew I had on vinyl back home in Chicago. Its pretty funny--in small doses.
In the song, Kip walks to the Oyster Bar, a real "dive," where the owner used to play for the Dolphins. Adotta kind of raps, "....I said HI GIL!. You have to yell, he's hard of herrring." Here's the rest:
The Great Herring Period in the West Sweden region was between 1748-1808. Locals learned how to make spiced herring and sprat and sold a variety of pickled herring, The art of spicing and pickling was learned from recipes purchased from wholesale dealers.
According to Salt & Sill, today production comes from just one company: Kladesholmen Seafood AB. Some of the company owners are fifth generation. Almost half of all Swedish pickled herring comes from Kladesholmen, much of it under other brand names. The restaurant sells about 60 pounds of herring a month.
Salt & Sill is Sweden's first floating hotel. It is built on floating pontoons but permanently moored. I didn't spend the night, but the groupers of six hotel modules (with 46 beds) looked to be spacious and tranquil. The pontoons are a home for shells and mussels, acting as a natural purification plant for life below water level. A reef outside the hotel was created to benefit lobster and shellfish.
If you spent the night here I bet you could be as happy as a clam.