Fäviken Magasinet – World Class Food

If Fäviken were not based in the heart of Jämtland, Magus Nilsson probably could not have turned it into one of the world’s top restaurants. The Ostersund-born chef credits his isolated region for inspiring the creativity that lures visitors from all around the world to sample his legendary cooking.

Less is more

Less is more for this talented cook who relies on Jämtland’s forests, lakes, and soil to supply almost everything he serves over 32 courses each night at Fäviken.

Nilsson believes his limited larder helps him to invent new recipes. Not being in a big city, with access to produce from all over the world, prompts him to find different solutions with world renowned results.

 

Dining room at Fäviken Magasinet | Photo: Erik Olsson
In Nilsson’s magical hands, mycelium – a type of fungus – growing on a bale of straw becomes a broth. He transforms the wildflowers that carpet the mountains in summer into a chocolate-like disc to slip under a piece of meat, makes crisps out of linseed, and ferments lupin seeds instead of soy beans to create a curd similar to silken tofu.

Sami techniques

The 33-year-old chef is drawing on hundreds of years of regional food culture that has evolved to tolerate the extremes of an environment where the sun shines for 24 hours a day at the height of summer and the temperature drops to -40C in the depths of winter. He borrows foraging and hunting techniques from the native Sami people, salting, drying, and preserving the bounty of the warmer months to keep the restaurant going until spring.

 

One of more than 30 courses at Fäviken Magasinet
One of 32 courses served each night at Fäviken Magasinet | Photo: Erik Olsson

Fäviken, which is based in Jarpen, 750km from Stockholm, relies on produce grown or caught on the restaurant’s 20,000-acre grounds or very nearby, from fish to beef. The only exceptions are salt, sugar, and alcoholic vinegar.

For Nilsson, who trained at a cooking school in nearby Åre, Sweden’s biggest ski resort, local vegetables are particularly important. Each January, when he is choosing which crops to plant in spring, he is already thinking about how to serve what he will eventually harvest. He has hundreds of research projects under way to develop techniques for cultivating herbs, vegetables and even fish.

 

Fäviken Magasinet in Järpen, Jämtland
Fäviken Magasinet in Järpen, Jämtland | Photo: Erik Olsson

Masters of gastronomy

Fia Guliksson, a local gastronomic entrepreneur and regional food champion, says Jämtland is special because “we’ve never been industrialised, so our artisan knowledge never died; we never had to reinvent it, how to grow produce and forage. That is why we have so many artisan food producers – around 220 in a region with a population of just 123,000.”

These include Oviken Ost, a cheese maker from Oviken, near Ostersund, that uses unpasteurised raw milk. The farm has been run by the same family – the Åkermos – since the fourteenth century.

Jämtland would be polar if not for the Gulf Stream, making it possible to grow similar crops to countries like the UK, although at a much slower pace. With patience, comes flavour. “A raspberry that takes 40 days to ripen will only have 30 per cent of the aroma and taste of one that takes 90 days to ripen. The closer to the edge of a plant’s possible growth zone you are, the more flavour some fruit has,” says Nilsson.

Chefs aren’t the region’s only beneficiaries. Companies like tentmaker Hilleberg and Trangia, the iconic stove maker, were started in Jämtland to create products so that locals could enjoy the landscape on their doorstep. Much like Fäviken.

Fäviken Magasinet world class food
"With patience comes flavour" says Magnus Nilsson | Photo: Erik Olsson
Magnus Nilsson, head chef Fäviken Magasinet, Järpen Sweden
Magnus Nilsson, head chef at Fäviken Magasinet in Järpen | Photo: Erik Olsson