One of the first things I discovered when coming to Paris was a small café in the heart of the noisy Marais neighbourhood. I used to go there pretending I was in Stockholm rather than Paris and order my coffee and cake in Swedish (which I was learning at the time) still intimidated by speaking French. The café is actually part of the Swedish cultural centre, Institut Suédois, located in the beautiful Hôtel de Marle.
Just like all the other similar places in Paris, this little café serving cakes, soups and sandwiches is always packed with tourists, Swedish students or expats and locals in a search for a good cake and coffee at affordable prices. However, put aside the great Swedish fruit cakes and cinnamon buns, French will often make a strange facial expression if you mention Swedish gastronomy. This is why I was very pleased when I heard that the M.I.A.M. magazine and the Swedish Institute invited couple of renowned Swedish chefs, Petter Nilsson, Magnus Ek, Ola Rudin, Sebastian Persson, Danyel Couet, to present some of their Swedish specialities in the form of a small dish or an appetizer to the French public.
The event was held in the backyard of the Institute. The beautiful inner garden was decorated with colourful lamps and gazebo tents were put out in the open where the chefs prepared the meals on the spot.
I tasted Petter Nilsson’s (a chef who owns a restaurant La Gazzetta in Paris) cabbage and lingonberry salad with a touch of herring powder. After all, what would a Swedish cuisine be without lingonberry and some good old herring? After the backyard main dish party the event continued at the Institute’s café. I went for a taste of Swedish kanelbulle – cinnamon roll – and a piece of fruit pie accompanied with a glass of inevitable elderberry cordial.
Today, October 4th, is Kanebullens dag or Cinnamon roll day, so hurry up over to the Café Suédois to celebrate this event. At the moment the Institute holds a temporary exhibition of August Strindberg’s photographs which is beside of eating a cinnamon roll one reason more to visit the Institut Suédois.
11 rue Payenne