There is a video of Magnus Nilsson explaining his food to René Redzepi, the celebrated chef of the former #1 restaurant in the world, Noma. The video is raw, unedited, and uploaded some time ago in 2010. At the time, Magnus was a little-known chef with a 16-seat restaurant in northern Sweden called, Faviken. René seemed bored, yet possibly intimidated.
That video was my introduction to Faviken.
For 6 years, dinner at Faviken remained a crazy idea--achievable but ridiculously impractical. In June it happened thanks to a supportive nudge from Firefly, Pedro’s, Lizard Skins, Vittoria, and more importantly, the emphatic, “Yes! Let’s bike there,” from my partner-in-crime, Jessie Beck.
A dinner at Faviken is like having a bike made by Tyler, Jamie, Kevin, and Daniel--you have to wait a long time. Tables at Faviken become available every 6 months and are snatched-up rather quickly. But once on the reservation list, the fun begins. There’s the planning. The day dreaming. The researching of every photo and video available on the internet. And then all of a sudden, Jessie and I are packed into the belly of a plane routed from San Francisco to Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm > Uppsala > Gävle > Söderhamn > Sundsvall > Bispgarden > Östersund > Fäviken
Riding through Sweden in June is an exercise of patience. Endless green landscapes. Rolling scenery. Roads unexpectedly turning into gravel paths that lead to thundershowers over green-green fields. If you wait long enough, on the side of the road a moose might rear its head.
There was rain, and wet socks, and rope swings behind red barns. There were amazing burgers, and craft beers, and pickled herring for breakfast. There were rivers teeming with trout, and train tracks lined with ultraviolet lupin, and miles of unexpected gravel roads lined with moose hunting stands. There was that one night where we were stuck in a thunderstorm and the owner of a food stand invited us to see refuge in a Thai Monastery.
Riding in Sweden was an endless adventure under a sun that never seemed to set.
We made one friend, too, a cyclist who started in Milan headed to Europe’s most northern town to see the Midnight Sun, and we shared cookies and tried our best to decipher which lines on our Google Maps would guide us best.
But for most days, it was just Jessie, me, and our bikes.
457 miles after we later, we arrived at the dream we had been anticipating for so long. Stay tuned for part two featuring our extraordinary meal at Faviken and the matching ride home.