Inside Johan Widing’s Kitchen

10th March 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Noemie Reijnen

The Skåne farmer and restaurant supplier recommends ice cider from the north of Sweden and dusts off a 30-year-old ingredient from his basement


Grandmother’s pickled chanterelles
Johan goes down to his dark basement and comes back bearing a dusty glass jar. “My grandmother was born in 1913 and died more than 10 years ago. When we were clearing out her house, I found these pickled chanterelles. Instead of being chucked out, they got to move into my basement instead. They’re probably 25 or 30 years old but I’d say they’re okay to eat – it’s just salt and vinegar around it and they look pretty good. (We found preserved meat as well, but I left the pork chops behind.) It reminds me of my childhood: sitting in her kitchen and eating boiled meat dishes, everything from the farm. It’s not every year you have chanterelles, so whenever she found them she would pickle them.” (pictured above)

Butter Vikings butter »
Johan is a big fan of the Butter Viking (aka Patrik Johansson), who was until recently based in Småland but has now moved to the Isle of Wight in England. His extraordinary “virgin butter” is served at Noma in Copenhagen.

Brännland ice cider »
“This is like an ice wine, but produced with Swedish apples in the northern Swedish cold. It shows that you can find a lot of really good local stuff: instead of needing a [Hungarian] Tokaji sweet wine, for example, you can try something like this from Sweden. You come here and taste something you wouldn’t find anywhere else.” (pictured below)

Abba pickled herring »
“This is a mild-flavoured herring pickled with sugar, salt, vinegar, dill, nutmeg, cinnamon etc – it’s a lot nicer than the fermented one [Johan is referring to the crazy Swedish delicacy Surströmming]. You can buy a locally produced one but this brand is fine. The advantage of not being a chef is that you can buy these things in cans rather than having to make your own.” Johan serves us herring as a starter with boiled potatoes, soured cream and chives. (pictured below)




Old-fashioned ice cream churn »
“My mother-in-law lived a lot in the US and one of the things she brought back was a hand crank for ice cream. When I first came here, you’d have to spend half an hour cranking it to make ice cream – it was very special. Now they have a motor and you can just leave it running, but you still have to pack it with ice and salt.”


Hemmets Kokbok »
“We use old classic Swedish ‘home’ cookbooks the most. Everything from brining a tongue to making sausage, you find in it. This one we probably found in a flea market – it’s the 44th edition, from 1957. It’s good for basic recipes, ideas and raw basic knowledge about food. If you have a piece of brisket or something, you can always look at that and get inspiration when it comes to flavours.” – Johan

Relae: A book of ideas, Christian Puglisi »
“A chef from Relae [in Copenhagen] visited the farm last year. Their cookbook is really good.”

Regional matkultur : terroir i matlandet Sverige, Martin Ragnar »
“This one is not quite a cookbook – it translates as Regional Food Cultures in Sweden. The author is a friend of mine. He talks about how we could make better use of Swedish ingredients – bringing in local components that would work on pizza, for example.”

Posted 10th March 2015

In Things


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Noemie Reijnen

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