As many of you know, I am married to a Swedish farmer and, although no longer farming, we keep a smallholding in Sweden, growing vegetables, making meadow hay, welcoming our family and maintaining our connections with Slow Food, in particular Slow Food Scania. Indeed Bosse and I first met when he attended Terra Madre in 2006 with the Slow Food Scania delegation as at that time he was farming in Skåne. Skåne is highly regarded as a world food destination with many famous chefs and much food production however now with a wee croft in Småland, I would have to say the foodscape there is also impressive, with great heritage and potential.
One of Sweden’s most renowned chefs is Skåne-based Jan Hedh, chocolatier, confectioner, baker, sourdough guru and entrepreneur, also mentoring Peter’s Yard Bakery in Scotland. The author of many best-selling books on bread, cakes, patisserie and chocolate, Jan also has a chocolate shop in Malmö and is on Slow Food Scania Board. https://www.janhedh.com/books/
As Bosse is also on the Board, we attended a meeting, along with Annette Nilsson, the Chair, at Jan’s HQ, a chocolate factory that would put Willy Wonka to shame! What a sight it was. From the moment we entered we were all spellbound by tray upon tray of imaginative creations, some for his emporium along the road, others destined for Business and Executive Class customers on worldwide flights. There were even calendars across the wall for every airline to ensure they always received a new selection of chocolate flavours to prevent any unintended repetition.
His equipment, from tureens of chocolate for tempering to state-of-the-art baking ovens were awesome and, as we were taken to room after room, Jan would delve into a box, lift from tray or retrieve from a shelf yet another gem – each with its own story and each needing sampled. What a truly wonderful experience – taste explosions par excellence.When hours later we withdrew to his office for the meeting we tasted his speciality buttery biscuits over coffee and put the world to rights, discussing food systems and politics, producers and chefs, food heritage and future possibilities.
It was a pleasure and an honour to spend time with Jan and we look forward to seeing him again as I’m sure we shall. There was a Slow Food Scania Award ceremony and Jan was there, giving generously of his time once again, to present the awards to Vånga Must (organic single variety apple juice) and Glada Geten (goats’ cheese). You can read all about the producers here and the Awards evening.