The International Section gives you the opportunity to explore a selection of highly recommended and intriguing foodie haunts we have visited recently outwith Scotland that may fascinate you, as they did us.

As with the rest of Scottish Food Guide, entries are based entirely on merit.

International
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Region: Germany



Van Loon
van Loon Restaurantschiffe
An der Baerwaldbrücke

Carl-Herz-Ufer 5

10961 Berlin

Germany Tel:(030)692 62 93
Van Loon
Comments

This fabulous moored restaurant is on the water in the creative hipster district of Kreuzberg in Berlin. Immaculately fitted out with stylish restaurant within the hull, all glazed, plus lovely sundeck and terrace seating where you can watch Berlinners and water transport go about their daily business. In the winter you can snuggle round the hearth downstairs and admire all the wonderful woodwork too!

Originally built as a goods carrier in 1914 it became a houseboat in 1972, then a restaurant/café in 1988. The boat takes its name from the famous Dutch boat builder.

Open from Breakfast onwards for delicious light meals to full Dinners brimming with local produce and great service. Also available for weddings and parties. Delicacies include seafood, interesting salads, the signature Van Loon fish soup, and steaks too.



Region: Italy



Osteria La Bocca Buona
Via Audisio 22
12042 Bra (CN)



Italy Tel:0172 426031
Osteria La Bocca Buona
Comments

Whilst experiencing Slow Cheese in Bra, we had a very fine birthday lunch at the beautiful Osteria La Bocca Buona. Bosse had the famous local Salsiccia di Bra and I had their melt-in-the-mouth risotto. The panna cotta was creamy smooth perfection served in a small preserving jar and the service was superb. What a wonderful find.

The decor is very relaxing and simple yet impressive, with vintage brick walls, whitewashed timber and spacious elegantly laid tables. Outside there are more tables to enjoy balmy Italian evenings and hot summer days under the shade of giant parasols. There are other more famous osteria in Bra, HQ of Slow Food Movement, but this one is most defintely among the finest. 



Region: Norway



Brimi Seter
Brimi
Lom

Norway
Brimi Seter
Comments

Sheiling in Scots, Seter/Saeter in Norway, Fäbod in Sweden and Alm across the Alps, means seasonal mountain pasture; places where families drove their grazing cattle from valleys in the winter to sweet mountain summer pastures. Traditionally a delicious seasonal cheese was made whilst they were there, unique to each area, terroir, for feeding the family over the winter months, sold at market and nowadays appreciated by locals and tourists alike.

Sadly, thanks to the highland clearances in Scotland, we no longer have such places; in Sweden they are rare; in Norway and Alpine regions they have thankfully survived long enough to be appreciated again and should be cherished. Definitive Slow Food and impossible to create elsewhere. As with all artisan handmade cheeses, it belongs to the distinctive meadow grazed, the breed of animal and the skills of the cheesemaker.

Brimi has a lovely café where you can enjoy their soup, local creamy ‘porridge’ römme, cheese, waffles and a selection of meats and sausage, all produced at Brimi. The old wooden buildings are original and full of character, located high up from the valley floor by a loch. The café counter and farm shop are on the ground floor with seating outside and upstairs with a glass floor enabling you to see their dairy with cheese production below. There are even ‘berths’ in the eaves for overnight accommodation! This special place is becoming an increasingly popular destination yet the guys have successfully kept its original character - no mean feat. Summer opening times only.



Heidal Hjemmebakeri
heidalsvegen 2443
2676 Heidal

Norway Tel:61 23 57 32
Heidal Hjemmebakeri
Comments

This tiny hillside bakery produces the traditional bread of the region, Ekte Potetlefser made from potatoes and barley or wheat flour (no yeast), rolled exceptionally thin with a special pin and baked in a stone oven. These large thin circles can be torn, cut or rolled and are perfect for sliced cheese, sausage or messmör (see Torrlid). This farm is keeping this wonderful regional product alive and it is extremely popular so we timed our visit to ensure she hadn’t sold out!

No e mail address at present.



Heidal Hotel
Heidalsveien 940


Norway Tel:+47 91385857
Heidal Hotel
Comments

This charming historic roadside hotel on the edge of the village of Heidal is over 100 years old and constructed of wood with beautiful carpentry in traditional Norwegian style. Unloved for a while it was bought a few years ago by a local farmer who set about restoring it to its former glory. He and his family have worked incredibly hard to reinstate this piece of local history, whilst still running their farm and collaborating with other local producers.

The result is a lovely family run hotel with views over the stunning valley and upwards to the mountain farms. The menu is all local produce, farmed or wild - there is even a farm shop in the foyer where you can buy his meats, salamis and sausage, alongside local honeys, jams, apple juice and cheese.

If you fancy exploring Norway this is the perfect place to tour from and on its doorstep are cheesemakers, stave churches and dramatic scenery. Heidal is famous for its ancient timber dwellings and the river Sjoa, one Europe’s best rafting rivers, runs through the village for the brave among you!



Heidal Ysteri
2676 Heidal

Norway Tel:61 23 41 40
Heidal Ysteri
Comments

Norway is famous for its brown cheese and this dairy in the heart of Heidal Village is one of the best. The sweet dark cheese derives its intriguing flavour from the traditional recipe using goat whey with added cows’ milk and cream, giving a sweet creamy taste and smooth texture. It is liquid when first made so rather than pressing curds it is poured into delicate wooden forms where it sets firm. Only groups can book a visit but there is a lovely wee shop adjacent where you can buy the cheese alongside local handicrafts, and available at Heidal Hotel of course.



Region: Sweden



Gyllene Uttern (Golden Otter)
SE-563 92 Gränna

Sweden Tel:+46 /0/ 390 108 00
Gyllene Uttern (Golden Otter)
Comments

Gyllene Uttern (Golden Otter) is a simply beautiful place where you will receive a warm welcome and exceptional local cuisine. It was built in the 1930's and developed from a petrol stop and coffee shop into Sweden's first motor hotel. Overlooking Lake Vättern this region is steeped in history, the first kings ruled from Visingsö Island in the lake long before Stockholm held court. It is a series of intriguing buildings cleverly designed to reflect the old castles of the region, and very attractive. A great place to stop on the way north.



The Ice Hotel
Marknadsvägen 63

981 91 Jukkasjärvi

Sweden Tel:+46 980-66899
The Ice Hotel
Comments

For my 50th birthday my husband treated us both to a trip to The Ice Hotel! A truly unique and memorable experience. A holiday 200km beyond the Arctic Circle with sub zero temperatures may not immediately light your fire but it is truly amazing.

Located in Jukkasjärvi, a small town 12km out of Kiruna, the Swedish Ice Hotel is the original and came about in the 1990’s when, during an exhibition of ice sculptures a bunch of visitors who couldn’t find accommodation, asked to sleep overnight amidst the ice creations and the hotel concept was born. 

Arctic sleeping bags are provided and reindeer skins give added warmth. It is all remarkably snug. An unmissable part of the Ice Hotel adventure is the night trail by snowmobile or dog sleigh. The local food is delicious and be sure to take along some pocket money for Sami crafts - they are incredible pieces of art.



Torrlids Fäbod, Dalarna
Klitten
Älvdalen
Dalarna

Sweden Tel:0046 (0) 73 819 44 12
Torrlids Fäbod, Dalarna
Comments

This is a mountain summer farm in Sweden, a ”sheiling” in Scots. We were extremely lucky to find one that welcomes overnight visitors to experience this ancient tradition that used to be commonplace however sadly is diminishing - indeed now non-existent in Scotland.

Margareta and her daughter Johanna produce unique butter, cheese and messmör from their cows who forage in the forest whilst Dad pops up from work in the village below. With no electricity at Torrlid, our beautiful candle lit log cabin was simple and spotless. Get up early and you can watch the milking as day begins.

We heard the cow bells as they grazed the tree strewn meadows, and ate “tunnbröds” a fine home made potato based crepe rolled with their own cheese along with lashings of excellent coffee and creamy milk straight from the cow. The cows return for milking and stay in overnight, safe from predators (wise move as I’m not very brave with bears either) and in the early morning the cheesemaking begins.

The messmör would not be ready until evening as this sweet whey butter takes 8 hours of stirring to reduce and caramelize. Most definitely Slow Food. We had an absolutely brilliant time (our fourth visit) and were made very welcome. If you wish to experience this very precious food adventure it is only available during the month of July each year.