What comes to mind when you think of Swedish food?

I bet your first thought was meatballs – and frankly, you’re not wrong. But Swedish cuisine goes far beyond those meaty treats, with everything from fresh fish, to foraged herbs, to pickled vegetables and wild game. Swedish chefs are really making a real mark across the world, with some world-class, award-winning restaurants grabbing the attention of foodie travellers. And because much of Sweden’s best cuisine remains in Sweden, you now have an excuse to travel there to experience it all.

There’s something for everyone really, from food trucks, to farmhouse experiences, oyster hunting to lingonberry picking; the Swedish food experience is truly authentic and involving. Set all of this to a backdrop of gorgeous cities by the water and lush open countryside, plus equally gorgeous guys outside and in – it’s a delicious recipe you can’t afford to miss out on.

Here are some spring/summer foodie experiences that you’ve got to taste.

Restaurant Gabriel photo courtesy of Goteborg.com

Meatballs for the people

I don’t know what ‘people’ they’re referring to in this restaurant’s name, but the meatballs at this quintessentially Sodermalm hipster stop in Stockholm are not for sharing. Trust me, you’ll want it all to yourself. With a small but perfect selection of meatball types, plus unlimited pickled vegetables and lingonberry sauce to go on the side, this place is a great way to get into the Swedish foodie spirit and experience some authentic balls. Plus the crowd is worth watching too. Find out more here.

The oyster champion

West Sweden is known as the oyster capital of the country. 90% of all Swedish oysters come from the waters around Grebbestad, and every year at the beginning of May the Nordic Oyster Opening Championship takes place in this seaside town in Bohuslän. Among others in this year’s list of entrants was the previous world champion Johan Malm, restaurateur at the well known fish and shellfish restaurant, Gabriel, in Gothenburg. Check out Restaurant Gabriel here. For more culinary adventures in West Sweden, click here.

Food from the wild in Swedish Lapland, photo courtesy of SwedishLapland.com

Game for Swedish Lapland

In Swedish Lapland they keep honestly prepared food from local produce close to heart. That comes quite naturally since there is so much pureness and lots of great ingredients in the great Swedish outdoors.

It was the indigenous Sami that first started evolving the culinary art here, thousands of years ago, with kettles over an open fire with whatever was on offer from the surroundings. Reindeer is easy meat, naturally, because there’s more reindeer than people up there. And elk of course. But there’s also game birds like grouse and fish like grayling, char, salmon and whitefish.

Find out more about Swedish game and traditional Sami cooking here.

Photo courtesy of Meatballs for the People, Stockholm

Cook Michelin in Skåne

In the county capital of Malmö you’ll find Bloom in the Park, a proud holder of a Michelin star. The restaurant is headed up by chef Titti Qvarnströms, who is very shortly releasing a book entitled “Malmö Cooking”, all about the food revolution that is happening in the region.

In the book, she pays homage to the cooking traditions throughout the Skåne county and to bring it all to life, she’s heading up a number of Swedish Food Camps in Skåne this summer. She’s looking to attract foodies from all over the world to the middle of the county to hone their Swedish cooking skills and take part in a real hands-on experience – from slaughtering ducks at Boeslundsgården to cooking wild garlic pesto at Bränneriets gård. You’ll forage herbs, harvest vegetables and cook it all over an open fire.

For the latest in gastronomical inspiration in the region, check out the websites of both Malmö and Skåne.

For year-round gay and lesbian travel inspiration to Sweden, head over to www.visitswedenlgbt.com or join the conversation on social media with #SwedenYoureWelcome