Thursday, October 4, 2012

the world's greatest cookie... the Sarah Bernhardt

yes.  I said it.  the world's greatest cookie...
the world's greatest cookie
the world's greatest cookie, nicknamed the "Sarah Bernhardt", also commonly called a "biskvi" by Swedes
if you ever go to Sweden, or ever stumble across a Swedish bakery, there is only one thing you need to buy.  it's simply the world's greatest cookie.  if you can even call it a cookie.  it's called a Sarah Bernhardt.
Sarah Bernhardt cookies and other assorted pastries and treats
the first shop on the right when you enter the Ostermalms Saluhall (the Saluhall gets its own separate post) from the square serves sandwiches, cakes, and pastries of all kinds, including the unforgettable Sarah Bernhardt
the short story is that Sarah Bernhardt, a world famous French actress ("the most famous actress the world has ever known"), stumbled upon a a bakery in Amsterdam around the turn of the 19th century and tasted this immaculate confection and told the shop owner it was the best thing she'd ever eaten.  in her honor he named the cookie after her.
almond macaroon, chocolate mousse buttercream, and chocolate on top
the Sarah Bernhardt is a delicacy like none other.  a soft, chewy almond macaroon on the bottom, a dark chocolate mousse buttercream in the middle, with the top dipped in chocolate.
during World War II, the cookie, which resembled a radio dial was used as a code to connect members of the resistance.  after entering the shop, one would ask for a "Sarah Bernhardt" which served as a signal identifying the shop patron as a member of the resistance.  if I thought starting a revolution could somehow bring these delights to the United States, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  viva la Sarah Bernhardt!

macaroon, chocolate creme, and chocolate coating of a Sarah Bernhardt
this is a Sarah Bernhardt right before it disappears.  at this point one takes smaller sized bites to fully enjoy the delicate but palpable crunch of the chocolate shell and the smooth, soft, melt in your mouth creme inside.  once you get past about half way, it takes all the willpower in the world not to devour it in one bite.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

a dip in the Oresund Strait before sunset

the day after I took a walk along the western edge of Daniaparken in Bo01, I stumbled across a series of people jumping (or dipping) into the ocean.  when I arrived at a stepped stonework area that led directly into the ocean, I knew this was the place.  the water must be cold, but if they are doing it, I try it too.  I pedaled home as quickly as possible.  even me, a crazy person who is willing to jump in the cold waters of Sweden, knows that scary monsters inhabit the ocean after dark.

I returned with a backpack loaded with a towel and an ice cold 50 cl (500 ml) Swedish beer.  I leaned the bike against the concrete wall, stripped down to my suit, carefully removed my flippie floppies, and waded ankle deep onto the wooden platform.  I stood for quite some time, skeptical of the temperatural (yes, that is definitely a word) effect of the sea on my body.  finally, after courage came and went several times, I swan dived into the icy blue water...
beer, flip flops, and the Oresund Strait
the aftermath of a dip in the ocean before sunset, as evidenced by flip flops and beer

nothing solves the world's problems like taking a dip in the ocean at sunset and drinking a cold beer.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

sunset in Vastra Hamnen

as the sun began to dip lower in the sky, I made my way along Ribersborg beach, aiming back toward Vastra Hamnen.  I stopped several times along the way to admire the kite surfers.  or are they called wind surfers.  judging by the amount of wind along the Western Harbor, this must be a great place to surf, regardless of what it's called.
kitesurfing in Sweden
if you google kite surfing while in Sweden, "kitesurf Sweden" comes up second, behind only the wikipedia page.  clearly there is a lot of wind here, even if Malmo is not listed as one of the hotspots.
as the sun went down, I walked along the boardwalk at Daniaparken in Vastra Hamnen on the edge of Bo01.  the weather was mild, maybe 64 degrees and the wind was not fierce.  as I walked along the boardwalk I saw many people eating bread and cheese, drinking wine, and sitting atop the wooden planks on the water's edge.
Daniaparken Malmo
people eating, drinking, and watching the sunset on the western edge of Daniaparken in Vastra Hamnen
I passed by wooden steps leading down into the ocean and admired the platform, complete with a ladder into (or out of) the ocean.  the waves calmly lapped over the metal grating and splashed softly against the lowest steps of the wooden descent.
wooden steps dropping directly into the ocean
wooden steps leading into the ocean in Vastra Hamnen along the westernmost edge of Daniaparken.  in the summer this is, according to locals of Malmo, the best spot to jump into the ocean in all of Skane. 
I continued along the boulevard, admiring the quantity of people who were enjoying the setting sun, the mild air, and the light breeze.  it tasted like a perfect combination of summer and fall, neither too hot nor too cold.  people were sitting out at the restaurants, sipping wine and eating dinner.
restaurant on the westernmost edge of Bo01
people eating dinner as the sun set in Vastra Hamnen along the edge of the Oresund Strait
I passed by the corner building of Bo01 that houses Salt Och Brygga, a well known eatery anchoring the restaurants along the waterfront's western edge.
solar thermal panels in Vastra Hamnen
one of the most notable buildings in Bo01 is the building that houses Salt och Brygga (salt and bridge), a well known restaurant marking the corner of the first phase of Vastra Hamnen, easily picked out in photographs due to the giant wall of solar thermal "panels" on the southwest corner of the building 
this building is known for two things besides the restaurant: 1. it is the least energy efficient building in Bo01 according to post occupancy studies.  2. it has a giant vertical solar thermal array that ended up being slightly under efficient because its evacuated tubes partially shade themselves.
sunset in Oresund as seen from Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen
sunset along the Oresund Strait with the Bridge to the left
as I continued north along the water's edge, I stopped to capture the sun as it dropped lower in the sky and highlighted the Oresund Bridge.
sunset in the Oresund Strait as seen from the western shore of Vastra Hamnen
Finnlines ship sliding along under the setting sun in Oresund
a Finnlines ship, which seemed to arrive in the harbor at least once per day, slipped under the sun toward the north harbor, the only area of the harbor that remains industrial in the 21st century.
Finnlines ship north of Vastra Hamnen
Finnlines ship passing just north of Vastra Hamnen