Norrviken and Orangeriet
In the south of Sweden, located beautifully on the slope of Hallandsåsen, overlooking Laholmsbukten you’ll find a gorgeous little place called Norrviken, specially know for its unique garden. It’s a great place to spend the day having a walk around, enjoy a traditional Swedish “fika” with tea and a cake or to go for a nice lunch. Norrviken holds various events such as concerts, exhibitions, markets and weddings, and on the grounds you´ll also find restaurant Orangeriet, run by Tobias and Ulrika Millqvist who very kindly took some time to answer a few questions from Nordique.
Please tell us a bit about Norrviken's history?
It is a really amazing story. You see Rudolf Abelin who created Norrviken once had another garden about 400 km from Båstad. He was devastated when he found out that a new railway was going to be built right through his beloved garden. Mr Abelin simply had to buy something else. When he came to Båstad in 1905 he had been looking for a new site for ages. A foggy day in November he started out on what he believed was another hopeless quest. Miraculously the November fog suddenly lifted and Mr Abelin set eyes on the sea and the incredibly beautiful surrounding landscape. Then he knew that this was exactly the right place for his new garden – Norrviken. In 1906 he became the owner of the land where the park is situated today.
What's the most memorable event held at Norrviken?
During our years at Norrviken we have experienced such wonderful events. It is almost impossible to choose, but I would like to mention two:
On August 4, 2016 President Obama’s presidential advisor John Hope Bryant and Princess Sofia of Sweden among others participated in a historical event named A sustainable tomorrow, arranged by Gränslösa Möten (Borderless Meetings). The evening banquet was held at Norrviken. It was a really memorable moment.
During one of the Porsche Exhibitions here at Norrviken a sleek Porsche – admittedly after a lot of careful planning and hard work – was placed in the busy restaurant among all our lunch guests. We could not believe our eyes!
You're famous for the very beautiful gardens. What makes it so unique?
That it is not one just a park but actually a collection of style gardens. Mr Abelin wanted to create a living garden museum as an inspiration to visitors. At Norrviken you will find garden ideals from several eras and cultures, for example a Japanese Garden, a Water Garden and a Baroque Garden. If you are into gardening you recognize the influences, but they are seen through Mr Abelin’s glasses. His interpretation is sophisticated and very personal. The dramatic landscape is invited into the picture all the time. I love the mixture of winding paths and straight avenues, secret corners and wonderful vistas. I love the change of the seasons too. Spring with all its flowers, summer with its greenery, autumn with all its colours and winter with its special charm.
When and how did restaurant Orangeriet come along?
We already had a company, a food studio, when we were given the opportunity to take over the restaurant at Norrviken. It was pretty run-down, but it had a lot of potential. We decided to be patient, since the then owners planned to renovate the restaurant in two years. Well, this did not go as planned, unfortunately. There were financial problems and new owners bought Norrviken in 2013. A major renovation was made last year. Villa Abelin where the restaurant Orangeriet is situated had a total makeover. Today it is elegant and cosy at the same time. Hard to achieve, but that is how we and our guests feel. Also definitely worth waiting for.
How would you describe the food?
We define our cuisine as place-related. Our restaurant lies on Bjärehalvön, an area where a lot of high-quality food is produced. Meat, vegetables, fruits, berries, root vegetables, herbs – you name it. The climate is mild by Swedish standards, the soils well suited for farming and the farms are normally rather small. It is easy to find produce farmed locally, quite often organically too. Restaurateurs and chefs are attracted to this area, because the supply of ingredients is superb and easily accessible. In January - February every year we and I believe other restaurants as well sit down with our producers and talk about the next growing season. Any changes? Same procedure as last year? We decide these things together. The result of our discussion is reflected on our menus all the time. It is reflected in the farmers’ schedules for the growing season. The aim is to have a steady flow of products that are ready for harvest at different times.
In this place-related cuisine we use a lot of edible wild plants and berries, found just round the corner – nettles, wild garlic, chervil, various other herbs etc. Some things grow here at Norrviken, others on the beaches of Bjärehalvön. It is a privilege to go for a walk and see what nature has to offer. It is impossible not to get inspired!
Do you serve typical Swedish foods?
Yes, as we have the majority of our suppliers in the neighbourhood it goes without saying that it is Swedish, but it is an updated version of Swedish cuisine. We always have different types of salmon on the menu – cold smoked Nobel salmon or marinated salmon; different varieties of potatoes. After all we are on Bjärehalvön, where most of the new potatoes in Sweden are grown. People are very passionate about potatoes here.
If visiting for the day, are there any local spots we must see?
Apart from Norrviken I would recommend Dagshög, a quite mysterious place with a Bronze Age mound. The view of the ocean is spectacular. The strangely shaped rocks at Hovs hallar is another must. A good place to recharge one’s batteries. A good place to visit if you are interested in film. This is the location of Ingmar Bergman’s famous film scene with Death and the Knight playing a game of chess in The Seventh Seal. Then finally I would recommend you to find one of the small, picturesque harbours. Bring your picnic, enjoy a swim in the ocean, just relax and admire the sunset.
What are the best things with the south of Sweden?
The climate is nice by Swedish standards, since the Province of Skåne is in the very south of Sweden. It is beautiful and conveniently placed. We can reach major cities like Gothenburg and Stockholm in less than two hours. Denmark and Copenhagen are quite near too. Perfect for a day trip. Bjärehalvön and the other nearby peninsulas are some of my favourites. Surrounded by the ocean on three sides it is almost like being on an island, which is great!
When is a good time to visit?
Summer is nice of course, but I would suggest late spring and late summer plus early autumn as well. The weather can be really pleasant. You will have a lot of freedom in all sorts of ways. It is easier to find accommodation than in mid-summer. Hiking trails, roads, bicycle paths, restaurants and tourist destinations have fewer visitors. Well, now I think I have revealed a really nice tourist secret.
To see more of Norrviken and Orangeriet head to http://www.norrvikenbastad.se/ or follow onInstagram @orangeriet_norrviken