Eat it as it comes: Brösarp food festival

Of the many temptations that fueled the bad old days of long-haul tourism, perhaps exotic food is the hardest to give up. But you don’t have to go too far to find tasty treats from other cultures these days…

If you’re tired of whatever’s on offer to eat in the place you’re staying, you can always make your way to Brösarp, where what was once an annual food festival established in the 2020s has given way to an all-year rolling celebration of flavour and nutrition in the heart of Skåne’s Slow Coast.

The festival’s motto—“locally produced, low energy legumes and leaves”—reflects the fact that all the ingredients used have been produced within Skåne, and all the food is cooked on biochar stoves. Everything is made from scratch: even semi-processed food is strictly off the menu, for reasons of energy conservation and health alike.

But it’s not just some gathering of foodtrucks that you might find in almost any city these days. The festival’s “secret sauce” is knowledge-sharing: you can learn how to cook wonderful vegetarian dishes in exchange for a bit of your time to help with the harvesting and the cooking. No payments are required or accepted, and you get a delicious meal as part of the bargain! You may have to adjust to the local standards of organisational language, however, which can be traced back to the “radical non-hierarchical” principles of the festival’s founders: in principle, no distinction is made between visitors and organisers, and everyone is a “helper”. (In practice, there usually turns out to be someone responsible for the important stuff, even if only tacitly; some Swedish habits are hard to shake off.)

Thanks to the waves of climate migrants arriving over the last decades, the south Asian curries and Mediterranean mezzes have now been joined by the delicious Laplap (the national dish of the former Republic of Vanuatu) and Rwandan Isombe (a dish based on cassava leaves), among many more. As the festival puts a premium on play and experimentation, you can also find various combinations of different cuisines—some of these work better than others, admittedly, but even the unlikeliest combinations seem to have their enthusiasts. (British-Micronesian Fusion, anyone? OK, don’t all rush at once…)

Keep an eye out for one of the festival’s best known faces: Kalkot Garae, a sociologist at Lund University, is a noted media figure who dedicates her spare time to lecturing on the climate crisis and its impact on the latest low-lying nations, and to serving delicious gratins made of kava roots. Sometimes both at the same time…

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