September 1, 2014

Exploring Sweden!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Two weeks ago my friend Stephanie and I took an incredible road trip through Sweden. We started in the big city of Gothenburg, drove up the stunning west coast, explored the quiet countryside, and came back to the city again. We experienced unique and fabulous food, fun shopping, and explored some of the most picturesque and charming villages I’ve ever seen in real life. I could not get over how beautiful Sweden is!

Photo above via Stephanie

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Our adventure started at the Volvo factory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Did you guys know if you buy a new Volvo they’ll send you on a free trip to Sweden? Yes, it’s true! They’ll give you two complimentary roundtrip airline tickets to Sweden and one night at a hotel in Gothenburg. You can tour the Volvo factory and museum, pick up your actual car, and drive it on your own road trip through Sweden. When you’re done, they’ll ship it back to your local U.S. Volvo retailer for free. You can take an unforgettable vacation in gorgeous Sweden with free airfare and no need for rental car expenses. Volvo will also include 15-day European Car Insurance coverage and temporary Swedish registration so you’ll be all set to drive in Sweden.

Volvo and the West Sweden Tourism Board invited us to come take a sample road trip and drive this super swanky Volvo through Sweden so I could help spread the word about their Overseas Delivery Program when I got back. Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing how we fell in love with the car AND Sweden, as well as the delicious food we found, beautiful villages we explored, and some of the cutest shops ever — all the highlights you HAVE to see if you’re ever  in Sweden! :)

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

Our first day started in Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden (after Stockholm) with a population of about half a million people. It’s located on the west coast of southern Sweden off the North Sea, about halfway between Copenhagen and Oslo. Gothenburg is a major hotspot in Sweden for fabulous restaurants and chefs, fun shopping, museums, and sight-seeing.

On our first day we took a “Foodie Walking Tour” through downtown Gothenburg to orient ourselves in the city and find Gothenburg’s unique and hidden gems. Our first stop was the show-stopping Dorsia Hotel and Restaurant. Yes, that is a bird’s nest above the door!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

This place is the cutest EVER on the inside!! It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. This would be the perfect place to come for brunch, afternoon tea, or champagne before dinner.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Our next stop was a beautiful hidden alley, the the Victoria Passage, lined with colorful shops, flowers, coffee, and chocolate.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

Flickorna Kanold in the Victoria Passage is a must-see in Gothenburg for handmade gourmet chocolates.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

They have more flavors to choose from than you could possibly imagine, but I had to get the Gothenburg Sea Salt truffle, topped with salt made from the sea off the coast of Gothenburg. Love!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

We passed so many colorful flowers and shop windows as we made our way through the passage.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

Loved this little paper and notebook store!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

At the other end of the alley is Bröd o. mer, which in English means Bread & More.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

One thing I should mention is that everyone in Sweden speaks English! So you don’t have to worry about that. :) However the one Swedish word you should definitely know is “fika” (pronounced fee-ka). Fika basically means taking a break to drink coffee (or tea, juice, etc) and eat something sweet!! Our guide told us that people generally take a morning fika AND an afternoon fika!! I seriously need to implement this at home!! :) And Bröd o. mer is THE place to go to get your fika fix.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Sweden is famous for their bread and buns, especially their signature cinnamon bun and cardamom bun.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

So you should totally get one of each for your fika!! Look how flaky and sugary these beauties are!! This is an absolute must in Sweden! :)

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

You guys. It’s time to get serious. Anytime you are in Gothenburg, BE ON THE LOOKOUT for this blue sign! That means that this ice cream brand, Lejonet & Björnen (The Lion & The Bear), is sold here. And there just happened to be a sign at Bröd o. mer!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

If you see it, you HAVE to try their Sea Salt Caramel ice cream. Hands down, this is the BEST salted caramel ice cream I have ever had anywhere. I don’t normally like caramel ice cream. I can’t really put my finger on why… sometimes it’s too hard, sometimes it just has an artificial flavor…   But THIS was like they had just freshly made the best homemade salted caramel sauce in the world, and then swirled it into the best homemade ice cream in the world, right there in front of you. Honestly some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I’m still dreaming about it!! I have got to go back to Sweden for this ice cream!! :)

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Our next hidden gem was Juicekällan. It is located in another beautiful, tucked-away courtyard you’d never find if you didn’t know about it. One thing I loved about Sweden is that many of the chairs and outdoor seating areas had soft blankets to wrap up under in case you got a little chilly at night. How sweet is that??

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

Juicekällan is an AMAZING juice bar in Gothenburg!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

They had so many unique flavors and combinations that I’d never seen before. I wanted to try one of each!!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

After MUCH deliberation, I finally decided on a juice with aronia berry (which is kind of like a super healthy and antioxidant loaded blueberry), carrots, apple, lemon, and ginger. Loved it!! I could’ve seriously had breakfast and lunch here every day!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

We continued strolling through Gothenburg and came to another hidden courtyard at Floramor & Krukatös.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

Upstairs is a super cute home store. I totally picked up a few small souvenirs here!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

The courtyard is filled with flowers, tables, and chairs, and is the perfect spot for fika! Especially considering da Matteo bakery is right downstairs! Da Matteo is where all of the breads and buns at Bröd o. mer are freshly baked every morning. They also roast all their coffee there as well so you can get your coffee and sweet and have it in the courtyard surrounded by flowers. :)

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

From the courtyard, cut through da Matteo and you’ll come out at a little food truck station, where you can get an Umami burger from one truck, or a classic Swedish dish from another: fried herring with lingonberries and mashed potatoes.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

For lunch we walked along the canal and made our way to the Fish Church!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

The “Feskekôrka” is an indoor fish market that looks like a Gothic church on the outside.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

It’s the perfect place to pop in for lunch and check out their fabulous selection of seafood, like this amazing gold-skinned salmon!!

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

We had lunch upstairs at Restaurant Gabriel.

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography Photo via Stephanie

How cute is this butter in an oyster shell??

Hidden Treasures of Gothenburg, Sweden. Where to find the best food and shopping! www.kevinandamanda.com #travel #foodie #photography

They brought us a huge sampler platter showcasing their finest fresh caught seafood and best dishes. An incredible meal.

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New recipe on Kevin & Amanda Recipes today!!! :)

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Doughnut Muffins with Brown Butter Buttercream Frosting #recipe #doughnut #food

These are pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve had in my entire life.

Click the title below to get the recipe:

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Doughnut Muffins
with Brown Butter Buttercream Frosting

Enjoy!! :)


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August 27, 2014

Gourmet S’mores Party

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Once a month I meet up with a fabulous group of local bloggers to chit chat, network, and talk about blogging. I have grown to love our fun meet-ups and look forward to them every month! Sometimes we’ll pick a new restaurant in town to try, and sometimes we’ll have get togethers in our homes. This month I invited them over to my house for a Gourmet S’mores Party!!

(Above: Stephanie @ Grinning Like An Idiot, Paula @ AKA Jane Random, Amanda, Stephanie @ Plain Chicken, Lynda @ Southern Kissed)

 

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I love going all out for s’mores! We had four different kinds of marshmallows, four different kinds of chocolates, and lots of fun spreads to create our own culinary s’mores masterpieces. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I even made two different types of homemade marshmallows for us. How pretty and fluffy are these Cake Batter Marshmallows from Cookies and Cups??! I also made classic Vanilla Bean Marshmallows using Shauna Sever’s recipe.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

After chit chatting on the porch all afternoon, we gathered around the fire pit as the sun started to get low in the sky.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

For our s’mores set up, I always try to make sure I have a few staples on hand. Milk and Dark chocolate Hershey Bars are classics. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a must!! They are always a crowd favorite. Butterfingers Cups are a new favorite! I always put out a few classic graham crackers (the cinnamon sugar ones) but once everyone tries S’mores with Ritz, no one ever goes back to grahams. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

This is Lynda. She makes the best brownies ever!!

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Here was my first creation of the night: cake batter marshmallow with dark chocolate. Loved the homemade marshmallows!! They got so soft and gooey!! They also didn’t catch on fire as easily as storebought marshmallows do.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Here’s my favorite combo: homemade vanilla bean marshmallow, dark chocolate, and homemade salted caramel sauce.

If you’re thinking about throwing a gourmet s’mores party, I highly recommend making at least once batch of homemade marshmallows!  They get fabulously caramelized on the outside and unbelievably gooey on the inside. The perfect combo!!

Check out this post for more tips on hosting a gourmet s’mores party. One new thing I’m going to start doing now… I always bring out a roll of paper towers for us, but now I’m going to start bring a box of baby wipes as well, lol!! S’mores are MESSY!! :) I am usually a chocolate covered mess by the end of the night. :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I couldn’t let my friends leave without a little fun s’mores swag! :)

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

I emailed a few of my favorite brands, told them about our awesome group, and they were so sweet to provide a few little goodies for our party. Kroger provided these awesome insulated shopping bags and $25 gift cards.

Gourmet S'mores Party!!

Kraft sent a GIANT box of marshmallows for us!! Enough so everyone got 2 bags! :) These classic Kraft marshmallow are my favorite for s’mores. They’re the perfect size for Ritz crackers! ;)

Nestle sent their elusive Butterfingers Cups! Have you had one yet?? They are so popular they are hard to find!! :) We can usually find them at Kroger, though. They also sent their Girl Scout Nestle Crunch Bars. Omg. Have you had the Thin Mint one yet?? It’s SO good!! I was dying! So, so dangerous now that they’re available year round!! Ack!!

A new company, Legit Organics, sent some goodies as well. Legit makes classic candy bars with high quality, organic ingredients. Have you seen them around? Can’t wait to try these two new ones!!

What would a S’mores swag bag be without THE S’mores Cookbook??! SO excited to include my sweet friend Susan’s S’mores Cookbook. All the girls were dying over all the gorgeous recipes in this book!! This book makes an awesome gift.

They also got Shauna Sever’s Marshmallow Madness cookbook so they could go home and make their own homemade marshmallows!! Both the recipes for the classic vanilla marshmallows and cake batter marshmallows are in this book. This is also a super cute cookbook and would make a great gift. The cover is puffy like a marshmallow!

And finally, the sweet gals at the Huntsville tourism board sent everyone these cute #IHeartHSV tshirts for all of us!

Thank you so much to our sweet sponsors for making this the best swag bag ever.

Use Ritz crackers instead of grahams for the perfect salty sweet s'more!!

Be sure to check out these fun recaps from the party and take a peek at the delicious S’mores themed recipes they’re sharing!

Pizza, Pool and S’mores Party from Stephanie @ Grinning Like An Idiot
S’Mores Chocolate Milk from Lynda @ Southern Kissed
S’mores Cereal Bars from Paula @ AKA Jane Random

And definitely don’t miss the story of how Paula’s pants fell off at the party. She will have you rolling with laughter!!

Happy S’mores Making!! :) xoxo

 


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