Katarin Riimpi—Five generations ahead at the World Food Travel Summit 2013, Sweden. 24.09.13. Day 1.
by Grace Fitzgerald
Katarin Riimpi addresses the congregation. She talks. She sings. She ‘yoiks’ (Sami for engaging someone or thing). Katarin is Sami, from Lapland. She tells us her story, the story of her life, the story of where she comes from, the story of who she comes from. She sings a yoik for us, in the form of an unaccompanied melody, on happiness.
Katarin then tells us a story. About Sami survival. It can be a hard life. With temperatures down to -45C. To survive?
“You have to be a really good hunter. You have to know nature, wind, tracks”.
She now yoiks a moose, by imitating the sounds of a female moose calling for her young. Fascinating. That’s how they get big moose bulls to start running towards them—the sound of the female … And that’s how they hunt.
Her favourite animal is the winter grouse. “If you can do the sounds, you get closer to the animals”. A yoik is a way of communicating. She does a grouse yoik. And incorporates it into a song. This is unique stuff. She is human. She is animal. She is North. She is Sami. They are one. And her people are of a place where they think five generations ahead. Where they do not destroy Mother Nature. Where they use every part of what they kill. From nose to hoof to tail.
After her last song, Katarin speaks earnestly. Her dream is that they are a free people, free to decide over their own land and water, language and culture. She then leaves us with a message from her heart;
“Think ecological, think sustainable. Think five generations ahead. Do not destroy Mother Nature”.
West Sweden is famed for its wide variety of top-quality, natural, organic produce. The forests of inland Dalsland provide an impressive range of game, berries, mushrooms and fresh fish, while the countryside bordering the Göta Canal is teeming with farm shops selling locally produced fine cheeses, high-quality dairy products, beer and schnapps. Fertile farmland makes the region ideal for growing crops and raising livestock on sustainable and traditional organic lines. Unique culinary highlights include wild garlic in the spring in Kinnekulle, exclusive roe from Lake Vänern in the autumn and fresh seafood all year round. In the cold, clean and mineral-rich water of Sweden’s West coast, shellfish grow more slowly, developing a fuller flavour, which makes these North Sea shellfish some of the best in the world. Visitors can treat themselves to lobster, mussels, oysters, crayfish and prawns, and learn how to catch and cook them on a unique seafood safari.
The region’s capital city, Gothenburg’s coastal location means easy access to fish and shellfish that stand out on quality and flavour. Add an authentic coffee shop culture that prides itself on its cakes and pastries, and Gothenburg is a food lover’s paradise. The city’s chefs work with local produce and seasonal food, preferably organic. Their modern approach to cuisine rests on Swedish traditions combined with new flavours and ideas drawn from all over the world. Today six restaurants in Gothenburg – 28+, Bhoga, Koka, Sjömagasinet, SK Mat & Människor and Thörnströms Kök – have been awarded a Michelin star. But if you’re looking for fabulous food, there’s far more to Gothenburg than that. Gothenburg was named Sweden’s Food Capital in 2012, with the jury citing the vast array of food the city has to offer, its abundance of local produce and high-quality restaurants, not to mention the fact that the food served in schools and hospitals is nutritious as well as sustainably sourced.
There’s no beating about the bush with Swedish Fia Gulliksson of Östersund—a woman on a mission. She is all about three things; people, passion and produce. She tells us how she brought Östersund, her regional area of Sweden, to international acclaim through sheer will and determination.