September 29, 2006


I know nothing about wine, really. Well, I know that I don´t fancy sweet wine with my food, and you shouldn´t judge a wine by its price, but that is all. Should I get more knowledge? Maybe, but right now my brain is fully busy with all other things food-related I have come across during the last year (my blog will turn 1 year in a few weeks). Until later, I rely on the trusted Swedish institution Systembolaget. Systembolaget you see, is a wonderful place. It is also the only place in Sweden where you can buy wine, spirits and strong beer to bring home.
Some people think it is wrong, and inconvenient, but I don´t mind going there. You see, it is truly a wonderful place. A wine analphabet like me can just walk into Systembolaget in Old Town, where they have the old-fashioned system with people getting the wine for you. Well, you walk up to the counter and says "Hello, I am going to cook a pasta with smoked salmon today and I want a wine for about 75 SEK." The salesperson answers "OK, and do you have herbs or horse radish in it?" And you answers that you are going to use horse radish, at which moment the salesperson taps a little on the computer and says "Hey, how would you like this blah blah blah for 68 SEK? And you say it is fine, he or she gets it for you, checks your ID which is fun if you are over 25 (you are supposed to be 20 years or older), you pay and the next second you are skipping out the door with your wine. I always let them choose and I am never disappointed. Apparently they get a lot of training and knowledge about wine and what goes with what so you never have to figure it out for yourself if you are not interested.

Today I visited another kind of Systembolaget just to pick up a bottle of really good apple cider for my dear man who is currently experimenting a lot with chicken casseroles (right now he is experimenting with the sewing machine to fix a pair of trousers for tomorrow*. I have had two glasses of wine and refused to do it). Well, this is the kind of shop where you take a basket and walk around the shelves, choosing and picking what you like. To guide you there are small signs with symbols for different foods and describing the taste. I found a Cidre de Normandie which looked promising, and also something called Cidraie. I love the slightly yeasty flavour of French ciders. I also picked up an organic wine, Vida Organica 2005, Argentinian. We had it with our Friday sushi (well, we don´t have sushi every Friday) and liked it very much.
Well, that was all about Systembolaget and back to the food again in the future on this blog I think.

*Tomorrow we are going to this place, which I really really look forward to. It is too posh for me to dare taking photos but I will tell you all about the food!


karin said...

I actually like Systembolaget as well due to their knowledge of wine.
Buying wine in a supermarket where they don´t know the names of the vegetables today... No Thank you

Lexi said...

I agree with Karin... but I do think they could be open on sundays...

First cuisine said...

My funniest memory from the Systembolaget is this:
While waiting for my wine, an old lady steps up to the cashier next to mine. She said:
- I want this spirits thats good for crystal chandeliers!
I must have looked like a nesting box, fågelholk, but the salesperson, did she even blink her eyes with surprise? Oh no, she just took three steps back and fetched a small bottle of... vodka?
Systembolaget. Respect.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity: If you go into a food shop would you think it is "wonderful" if you could go in and say "I need something to eat tonight. What do you recommend"?

How can you be so interested in food and so completely uninterested in wine? (I assume you are since you don't seem to take much responsibility for what you drink.) Why don't you drink water instead in that case.

Systembolaget is a great way of letting others decide for you and letting others tell you what is best for you.

Clivia said...

Well anonymous - you see, I am interested in wine, but I see nothing wrong in getting advice on what to choose - from someone behind the counter, from a friend or a magazine. So there. I would feel much more limited in my possibilities to choose if I had to buy my wine in ICA where the personnel cannot, as Karin points out, tell a celery root from a swede.
I really don´t see why I should drink water just because I only know a little about wine? Taking responsibility for what you drink is for me to choose organic wine, and to not drink and drive.