The Smakbyn is situated in an old inlet a stone’s throw from Kastelholm Castle, with a beautiful view over the old cultural landscape and the rustic buildings of the Jan Karlsgården open-air museum. The building has a licensed restaurant/pub that seats 180, conference rooms, a distillery with distillation boilers, a shop with Åland products and a cellar for storage of the Smakbyn’s drinks.
The Smakbyn’s pub, shop and distillery were originally under one roof, but in the future there are going to be more buildings so that the spot will slowly grow into a little village of food experiences. Plans for the future include a hotel, a smokehouse and several other buildings relating to products and arts and crafts. The name “Smakbyn” was chosen to connect together under a joint name everything people do and create.
Chef of the year
The central location for convivial gatherings and social interaction is the pub where both large and small groups can enjoy a good lunch or dinner. In the bar you can have a beer, a glass of good wine or taste the fruit schnapps of the house.
“The menu was inspired by a love of Åland and Nordic food with an emphasis on simple home-cooked food,” reveals Michael Björklund, who has been named chef of the year in both Sweden and Finland and is known to many from his appearances on TV. He owns and runs the Smakbyn with his wife Jenny.
Åland raw products such as pike, lamb and apples are the mainstay and the food is produced without any foreign spices or preparation methods being involved.
The seasonal menu includes dishes such as meatballs, prepared by Micke himself, with potatoes and preserved raw lingonberries, perch fillets fried in butter with foamy crayfish sauce and potato compote, and a crispy apple and oats temptation with Åland ice cream. There are goodies for vegetarians as well, such as Åland goat’s milk cheese, roasted root vegetables and Jerusalem artichoke soup to choose from.
You’ll find Swedish, Finnish and Åland delicacies as part of the Smakbyn’s Christmas buffet. For instance, Åland pickled herring, an Åland variation on Swedish spare ribs and Finnish carrot bake. And not forgetting ham from the Smakbyn’s own happy pigs!
The Smakbyn Shop is located at the entrance to the pub. In addition to its own products, such as crispbread, lamb sausage, mustard and preserves, there are products on sale from other Åland producers and craftspeople. You can buy edible souvenirs, kitchen gadgets and inspiring cookery books.
The Smakbyn distillery produces schnapps from various different fruits and you can go on a guided tour that includes a drink tasting, where you can learn about the production process from fresh fruit to the clear distillate that drops out of the boiler. The drinks are stored in the cool cellar in oak casks.
There are also cookery courses with Micke. As well as food, you get an apron and beer/wine during the course. Maybe some budding future master chefs will be trained in Micke’s own cookery school.