After a full day of unloading silage onto fields at Marjo and Larson’s farm, we borrow their car for a 15 kilometer drive to meet their friends, Helge and Marianne, at the famous Berglunds Bageri in Kungsgården. Upon entering, we are met with a bright and inviting smile from Marianne Berglund. She escorts us into the sun-filled, open seating area of the bakery; decorated with comfortable couches, dining tables, embroidered linens, and a shelf adorned with a colorful assortment of teacups of various shapes and sizes.
Marianne invites us to sit down on each side of her, places a book on the table in front of us, and opens the first page. The book is comprised of family and friends’ recipes; on each page is a new recipe accompanied by a teacup which represents that special person. Putting her vast, worldly collection of teacups to use, Marianne points over at teacups stacked upon the shevles for guests to enjoy. We sit for an hour as she shares the various stories of the bakery's book; a ladies-only cake party in which every lady dresses with fun colors and brings cakes, a crayfish party that occurs in August where guests must make their own hats from newspaper, and to a recipe she received from her daughter-in-law. The stories, the recipes, and the book bring us together.
Just as we turn the last page, Helge enters the café and invites us to their home and stone mill. We jump in the baking transportation truck for a five minute drive through their fields of grain and barley. Arriving at their house, Helge takes us to their famous East Tyrolean Stone Mill that they purchased handmade from Austria. The mill smells of rich fresh flour, you can almost taste it. As Helge explains the nutritional and health benefits of their stoneground flour, we begin to realize how misled we have been about flour. He urges us to read about stone ground milling vs. industrial milling so that we have a better understanding of what we are actually consuming.
After explaining the process, milling some fresh wheat for us to take home, and giving us a bag of his favorite barley, we leave the mill area. Marianne is waiting for us with a tray in hand full of cinnamon buns, banana nut muffins, cookies and "Swedish Lemonade" made from flowers to wash it all down.
We follow her and the overflowing tray to “Mariannero”: a two story, octagon shaped veranda that stands in the middle of their newly gardened, spruce tree labyrinth! We enjoy a “pika” (Swedish coffee break) as we chat about traveling and their new-age experience as entrepreneurs: Once their children grew up and moved out of the home, Marianne and Helge were reinvigorated to start something new. At the time, they were using their stone mill to produce flour from their grain and sell to local businesses. Rather than merely sell the grain, they decided to open up Berglunds Bageri, using their catchphrase “Från ax till limpa” or “from grain to loaf .” From the smile Marianne gives when describing how she baked with her mother on Fridays, it seemed like the perfect idea! The Bakery is now a national success story!
After munching on the delicious treats, we climb to the the sunny second floor of Mariannero, which is covered with designs of colorful knitting yarn and comfortable lounging chairs. Marianne advises us to keep traveling, learning, and to not be afraid to change our professions or goals. She tells us to always stay positive and to take chances. She invites us to come back in a few days to document her mother’s barley and fläsk (Swedish bacon) recipe. Before leaving we are challenged to walk through their self-constructed, Christmas Tree maze that surrounds the Mariannero. We race each other to the finish and bid farewell to our new friends. As we drive back to Järbo, we are both so happy to have met such loving, wonderful, and inspirational people!
Marianne and Helge not only host us those two days, but they become our best friends in Sweden. They give us an open invite to use the wifi at their bakery, they feed us every time we see them, they make sure we are ok at the farm we are volunteering at, they invite us to stay with them, and they always have us on their mind. We are inspired by Marianne and Helge, who have reenergized themselves and their lives through opening a bakery, traveling, and sharing their love in the company of other positive people.
That Tuesday, we return and are taken back to Marianne's childhood through her mother's Barley & Fläsk Recipe. We laugh, eat, and sit together as a family with such delight and positive energy. From firsts, to seconds, to thirds to fourths, I help devour the entire plate as if the bacon were filling my heart with love, not fat. The coffee we drink, the grain we mill, the bread and cookies we share, and the Barley and Bacon we engulf are all prepared with the same special ingredient: Love.
Written and edited by The Recipe Hunters:
Leila Elamine & Anthony Morano