Two of my favorite things -- Berlin's Turkish Market and oat-y, coconut-y Australian Anzac biscuits -- were featured among 98 others in this year's Saveur 100, the magazine's annual compilation of edible, drinkable, readable and visit-able inspiration.
That's all well and good, but the two favorites that didn't make the cut are so damn special that they must be sung about, blogged about and shouted from the rooftops as Massively Excellent Things.
First: summertime butter at Fäviken, Magnus Nillson's isolated and beautiful restaurant in a historic barn in the wilds of central Sweden. The pat of richly golden dairy that waits on your table in the lofted dining room -- after a parade of snacks begins the meal downstairs (flax crackers with pureed mussels, dehydrated lichen and the like, accompanied by sherry-like fermented rhubarb juice) -- is made from the milk of six cows owned by a family a few miles down the road. The family doesn't have electricity, so often the butter sits at room temperature for a few days (until there's enough to deliver to the restaurant -- so said the server). This fermentation of such pristine dairy yields spectacular results; the butter is a savory, funky, heady thing, tasting of grass and animal and earth -- a standout in a meal where near everything was special. In the court of cultured butter, Fäviken's is king.
Next: Leila's Shop in Shoreditch, London. Its charm is in its stylish plainness, simplicity and warmth: eggs fried in a well-buttered skillet and topped with a few leaves of crisped sage; red chard with plumped raisins, pine nuts and onions caramelized with saffron; all cooked in a homey open kitchen and served with big slices of Poilâne toast.
The shop next door is packed (jumbled, even) with local cheese and charcuterie, cured Scottish salmon, a rainbow of produce from France, jams, grains, and dairy. While there, I eyed a stack of burlap bags in the corner and considered making a nest (and never leaving).