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Readers' tips: Where to find the best of Italian culture in Sweden

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Readers' tips: Where to find the best of Italian culture in Sweden
There are plenty of opportunities to experience Italian food, theatre, aperitivo and more in Sweden. File photo: Jorge Zapata/Unsplash
06:00 CEST+02:00
Have you ever found yourself wishing you could swap your daily bryggkaffe for a foamy cappuccino, and replace Swedish kebabpizza with, well, normal pizza? The good news is that there's a huge amount of Italian food, events, and more to be found across the country. Our readers helped us track down the very best.

In a new series, The Local is looking into the best places to find food, events, and cultural associations from different cultures, to help our readers who are feeling homesick or just looking to try something different.

With help from our Italian readers and the Facebook groups Living in Sweden and Italiani a Stoccolma, we've gathered together the top suggestions of where to find a piece of Italy here in Sweden.

Groceries

It's not just the high prices of Swedish supermarkets that might come as a shock to those used to shopping in Italy, but you're also unlikely to find many of your favourite ingredients from home -- the range of pasta shapes available in the average supermarket leaves a lot to be desired. But in recent years, the offering has increased significantly, with brands like Barilla and De Cecco in stock at most supermarket chains. 

Eataly in central Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT

In Stockholm, Eataly offers plenty of Italian ingredients towards the more gourmet (and expensive) end of the scale, and runs a range of cookery courses so you can recreate your favourite dishes at home.

Italian delicacies can also be found in Stockholm at Wijnjas Wholesale, especially if it's cheese you're after, while Stockholm Ost och Chark specializes in imported meats and cheeses. And in Gothenburg, try Delitalia for fresh Italian food as well as espresso and daily lunches.

Coffee

A perfect Italian espresso can be found in Sweden once you know where to look.

In Stockholm, Sosta Bar on central Sveavägen has limited opening hours but unbeatable coffee and pastries according to many locals. Unlike most Stockholm cafes, laptops are banned here, so instead sip your coffee and allow yourself to be mentally transported to Italy. Not far away, D'Abramo makes a fine espresso and also sells beans and Moka pots, while Caffe Poli near Fridhemsplan is a firm favourite among those in the know.

In the Söderhallarna shopping centre on Södermalm, DeliCo is a small gem where you'll find not only one of the best and cheapest coffees in the city (20 kronor for espresso and 25 kronor for a cappuccino or latte at the time of writing), but you can also get cannoli and other pastries as well as coffee beans (including Caffe Poli's), Moka pots and other caffeine-related paraphernalia.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Locals in Gothenburg suggested heading to Bar Italia, a spot serving everything from your morning coffee to a good daily lunch to an Aperol Spritz after work, or Bar Centro, where the food is fusion but the coffee is all-Italian.

And in Skåne, look out for Fogarolli's mobile espresso bar, which also does a great Italian hot chocolate.

Pastry and bakeries

Spigamadre in Stockholm's Årsta neighbourhood is the place to go for breads like foccaccia and lievito madre (an Italian kind of sourdough starter). In the old town, Amaretti Virginia sells amaretti and many other treats such as panettone, including many gluten-free and vegan varieties (they also do gelato).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Pizza

If it's Neapolitan pizza you're looking for, Meno Male's three Stockholm locations are a must-visit -- you can create your own pizza with a selection of Italian toppings and no kebab meat or banana in sight -- as is Giro on Sveavägen, where the chefs were trained at none other than iconic Napes pizzeria Da Michele (also known as 'the one from Eat Pray Love').

Slightly out of the centre, 450 Gradi in the Lidingö suburb came highly recommended, along with Södermalm pizzeria Pane Vino.

Elsewhere in Sweden, Bestia in Linköping was praised for its small but tasty selection of pizzas, while nearby Le Borgate was recommended for the pizza and authentic Italian atmosphere. 

Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT

Other restaurants

Italian restaurants with other dishes on the menu and recommended by our Italian readers include Mancini, Taverna Brillo (where you can also buy pizza dough to make at home), La Vecchia Signora, and Trattoria Montanari in Stockholm. And the city's best fresh pasta is said to be found at Vissani Pasta near Karlaplan.

Over in Gothenburg, La Strega specializes in northern Italian cuisine, the centrally located Magazzino was praised for its food and wines, while Riccardo Cibo e Vino is a restaurant that also offers pasta-making classes and hosts regular events such as their 'Cheese Fridays'. Aldardo is another option for an Italian lunch.

Malmö is known for its offering of international restaurants and the Italian choices shouldn't disappoint: Gustavino in the very centre, Via Napoli offers pizza and pasta to eat in or take away, and La Trattoria was also recommended.

Close to Helsingborg, Mölle Krukmakeri & Café was recommended for its beautiful setting as much as for the food, 

And if you thought you couldn't get good fresh pasta in Lapland, think again and check out I Bolognesi, a small business in Boden run by a couple from Italy's food capital who sell pasta to individuals and restaurants.

Gelato

Swedish temperatures might not compare to Italy's, but you can still taste summer with authentic gelato at Stockholm's Gelato Scarfó out in the Bromma suburb, where you can try gelato in brioche or a dreamy affogato. Closer to the centre is espresso bar and gelateria Morelli in Kungsholmen, 

In Malmö, Dolce Sicilia received positive reviews and also serves fresh pasta as well as deli foods from Sicily.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Aperitivo

One of the most beloved Italian social traditions, aperitivo means meeting friends for a drink and food buffet, but the concept isn't well known in Sweden. Meno Male and Taverna Brillo both offer weekly aperitivo in Stockholm, while Garage del Gusto in Stockholm's Vasastan neighbourhood has different offers throughout the week, with the Tuesday apericena highly recommended.

You can also follow the startup Aperitivo Stockholm, hosted in a different venue each time, where 250 kronor will get you an aperitivo cocktail or beer as well as access to a themed buffet.

Socializing

Facebook groups such as Italiani in Svezia, Italiani a Stoccolma, Italiani a Göteborg, and Italiani a Malmö are a great start for getting advice on specific questions such as Italian-speaking hairdressers or lawyers, as well as meeting new people. There are also several groups on events site MeetUp which are targeted towards Italians and Italian speakers.

The Italian Consulate also organizes events for the Italian community in Sweden, not only in Stockholm but in Malmö too.

INTERNATIONAL CULTURE IN SWEDEN:

Culture 

In Stockholm, the Associazione Caravaggio charges a very low membership fee and offers aperitivos, film screenings, talks and even cookery classes and wine tastings through the year. And the Istituto Italiano di Cultura is open to the public offering events and exhibitions with an Italian theme, as well as its own Italian-language library. Yet another Stockholm cultural organization is Il Ponte, which puts on plenty of events from opera to aperitivo as well as workshops and a preschool for children.

Several people got in touch to let us know about Italian-language readings for children at libraries across the country, so it's well worth finding out which events are on at your local library, as well as checking out the selection of Italian-language books.

For the politically minded, Fratelli Rosselli is an organization with no party affiliation which hosts debates.

And you can watch Italian theatre put on by TeaterPi or Varför inte, two groups which have each been running for over a decade.

For those new in Stockholm or visiting from elsewhere in Sweden, you can take a guided tour of the city in Italian. And for football fans, Italian expat team AC Azzurri plays in Stockholm. 

Although these organizations are primarily based in Stockholm, it's well worth checking out FAIS, a site that brings together the various Italian cultural organizations in Sweden and advertises the events they put on.

IN DEPTH: How can Stockholm's cultural scene be more open to internationals?

Contribute to future articles in this series! Have you discovered a restaurant, shop, event or group that reminds you of home, wherever home might be for you? Get in touch and tell us where people in Sweden can find the best of your home culture.

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