Umeå is really really a great place to visit. It is situated close to the Artic Circle (63.5 degrees north). The city is clean, bright, light and progressive. There is a great range of restaurants that focus upon sustainable and local cuisine, together with vibrant cocktail bars. I had some delicious lunches at the Folkets Hus Conference Centre, with drinks perfectly matched, as suggested by restaurant manager and sommelier Hanna Eriksson.
Just 20 minutes from the centre of the city is the 'winery' of Brännland Iscider. Founded by Andreas Sundgren just 10 years ago, the ciders are produced in the same way as wine, The delicious range of sweet, real ciders give top quality sweet wines a run for their money, The alcohol content is between 7 and 13% abv, and residual sugar at least 130 g/l. Chaptalisation is not allowed, and no preservatives are added.
Umeå University is the flagship institution of higher education in northern Sweden. There are over 37,00 undergraduate and post-graduates students. Undergaduate programmes include 'Oenology in Theory and Practice'. A mandatory textbook for this programme is 'Wine production and Quality - 2nd Edition by Keith Grainger and Hazel Tattersall, which previously wone thw Gourmand Award for the 'Best Wine Book for Professionals in 25 Years'. The university undertakes ground breaking research. At the Food Symposium, on 29th May, the University presented a Research Day on Sustainable Food Systems in the Artic.
Umeå is an important hub for the only indigenous people in Europe: the Sámi. Reindeer herding is a sustainable source of food for the Sámi, who treat the animals with the greatest of respect, and use all parts of the deer as food. Reindeer eat the leaves and shoots of shrubs and trees, especially birch (Umeå is the city of birches), together with mosses, ferns and herbs.
Sadly my time in was all too short - I can't wait to be back, hopefully in November, for the Vin I Umeå event.