With a two Michelin-star New York flagship serving seasonal dishes of Nordic delights since 1987, St James’s Aquavit opened in 2016 to continue the love for all things Scandi on this side of the pond. The fresh, flavourful and inventive dishes earned it a Michelin star less than a year after opening, and now with lockdown taking an in-person visit off the cards, it has created three hampers (vegetarian, pescatarian and meat) to bring a taste of Aquavit straight to your dinner table.
The meat home kit contains a four-course feast. Black pudding with a delicate layer of lardo, bacon crumbs and lingonberries kicks things off, and it is flavourful and delicious. Pulled venison bao buns come next, with fermented cucumber and juniper mayonnaise adding crunch and depth of flavour to the easy-to-assemble offering. The first of two heartier courses, Swedish meatballs require some pan cooking before being added to wonderfully creamy pre-prepared mash (a quick zap in the microwave is enough to have this dinner-ready). Macerated lingonberries, sauteed mushrooms, pickled cucumbers and a veal demi glace sauce top this comforting dish off wonderfully. For the final curtain call, beef Rydberg, a Swedish classic. Cubes of moist beef are accompanied by golden, crispy squares of potato, onion puree and a generous splash of horseradish sauce. Topped with a confit egg, this makes a simple but pleasing end to a fantastic taste of Scandinavia.
How many does it feed?
Everything is vacuum-sealed into plastic ‘packs’ for each dish. This is a very organised system and there is no confusion over which sauces etc accompany each dish. It also means packaging is pretty minimal.
As this comes with four dishes, there is a fair amount of prep/assemby involved, but everything is novice-level. Purées, sauces and sides arrive already prepared for you, so they are mostly a ‘warm in the microwave’ affair. It is really just the black pudding, meatballs, beef cubes and potatoes that need any real cooking attention.
£80. There are also pescatarian and vegetarian hampers options, and desserts and wines are available as optional extras.
Great for when you want to escape to a different destination through your dinner plate. This kit feels special but doesn’t require too much prep, leaving time to really get into the spirit of hygge away from the kitchen.