This Swedish Permaculture Retreat Is a Foodie's Paradise
When weekend trips in the country weren’t enough to satisfy restaurant owners Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen’s longing for nature, the couple did the unthinkable. They closed their successful restaurant and sold their house in Copenhagen to follow their dreams of cultivating a sustainable permaculture farm and retreat in the Swedish wilderness.
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The dynamic duo moved south to a remote old-growth forest on the shore of Lake Halla to plant roots in a new endeavor that has happily paid off.
Charming timber cabins and a sustainably managed landscape aren’t the retreat’s only highlights—Mette and Flemming show off their cooking chops and culinary stylings at Stedsan’s restaurant, which offers a seasonal locavore feast served family-style.
All ingredients are locally sourced with the majority foraged nearby and retrieved on site. A small percentage of the ingredients are picked up from nearby farmers, hunters, and fishermen.
"A big part of our vision is to take people from the city out in nature—to let them fall in love with what nature has to offer—because we believe that you protect what you fall in love with," explains Mette. "Inspirational sustainability is important to us."
Launched in July 2017, Stedsans in the Woods started off with a series of luxury bedouin canvas tents for lodging.
A successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $114,000 helped fund the development of the permaculture retreat, which now includes a glass-enclosed restaurant, a floating sauna, and recently completed cabins designed and built in collaboration with Asger Risborg and Thomas Kjelds.
Stedsans in the Woods will soon include a greenhouse and an outdoor spa area with a hot tub, showers, and a yoga/meditation platform.
To accommodate students, chef apprentices, and other travelers on a budget, the couple plans to add a primitive camping shelter as well. "We want to make room for different kinds of people around our tables," explains Mette.
Sustainability is woven throughout the Swedish resort, from the biodynamic farming and resource management to the way the owners treat their staff and guests. However, the goal of Stedsans in the Woods isn’t only to practice sustainability. The couple also wants to explore how communities can live in sync with nature via a symbiotic relationship.
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To that end, Mette and Flemming have dubbed their idyllic resort a "lab for their lifestyle of the future," and invite architects, philosophers, farmers, designers, and other visitors from around the world to experiment and explore new ways of sustainable living at Stedsans in the Woods.
For scrumptious meals and a luxurious night spent beneath the stars at the sustainable Swedish resort, make a booking here. The restaurant and retreat are open from May to October.