- Swedish spices as in the Middle Ages
At Sturkö, just a few kilometres from the Möcklösund Bridge in the middle of the Blekinge archipelago (Karlskrona), Christel Hammar runs the Malmgren Bredaviks Örtagård, an exciting excursion destination where spices, flavours and medieval faith are the focus. Don't miss a guided tour of the herb garden.
From the turnstile - a then-visiting carousel that kept the cattle out of the farms - it is only twenty meters to the herb garden where dozens of herbs are divided into squares, just like in the Middle Ages. Here you can learn more about suitable herbs for food, wound care, for love, for mood, soul and internal diseases. In all, there are certainly a hundred different kinds of herbs.
- Say what you can't use for herbs, says Christel Hammar Malmgren, laughing.
She is dressed in medieval linen clothes, a practical way to cope with the heat, but also an essential parameter in a spectacle that captivates both children and adults. The stories from the Middle Ages are so fascinating that the clothes somehow legitimize herbal art. Or how about Libbsticka being able to cure unhappy love, that Lungrot (thanks to the shape of the leaves as two lungs) could cure lung disease and that Vallört can cause broken bones to heal
For almost forty years, Christel has had his own herb garden. The latter, Bredaviks Örtagård, is already well over twenty years old, drawn and dug as a classic herb garden in a medieval monastery. By studying paintings from the early 1000s to the late 1400s, Christel has been able to build a typical herb garden that not only looks like a monastery garden - with strict squares and walkways in between - but also has the medieval herb garden's wild edge, a soul's herb garden. Where the wilds symbolize relaxation and peace of mind, just as Holy Birgitta once said to have expressed. Besides, there is a small bench next to a pond where the power of the garden becomes a feeling to remember.
Bredaviks Örtagård is built as a monastic garden in the 1300s, where apart from the herb garden itself you can also experience a medieval environment with houses like in the 1300s.
- We have built a medieval village in the display garden with full-house (a kind of house that can best be described as a hospital, poor and old-age home), barber and apothecary (i.e. a pharmacy then), says Christel Hammar Malmgren. She shows a fraction of the vast range of spices, herbs and teas available for sale in the store.
Apart from teaching the visitor how the medieval healing arts were constructed, Christel is passionate about spreading herbal knowledge and motivating people to rediscover the power of plants. Both as health food preparations, teas and spices. Nowadays, Bredaviks Örtagård is a significant producer of spices, both of herbs that generally grow in Sweden and of spices imported to Blekinge and blended into fantastic flavours in the sea band.
- I am cautious in the selection and work only with the world's best spice producers. It guarantees high-quality spice blends that gild the flavours of the food, says Christel.
Spices in loose weight
Apart from pre-packaged spice mixtures in both glass and cellophane, Christer also sells spices in loose weight. Everything for the visitor to be able to buy just as many spices as needed.
The scent is fabulous, slightly seductive, and it is absolutely impossible to smell without buying.
- Haha, no that's enough, says Christel and smiles. My spice mixes get the food suction turned on, and it suddenly becomes easy to see tonight's dinner standing on the table.
With children, Bredavik's Örtagård is undoubtedly an experience in class with any museum. Also in a scenic setting on the first part of Sturkö in the Blekingska archipelago. By car, it is just over 20 minutes from central Karlskrona to Bredavik's herb garden. With public transport, you can count on 1.5 hours by bus and 40 minutes by boat (from Handelshamnen to Bredavik's jetty) including connecting walk.
Find here: Follow the E22 north in the direction of Kalmar. Shortly after Öljersjö, take a right in the roundabout (Skyltat Sturkö / Hasslö) and follow Sturkövägen for less than 12 km. Bredaviks Örtagård is on the left side of the road. Signposted. www.bredaviksortagard.se Tel. +46704442041.
Five favourites: It isn't effortless to select five favourites from Bredavik's enormous range. But if I have to, noise and scare (a sweet chilli spice), Virtues and dreams (oriental hot spice), Munkens lamb spice (a little warm lamb spice), Summer and sun (herb spice extremely suitable for potato dishes) and Wilhelm herb spice (wild spice with wild spice) garlic) five favourites. The herb garden barbecue spice (in Bredavik's way) is also a bestseller. All are sold in bulk.
Healthcare as in the Middle Ages: The four bodily fluids - the red blood, the white mucus, the yellow bile and the black bile - needed to be continuously balanced so that people would not get sick. Harmony arose through vein, coupling and with the help of blood vessels. The diagnoses were made, among other things, utilizing urine examination and pulse taking. In other words, Rocket Science.
- and how they were used in the Middle Ages (keep in mind that we may have a different view today).
1. Basilica - was considered to cure massive paralysis and was mixed with wine to cure a fever. Felt good for digestion, for hard-to-heal wounds and used to resolve fights and provide calm. Women used basil to increase sex drive.
2.Dragon - considered to be useful if you got bitten or stung by toxic animals and dogs.
3. Dewdrop - a classic herb that was considered useful when the woman was no longer fertile, devoted to the Virgin Mary. The medieval alchemists believed that the water drop - which is often found in the centre of the dewlap leaves, especially in the morning twig - had magical powers and that the decline could give eternal youth.
4. Cucumber - could awaken the sad, sad and melancholy people to the joy and cheerful mind. The herb was also considered heart-strengthening and uplifting, but also blood-purifying and fever-reducing.
5. Aesop Hyssopus officinalis - used for purification of the lungs and in stone suffering, cough and liver pain. Also familiar as a cover over wounds and bruises.
Source: Christel Hammar Malmgren and the script "About primacy and faith in the herb garden".