Virgin New Potatoes
Virgin New Potatoes are a delicacy in Sweden. These tender heirloom potato varietals are not just delicious, but as they can be harvested very early in a short season, they also represent the long-awaited summer after what is generally a cold and dark Scandinavian winter. A seasonal delicacy harvested from June to September, these spuds are so revered that the first batch, harvested in early June, occasionally sell at auction for up to $150 per pound.
Virgin New Potatoes are harvested while the potato plant is still alive and before the potato tuber itself has fully developed its skin. The result is a delicate potato that is very high in water content but extremely low in starch content and only has a very thin film for a skin. While the potato came to Sweden as a crop in the 1700s it was only in the 1800s that a young farmer discovered the tender, early-harvest, new potato. It was then that this tradition was born.
There are a large number of heirloom varietals of new potato in Sweden and they differ in taste significantly. Even the same variety can vary in taste from year to year depending on the specific climate of the harvest season. Elements of terroir such as rain, sun, wind and temperature all affect the flavor of these unique heirloom potatoes. They are a source of pride for the farmers that pick them and a staple on the Swedish plate both at home and in restaurants. Often simply served boiled with dill and sea salt, the new potatoes from Cape Bjäre are commonly accepted as some of the best in the world. These Virgin New Potatoes are the source and the inspiration for Karlsson’s Vodka.