What to eat in Norway?
Norway’s recipes are filled with fresh and bold ingredients that haven’t changed over the course of history. Norwegian food reflects the Norwegian lifestyle perfectly, its food balances perfectly with vast mountains and crystal-clear lakes.
These days the Norse nation follows the culinary concept of The New Nordic Kitchen: local, fresh, and simple.
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Salty and Savoury
Norway is one of the world’s main seafood exporters, yet its traditional menus don’t encompass all that much fish. Norway has a rich agrarian history, with sheep at its centre. Fårikål is a simple stew consisting of lamb and cabbage. Despite mostly relying on a limited number of ingredients, Norway still serves up flavourful dishes.
Lapskaus is a traditional stew to cradle you through the wintertime. The stew is made up of beef, potatoes, rutabaga, and everything that goes with it.
Like any hearty stew, it tastes better the next day and serves perfectly with lefse flatbread.
In the battle of Scandinavian meatballs, Norway offers up kjøttkaker. Just as the country's neighbours pair it with rich gravy, potatoes and lingonberry jam, Norway surpasses them in size. Beef is used traditionally, but ground venison adds a nice touch.
Smalahove might not reflect the Norwegian menu we know today, but it would be a shame if not mentioned.
Smalahove is one of the oldest Norse traditions: a sheep’s head is carefully smoked and dried to be steamed for about three hours making the meat flavourful and soft.
Nicely served with potatoes, beer, and perhaps akevitt to stomach the sight of it.
Lefse is a soft flatbread, cooked on a specific griddle called takke. Usually tasting savoury, sweet variants are served as dessert with a bit of jam. They are most commonly prepared with potato and flour. Just roll them up with a dabble of butter and enjoy its tasteful simplicity.
Every nation has its signature dumplings. Norway has raspeballer made from potatoes, flour, and salt. Nicely finished with a dribble of bacon fat, this dish is sure to keep you warm on Norwegian fjords.
Brunost might not resemble cheese as most know it, but it’s a staple of Norwegian breakfast. This brown cheese is created by boiling goat milk until it caramelizes into the beloved brown topping. Both sweet and salty, it pairs nicely with fresh sourdough bread.
It would be a shame if we did not mention Norwegian seafood on our list. Smoked, cured, or raw, salmon reigns supreme at the top of the Norwegian food pyramid. Other fishy staples include pickled herring (sursild), fishcakes, fish soup, and a rich variety of sushi.
Cuter than their Belgian counterparts, Norwegian waffles (Vafler) are shaped like hearts. These waffles are served with classic topics such as chocolate, sugar, or jam. For an authentic experience, you can add the aforementioned brunost.
A classic Scandinavian dessert using any apples that survived the cidermaking process.
This dessert only needs three main ingredients which are easily found: whipping cream, apples, and breadcrumbs. It is served as a trifle in a glass or bowl to show off every layer.
Rømmegrot is THE Norwegian Christmas comfort food. This porridge is made from fresh sour cream and milk, topped with sugars or melted butter.
Every grandmother will have a different way of preparing the dessert but at its core, it’s creamy comfort.
The Norwegians have a knack for easily made delicious sweets as proven by the Trollkrem.
Berries are front and centre in Nordic cuisine and the main ingredients for Trollkrem are fluffed-up egg whites, sugar, and berries. It’s a nice topping for any cake you make, but just as delicious on its own.
Another layered Norwegian dessert. This cake consists of sponge, and vanilla custard, and is topped with a stiff meringue. The Norwegians proudly proclaim it to be the best cake in the world as it pairs wonderfully with its signature song: Hymne til Kvæfjordkaka.
A Scandinavian tradition with a twist. In Norway, Akevitt is distilled from potatoes, whereas in Sweden and Denmark they typically use grains and wheat.
Akevitt is aged in oak barrels for at least a year which produces its strong flavour.
If you want to savour the drink more carefully, try Fjellbekk. A cocktail made with Akevitt liquor, vodka, lemon and lime.
Norway’s recipe for cider goes back to times when Vikings roamed the land. Today the drink is just as popular with many contemporary variants.
If you think berries are the fruit of choice here, you might not have heard of the fact that Norway holds the title of: 'The World's best Apples'.
They also have non-alcoholic versions for a quick refresher.
Sweet as can be, Mjød is exactly that. This ancient Norse wine is based on honey and fermented with water and spices.
It makes for the perfect sweet drink over Christmas time with a stick of cinnamon in it.
If Norway doesn’t offer you enough Christmassy atmosphere with snow-covered tree tops and frozen icy lakes. Add Glogg to the list. It’s a Scandinavian mulled wine, combining Akevitt with cinnamon and cloves.