I’ve been in beautiful Oslo for the past few days, doing my best to have as many new culinary experiences as possible. To me, the food here seems very connected to nature, with ingredients like fresh berries (cloudberries, gooseberries, bilberries, strawberries), fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, brown crab), chewy-grainy breads with nuts and seeds, mushrooms, wild game (moose, reindeer, whale[!]), meats (duck, lamb, beef, pork), cheeses and full-fat dairy, and root vegetables (parsnips, beets, potatoes). Added to that is a host of international food influences plus great local craft beers and aquavit, a vodka-like spirit flavored with herbs and caraway or dill—Oslo’s is a food culture I could get used to. A few highlight meals:
Wow, what a lovely breakfast spread at our hotel! My favorite items:
- Chewy, grainy breads with soft butter
- Sautéed mushrooms!
- Homemade strawberry, raspberry, and gooseberry jams
- Thinly sliced fenalår, cured leg of lamb, traditionally eaten at Christmas time
- Geitost cheese, a cow- and goat-milk cheese—its milk sugars caramelize during the cheese-making process, making the cheese a caramel-brown color and giving it a unique sweet taste
- The cutest heart waffles, served with geitost, sour cream, and runny strawberry jam
I loved this “Taste of Norway” plate, including a few different preparations of duck, pork, elk, and reindeer.
Creamy fish soup is on the menu everywhere!
Sampling some local seafood:
Some of my favorite meals—bread, grainy crackers, cheese, dry sausage, berries, and chocolate—didn’t even make it into the photos. We scarfed them too quickly.
We enjoyed some local beers:
Not many restaurants are open late in Norway, but after a long day out exploring the fjords, we were in need of dinner after returning at 11 pm. These warm stuffed grape leaves were served with a yogurt sauce and topped with brown butter:
Oh, and the fjords looked like this!
On the way to this gorgeous sculpture park (the detailed figures by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland are so carefully crafted that you can see the veins in a hand, feel the edge of a fingernail, see the folds of skin on a bended torso), we picked up cherries and chocolate-covered crystallized ginger.
I loved the modern food hall Mathallen, where I enjoyed this duck confit sandwich with a sour cider from a local brewery.
Pistachio gelato and chocolate sorbetto for dessert:
The Jewish Resistance Museum, for a fascinating and heartbreaking look at the German occupation of Norway and the citizens who risked (and often lost) their lives fighting the Nazis by smuggling messages, information, and people across the border.
The Viking Ship Museum, to learn about the ships, culture, and beliefs of the Vikings who lived in Norway over a thousand years ago.
The Kon-Tiki Museum, where we learned all about Thor Heyerdahl’s boat trip across the South Pacific to prove his controversial theory that people from South America had migrated to Polynesia. We tried to read between the lines to get the real story of an archeologist and his wife and why they had to go into hiding and eventually flee after they attended a party where someone began brewing orange beer.
The gorgeously muraled city hall:
Three days didn’t feel long enough, and there are still lots of things I need to try next time (lefse, lutefisk, cloudberries, more beers), but what what a wonderful experience this was! We just landed in Copenhagen this evening, so stay tuned for my next post on our food adventures here!