Norway has developed a vast variety of distinctive delicacies thanks to its abundant history and well-placed location. Make your cruise to Norway unforgettable with our top picks of Norwegian specialities, from sheep’s head to reindeer stew… enjoy!
Fish forms the basis of many Norwegian dishes. Rakfisk is made from fermented fillets of freshwater trout. The fillets are salted, layered in wooden barrels and covered with spruce branches before being left to ferment for two to three months and sometimes, up to a year. It is usually served with lefse (a soft flat bread) spread with butter and sour cream and enjoyed alongside an onion and beetroot salad. Rakfisk can be pungent but is well worth trying, especially with generous amounts of butter and sour cream!
Røkt laks literally translates as ‘smoked salmon'. Salmon is a staple in the Norwegian diet – the country’s many fjords and long coastline produce ample amounts of fish. The fish grow over a longer period, due to the cooler temperatures which allows them to develop a deeper and richer flavour. Norwegian smoked salmon has a dense smoky flavour as it undergoes dry-curing with different types of wood, such as juniper. Gravlaks is another popular way of preparing salmon in Norway – using a blend of salt, dill and sugar, the salmon is dry cured for 24 hours.
Finnbiff, a stew with reindeer meat, is perhaps the most well-known traditional Norwegian dish. The reindeer meat is cut into shavings and sautéed alongside bacon and mushrooms. Water is then added and left to simmer in order to create a rich stock of flavour. Lastly, a mix of goat’s cheese, sour cream, juniper berries, milk and thyme are added. The result, which is usually served with mashed potatoes and lingonberries, is a delicious combination of flavours.
Smalahove is a festive speciality dish and is not for the faint-hearted. Why? Smalahove is a salted and smoked sheep’s head, boiled and served with potatoes and kohlrabi mash. As with many Norwegian dishes, the flavour is smoky and salty and best consumed alongside copious amounts of beer (preferably a traditional home brew!)
Krumkake, which translates as ‘curved or crooked cake’, consists of paper-thin rolls of a waffle-like pancake, which are lined with the desired sweet filling. Cooked in a two-sided iron griddle which decorates the sides of the sweet treat, krumkake’s are wrapped around a wooden spoon while still hot from the griddle, in order to create a cone-like shape. Krumkake’s filling choices are unlimited, though most popular are whipped cream and fresh berries, mascarpone or almond.
Lefse is a sweetened version of traditional soft flatbread. Usually enjoyed with a cup of coffee, lefse is slathered with a blend of butter, sugar and cinnamon, then folded or rolled and cut into small portions. The easy, portable nature of this dessert is likely due to a need to quickly get back to the fields after dinner. Lefse is still enjoyed as an on-the-go snack and can often be found in well-stocked grocery stores.