I think it’s only fair to point out that the food in Copenhagen is expensive and in Norway, it is REALLY REALLY Expensive. To give you some context, a 12 oz 7-11 coffee in the US is 99 cents in Copenhagen is was $4 and in Norway $5.50. A hamburger at your local gastropub in the US is about $15.00 (with tax and tip) in Copenhagen $35.00. A pint of local lager in the US is $5, in Norway $10. So yeah, eating and drinking was not cheap but, it was DELICIOUS.
I was told by a local that the first thing I need to eat after landing was a hot dog, a French bread encased hot dog slathered with your choice of mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise. I’ll be honest, about the last thing I wanted after being on a plane for 10 hours was a hot dog. But when in Denmark, do as the Danish do.
Okay, it was good. Unnecessary, but good.
The Scandinavian take their bread seriously and it is served, thankfully, with just about everything. It’s fresh and it’s good. My favorite bread is a heavy whole grain rye bread called Rugbrød. Rugbrød is very low in fat. It contains no oil or sugar and has a marginal amount of salt. It is loaded with whole grains and fiber. And it is DELICIOUS with BUTTAH.
I’ve been searching high and low to find a bakery in Chicago (and I have expanded my search to the suburbs and southern Wisconsin) that might make something similar.
Like other European countries, the Scandinavians love their cheese and cured meats. Bread- Cheese-Meat. I think I had died and went to heaven until I tried the brunost or mysost, aka brown cheese. Brown Cheese is made by boiling a mixture of milk, cream, and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel, which gives the cheese its brown color and sweet taste. Yeah, not my thing. I tried it, I didn’t like it. I moved on to all other things goat and sheep.
If you don’t try Smörgåsbord in Denmark you are missing out. It should not be confused with
Smørrebrød which is buttered rugbrød. Originating in Sweden, Smörgåsbord is buffet style hot and cold dishes. Bread, butter, and cheese are always part of the smörgåsbord. OH YEAH. You typically start with cold fish dishes and progress to the warm dishes. Cured salmon and pickled herring are two traditional dishes that are served, as well as, roast pork with crispy crackling.
In addition to the traditional offerings, our Smörgåsbord included some fried cod fillets, red cabbage, liver pate, pickles, beets, potato salad and lots of things covered with bacon. It was wonderful. And paired really well with the Schnapps we ordered.
In Norway, if there is one thing that you can count on being served with dinner it’s potatoes. I don’t think I ate a meal in Bergen without them. Boiled or mashed they always made their way on my plate. And, I’ll be honest, I’m glad they were there to fill me up. The food in Noway is pretty simple. A standard dinner consists of meat, vegetable, and potatoes or stew or soup.
I managed to eat fish every day in Norway. It is fresh and delicious. Bergen is a fishing port with a great fish market. Being in a hotel, I was not able to cook but I would have loved to have cooked up some of the local freshly caught seafood.
Lutefisk is a local delicacy that, to be honest, I never have to eat again. It is made from aged air-dried salted whitefish and lye. Its texture is strange, almost gelatinous and it has a VERY pungent odor.
I was on a quest to find and eat reindeer when I was in Norway. Unfortunately, it was out of season. But, I was able to find some reindeer patties for lunch one day. Of course, they came with potatoes and some smashed peas. They were good and I would have liked to have tried reindeer steak. Maybe some day.
My favorite dinner of the trip was at Alex Sushi in Oslo. It was by far the best sushi I have ever eaten, EVER. We ordered the three-course tasting menu. It was magnificent and included whale and lobster.