18 Norwegian foods you've probably never heard of P.1

17-03-2017

(WorldKings) Here are 18 of Norway's greatest -- and strangest -- specialties.

1. Smalahove

 

"You have to try it once in your life. This is amazing thing," says Eirik Braek, owner of Oslo deli Fenaknoken, holding up a whole sheep's head.
Fenaknoken is an Aladdin's cave of cured, dried and salted delicacies, with hams strung from the ceiling like chandeliers, and Braek is a charming and enthusiastic host, giving all visitors to his shop a tasting tour of Norwegian food history.
Smalahove -- literally sheep's head -- is a Christmas treat in Western Norway.
"You start with the eyes," says Braek, because the fatty areas taste better warm. "This one you have to serve hot."

 

2. Great Scallop

 

"The sea is something we live off now and it's something that we lived on for centuries," says Holmboe Bang. "There's a strong belonging to the sea."
The cold waters mean seafood takes longer to grow, making the flesh is extra plump and tender.
In the Norway episode of "Culinary Journeys," Holmboe Bang and Maaemo's diver Roderick Sloan feast on "salty, intensely sweet" Great Scallops, served in their shell with reindeer moss and juniper.
People love fish so much, says Braek, that they'll drink Omega 3 at Christmas to line their stomachs pre-revelry: "Just a small scoop. You can have more alcohol, maybe."
 

3. Mahogany clam

 

The world's oldest animal ever is said to be a sprightly little bivalve mollusk by the name of Ming, who was dredged off the coast of Iceland in 2006 and estimated to be 507 years old.
The ones found off Norway's northern coast will usually have been chilling in the Arctic depths for 150 to 200 years.
Says Roderick Sloan: "My job is like going to the moon every day.
"When I'm on the bottom, I only have two sounds: the sound of my heart and the sound of my breath."
 

4. Dried everything

"In Norway we dry everything, because we have to," says Braek. "We did this to survive in the future. We salted and dried things."
Holmboe Bang agrees.
Fermenting, pickling, salting, curing, smoking: "It's all about trying to prolong summer, it's about making the taste of summer last.
"We've developed these intensely special, completely different flavor profile than the produce has in the summer, but that's for us the taste of winter."
"People did this for thousands of years," he adds.
"When you think about the way people had to survive, you had to preserve your fish, you had to think 'I have to stock up my larder for the winter, otherwise me and my family are going to die'... We don't have that mentality any more.
"I feel like now we live in a society where everything is available all the time, and that's a blessing and a curse."
 

5. Klippfisk

 

Klippfisk -- literally "cliff fish" -- is dried and salted cod, in a tradition dating back to the 17th century.

In the "Culinary Journeys" video above, Holmboe Bang is schooled in the method by Nordskot expert Erling Heckneby.
 

6. Cod tongues

 

The season for fresh fish is January to April, says Braek.
Skrei -- or cod -- is one of Norway's greatest exports but one specialty that hasn't been such a hit abroad is cod tongue.
The cut is less the actual tongue than the underside of the cod chin, should you find "cod chin" sounds more appealing.
The best way to wrap your lips round some cod tongue is to toss them in seasoned flour and fry them in butter.
 

7. Gamalost

 

Gamalost means "old cheese" -- and this is one that was actually eaten by Vikings.
It's a hard, crumbly brownish-yellow cheese with a sharp, intense flavor and a pungent scent to match.
"Some people love it, some people hate it," says Braek.
Those who really love it can join the annual Gamalost Festival held in Vik in May.
"This cheese we can keep forever. This never gets old," adds Braek, explaining that it was a Norwegian staple in the days before refrigeration.
Production is very labor-intensive, so it's rare to find gamalost for sale outside Norway.
MORE: Best country in the world to live? Still Norway, according to the U.N.
 

8. Brunost

 

Much easier to find than gamalost, brunost is the sweet-savory brown cheese that delights Norwegians and surprises foreigners.
It's a goat's cheese made from caramelized whey -- giving it a sharp, sweet-sour dulce de leche taste -- and its fat and sugar content is such that a truck of the stuff burnt for five days when it caught fire in a Norwegian tunnel in 2013.
Norwegians eat it on toast, with crispbread, with jam and at breakfast -- though any meal will do.
A classic combo is sliced brunost on top of one of Norway's sweetly heart-shaped waffles. They're softer and more pliable than the Belgian variety, making them easier to fold in the hand.
At Christmas they're eaten on toasted buttered julecake -- a festive cake flavored with cardamom and dotted with fruit and candied peel.
 

9. Reindeer and elk

 

Forget the Pepsi Challenge -- visitors to Fenaknoken can sample dried elk and dried reindeer side by side.
"Elk is like a dry, more wild taste," says Braek. Reindeer is a "much smaller animal so it's much sweeter."
Reindeer moss -- so called because reindeer eat it -- is a lichen found in Arctic tundra. "It's very special to Norway," explains Sloan. "This is where the reindeer get all their flavor from."
It's also sometimes used in the making of akvavit, the famous Scandinavian spirit.

 

 
 
According to CNN.com

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