The Manual
Food & Drink

Norway Takes a Bow

Written by Shandana A. Durrani Posted on February 18, 2013

When one thinks of the regional culinary titans of Europe, France and Italy immediately come to mind. One certainly doesn’t think of Scandinavia, but if recent accolades and Michelin stars are any indication, Scandinavian cuisine is coming into its own and the country at the forefront of this revolution is Norway.

What, pickled herring and heavy cheeses, you say? Yes, those do exist and are a staple of the Norwegian diet but the landscape has changed, thanks to dynamic chefs and a populace that, while naturally farm-to-table in spirit, is utilizing more of its homegrown produce and herbs to fashion illustrious dishes. It’s not just about pickling and curing anymore.

Dairy and Villsau sheep are a big part of the Norwegian diet. In the past, the lamb would be seasoned with salt and pepper and accompanied by boiled potatoes. Today, the lamb is grilled perfectly and topped with local berries, flowers and herbs. Restaurants such as two Michelin–starred Maaemo in Oslo craft culinary masterpieces to rival any meal you’ve had in New York or London. Where else can you get a dish of burned onion with elderflower and fennel? Or brunost (brown cheese) with rhubarb and lilacs? Chef Esben Holmboe Bang is committed to sustainable dining and everything is sourced within 60 miles from Oslo. Nature in a modern yet überfriendly environment.

Norway boasts an abundance of farmers markets throughout the year, selling produce  and other local ingredients. Dotting Oslo, these markets don’t have the huge selection found in other major metropolises but what they do sell is super fresh and tasty, from organic apples, blueberries raspberries to ice cream and traditional cheeses. Food porn at its most titillating.