Brace yourself for a gastronomic treat: fresh seafood, wild berries and succulent game washed down by fiery aquavit is the order of the day.
There’s so much more to Scandinavian food than pickled herring and meatballs. Stretching from the midnight sun of northern Norway to the flat, fertile fields of Denmark, Scandinavian food culture is a lot more varied than you might think.
Magnificent landscapes, clean air and the Baltic and North Seas have created a natural larder from which Scandinavians have helped themselves for centuries. Every home chef makes full use of local fruit, vegetables, grains, fish, meat and game; and the capitals’ restaurants have won plaudits and Michelin stars galore for their back-to-basics approach to Nordic cuisine.
Denmark, Sweden and Norway have their own food cultures, but share gastronomic ground. Several dishes and ingredients link all the regions together, bringing a uniquely Scandinavian food experience to life. That was created by thousands of years of heritage and shared culture – and a bit of Viking pillaging.
Seafood is king, and herring is the fish most associated with the region. Marinated, spiced, smoked, fried, salted or baked, it is usually eaten cold and washed down with aquavit.
Elk, venison and reindeer are commonly found on menus, and nearly all Scandinavians do a different kind of hunting in autumn – for mushrooms, blueberries and golden cloudberries.
In general we can say that Scandinavian food is simple. We call it husmanskost – farmer’s fare. It’s natural and honest.
Feature image (on top): Reindeer filet
Scandinavian Food and Drink, written by Tor Kjolberg