Norway is a land of surreal mountain ranges, vast glacier-carved valleys and colorful villages perched in improbable places, as well as exceptional, simple local food. True, the landscape tends to take center stage here, but you can’t truly know Norway—or its people—until you become familiar with its cuisine, and authentic Norwegian fare isn’t something you’ll easily find outside the country’s borders.
New Nordic cuisine has rocketed Scandinavia to the top of foodie must-visit lists over the past few years, but for Norwegians, eating local isn’t just a food trend; it’s a way of life. Norway has long-honored environmentally friendly food practices, so despite new culinary innovations and feverish global attention, good food is nothing new here. Sheep and goats graze in outlying pastures along the coast and in the mountains. Norway’s cold, largely unpolluted climate is ideal for growing fruits, berries and vegetables without extensive pesticide use. Modest farms and small holdings produce milk, cheese and beef in healthy, virtually disease-free environments, and when it comes to animal welfare, the country’s subjected to strict laws and regulations. And, of course, the extensive coastline offers a long, rich history of seafood dishes. The majority of the country’s delectable ingredients are still fished, hunted or grown within the nation’s borders, and with wide-open moors, abundant forests and ample coastlines, Norway is teeming with raw materials, meaning you’ll have plenty of fresh local dishes to try!
No matter where you are in the country, you’re sure to find a wide variety of restaurant experiences to fit your palate and preferences. From Michelin-starred kitchens and casual family restaurants to outposts that specialize in seafood and menus infused with world flavors, Norway offers a little bit of everything. Expect Norwegian meals to be generous, laden with a variety of delights and often complemented by social kaffe (coffee) sessions in the afternoon.
Because of the diversity of landscapes found within the country – from metropolitan Oslo to the small towns found along the dramatic fjords to the fishing villages of the magnificent Lofoten Islands, you can expect to find a diversity of meal offerings as well, varying from region to region. Plan for seafood, simple yet delicious meals, and universally friendly service.