Norwegian food
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Norway holiday focus

Norwegian food & drink

In the Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun's Hunger, the narrator finds his creative juices flow best when wracked with the pain of starvation. The torment would no doubt have been more profound had he come from such an Epicurean hot spot as France, but this aside, what was he missing?

Norwegian food has a hearty simplicity to it, they're a nation raised on 'meat and two veg'. The 'meat' is commonly fish, but elk and reindeer also make appearances on the menu, lamentably the 'veg' is usually boiled to a pulp, which makes life difficult for vegetarians. Salmon comes smoked or grilled, while saltwater fish - notably cod and herring are also pickled, and often end up on the breakfast table(along with another homespun 'delicacy' geitost - a deep-brown, sweet goat's cheese with the consistency of Plasticine).

Norway also has a number of seasonal specialities: Christmas sees the population unearthing lutefisk - cod basted in lye, then buried until it takes on the consistency of jelly. Slightly more palatable is rømmegrøt - a porridge served with sour cream traditionally eaten at harvest time.

The price of alcohol in Norway is near prohibitive, add to this the fact that anything stronger than five percent volume can only be bought in government run shops, and it comes as no surprise that they're big on homebrewed spirits( hjemmebrent). A more official tipple is aquavit, a golden coloured spirit flavoured with caraway and aniseed, best served cold out of pine tumblers.

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