The journey from the town of Ålesund to the village of Geiranger takes in what is perhaps the epicentre of the iconic fjords of western Norway.
The fjord landscapes are quite literally the stuff of legend: they have given life to great parts of the Norwegian traditional folklore, describing the dramatic waterfalls, the high-rising mountain walls and the icy-blue deep fjords. Ålesund has long been the gateway to these fjords.
A port built on fishing and commerce, it is the largest fishing harbour in Norway and home to the best of the country’s renowned seafood. But it is also built on the ashes of a great catastrophe.
Ålesund – the town that burned
You wouldn’t know it to look at the beautiful architecture today but the town wasn’t always so picturesque. In 1904 a fire spread throughout the streets, destroying 850 houses and leaving most of Ålesund in ruins. It proved to be one of the worst fires in Norway’s history.
As the restoration of the city started, aid arrived from all over the country – but it was German emperor Wilhelm II’s love for the area that helped the most. He’d fallen in love with western Norway years earlier and having visited the city many times, donated large amounts of money and resources to help rebuild the city. Every house was rebuilt with its own individual identity, which is why Ålesund today is considered one of the most important Art Nouveau-style cities in the world. Now the islands, canals and architecture of the city make it one of the most beautiful in Norway.
Geiranger – fjord filled with food
The Geiranger fjord is home to some of Norway’s finest food producers. While the area boasts only a small community, people here are clearly inspired by the beautiful surroundings in making artisan products.
Buy chocolate made in an old boathouse in Geiranger
Chocolate shop Geiranger Sjokolade makes handmade artisan chocolates focusing on local ingredients. Go to its café and taste the incredible creations, or call owner Bengt and ask to book a tour of its production cellar and tasting. Its hot chocolate is excellent, and the more adventurous can try the unique brown cheese chocolate truffles.
Sip the local brew
The Geiranger Brewery was started only two years ago, but is already becoming a favourite with drinkers in Norway’s thriving craft beer community. Get a taste of its beers in Brasserie Posten, Hotel Union or Stranda Hotell. Its Vikingstøa pale ale was judged to be among the 10 best beers in Norway in 2016 and is well worth a try.
Sample the cured meats
Tind Spekemat is one of the best cured meat producers in Norway, relying both on old Norwegian traditions and international inspiration. Its factory is located in Stranda, just outside of the village of Geiranger.
Food and drink news
Food and drink news
1/26 New York restaurant named best in the world
A New York restaurant where an average meal for two will cost $700 has been named the best in the world. Eleven Madison Park won the accolade for the first time after debuting on the list at number 50 in 2010. The restaurant was praised for a fun sense of fine-dining, “blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”
2/26 Why you crave bad food when you’re tired
Researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation upon high-calorific food consumption. Researchers found that those who were sleep-deprived had “specifically enhanced” brain activity to the food smells compared to when they had a good night’s sleep
3/26 Drinking wine engages more of your brain than solving maths problems
Drinking wine is the ideal workout for your brain, engaging more parts of our grey matter than any other human behaviour, according to a leading neuroscientist. Dr Gordon Shepherd, from the Yale School of Medicine, said sniffing and analysing a wine before drinking it requires “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”
4/26 British dessert eating surges after people ditch healthy eating in February
: In heartening news for anyone feeling guilty about quitting their New Year diet, it seems lots of us have given in to our sweet tooths once again. New data from nationwide food-delivery service Deliveroo reveals there was a surge in Brits ordering desserts in February compared to the first month of 2017
5/26 US congress debates definition of milk alternatives
A new bill has been created that seeks to ban dairy alternatives from using the term ‘milk’. Titled the DAIRY PRIDE Act, the name is a tenuous acronym for ‘defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day’. It argues that the dairy industry is struggling as a result of all the dairy-free alternatives on the market and the public are being duped too
6/26 Cadbury’s launches two new chocolate bars
UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.The company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company
7/26 You can now get a job as a professional chocolate eater
The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world.
8/26 MSG additive used in Chinese food is actually good for you, scientist claims
For years, we’ve been told MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) - often associated with cheap Chinese takeaways - is awful for our health and to be avoided at all costs. But one scientist argues it should be used as a “supersalt” and encourages adding it to food.
9/26 Lettuce prices are rising
Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too. According to the weekly report from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a pair of Little Gem lettuces had an average market price of £0.86 in the week that ended on Friday, up from an average of £0.56 in the previous week – that’s an almost 54 per cent increase.
10/26 Food School
Kids celebrate Food School graduation with James Martin – a campaign launched by Asda to educate young people on where food comes from. New research has revealed that children across the UK just aren’t stepping up to the plate when it comes to simple facts about the food they eat – with almost half of children under eight not knowing that eggs come from chickens
11/26 ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant
To encourage more people to cook and eat together, IKEA has launched The Dining Club in Shoreditch – a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant . Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family. Supported by their very own sous chef and maître de, the host and their guests will orchestrate an intimate dining experience where cooking together is celebrated and eating together is inspirational
Mikael Buck / IKEA
12/26 Ping Pong menu with a twist
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with London dim sum restaurant Ping Pong to create a limited edition menu with a distinctly British twist; including a Full English Bao and Beef Wellington Puff, to celebrate the launch of the airport’s new route to Hong Kong
13/26 Zizzi unveil the Ma’amgharita
Unique pizza art has been created by Zizzi in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. The pizza features the queen in an iconic pose illustrated with fresh and tasty Italian ingredients on a backdrop of the Union Jack
14/26 Blue potatoes make a comeback
Blue potatoes, once a staple part of British potato crops, are back on the menu thanks to a Cambridge scientist turned-organic farmer and Farmdrop, an online marketplace that lets people buy direct from local farms. Cambridge PhD graduate-turned farmer, Adrian Izzard has used traditional growing techniques at Wild Country Organics to produce the colourful spuds, packed with healthy cell-protecting anthocyanin, which had previously disappeared from UK plates when post-war farmers were pushed towards higher-yielding varieties
15/26 France plans to usurp Scotland as the home of the world's best whisky
France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink. According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres
Bloomberg via Getty Images
16/26 The price of an avocado is set to rise
Britain’s avocado lovers are facing a significant increase in the cost of their favourite salad food because the so-called superfood is becoming too popular. High demand from health-conscious consumers has led Peru to triple its avocado exports since 2010, with exports to the UK up 58% over the past year
17/26 Eating cereal may not be the healthiest way to start the day
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so many of us do as we are told and grab a bowl of cereal before we head out the door. But an expert has warned that while many cereals boxes claim their contents are the perfect start to the day, many are packed full of sugar and carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Even some seemingly-health muesli cereals have a lot of added sugar in the form of honey, malt, molasses, dried fruit or “even fruit juice”
18/26 Crisps made with real ingredients
Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan in action cooking a menu inspired by the provenance ingredients in the new Chef’s Signature range from Kettle Chips. Kettle Chips, the nation’s favourite premium crisp brand, has launched the new range of crisps with exciting new seasonings, made with the highest quality food ingredients rather than chemicals or artificial flavours
19/26 Japanese whisky crisis
Suntory’s chief blender Mr. Fukuyo San blends component whiskies to create Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a blend of young and old single malts. Japan’s warm climate and varied seasons makes it perfect environment to age and blend whiskies, creating subtle, refined and complex expressions.The recent trend for Japanese whisky has put the spirit on the verge of a global shortage
20/26 Non-alcoholic cocktails are seriously chic
We are living through a new era of creative, non-alcoholic drinks that go way beyond a coke or sweet mocktail. The world is becoming more health conscious. There's the war on sugar, and teetotalism is on the rise, with more than one in five not drinking at all (especially young adults), according to The National Statistics for Adult Drinking Habits. This abstinence is even more pronounced in London, with almost one in three turning away from alcohol. An increasing number of mixologists are applying their talents to the creation of non-alcoholic drinks that taste as good as their boozy alternatives
21/26 'Heat map' shows which areas of Britain enjoy the spiciest curries
After Bradford was named the Curry Capital of Britain for the fifth year running, a map has been released showing which regions of Britain enjoy a spicy curry and which prefer the milder variants. According to the map developed by Hari Ghotra, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire and Lancashire are the heat-handling kings of Britain, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all prefer milder curries. The data was collected by monitoring the location of social media posts that mentioned names of curries. These were then given a spice rating and were then collated to give each area a score out of 1000
22/26 Guinness to become vegan-friendly
Guinness is set to become vegan friendly for the first time in its 256-year history, as the company announced its plan to stop using fish bladders in its filters
23/26 Why the salmon on your plate might not actually be salmon
Salmon that ends up on the dinner table may not be salmon at all, a study has suggested. The problem of salmon mislabelling has become an increasing issue in the US in the winter months, according to American research published by Oceana. The findings show that 43 per cent of the salmon tested was mislabelled – the most common instance of this being when farmed Atlantic salmon was sold as wild salmon
24/26 How dangerous is a bacon sandwich
A recent WHO report warning that processed and red meats can cause cancer may have left you thinking a little harder about whether to pick up that bacon butty for breakfast or ditch a beef-filled Bolognese for dinner - but how worried should we be? The review of 800 studies for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) prompted global health experts to cast processed meats - including bacon, ham and sausages - into the ominous-sounding list of group 1 carcinogens, where they joined formaldehyde, gamma radiation and cigarettes. Eating just a 50g portion of processed meat – or two rashers of bacon - a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent, the experts concluded
25/26 New Zealanders are behind a lot of the interesting food and drink stuff happening in the UK
Dark beers are more suited to cold months, so the thinking goes, but in one part of the world they're always popular. "Lots of breweries in New Zealand have got stouts and porters among their best sellers," says Stu McKinlay, one half of the duo behind Wellington brewing company Yeastie Boys. McKinlay recently swapped Wellington for west Kent in order to launch Yeastie Boys in the UK, and he's joined forces with four other breweries (8 Wired, Renaissance, Three Boys, Tuatara) as part of the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective, to promote his country's finest over here
26/26 Additives in popular chicken nuggets
Ingredients, a new book co-created by photographer Dwight Eschliman and food writer Steve Ettlinger distils 25 products, including popcorn, Red Bull and chicken soup, focusing on 75 of the most common food additives and revealing what each one looks like, where it comes from and why it is used. McDonald’s chicken nuggets were found to contain 40 different ingredients. These included dextrose, a sugar also used by shoe makers to make leather more pliable, and corn starch, used for thickening food as well as also being a substitute for petrol
Buy different delicacies from the local shops along with some simple bread, and have a feast. Be sure to buy enough to bring back home – the reindeer and blackberry cured sausage is so good you’ll want to share it with everyone you can.
Forage for fruits and vegetables in the countryside
Going to Geiranger, you’re a long way from urban city life. There’s a wealth of fruit and vegetables to pick in the forest during summer and harvest time, and several of the mountain farms have been abandoned for decades, leaving behind a wealth of fruit trees and other edible plants. Nothing tastes better than Norwegian blueberries straight from the bush.
Still have time to spare?
Visit Jacu Coffee Roastery for a taste of Ålesund’s rich café culture and some of the best coffee in all of Norway. The finest beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and Honduras are roasted daily on-site, before being expertly brewed by a team of internationally acclaimed baristas.
Catch a show at Teaterfabrikken, an old fish factory-turned-theatre which serves great food with views out of the Norwegian coast. The dining room alone is popular with locals seeking a good meal, and the programme of events encompasses stand-up, live music and performances from local playwrights.
Fruit rye bread by Christoffer Hruskova
Chef Chris Hruskova has spent most of his life exposed to both classic and contemporary flavours of Scandinavian cuisine. Rye is a staple in these parts of the world, and the density and intense flavour of this fruit rye bread recipe makes a perfect afternoon snack. Use good organic flour where possible.
Fruit bread mix
360g of cracked rye, soaked
225g of rye flour
45g of rye flakes
225g of water
22g of flour
22g of water
25g of linseed
35g of sunflower seeds
14g of fine sea salt
600g of water
200g of flour
Fruit nut mix
160g of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
270g of prunes, roughly chopped
270g of raisins
80g of sesame seeds
80g of pumpkin seeds
It is important to give the starter the time it needs to activate by making it a day or two before making the bread. Combine the flour and water and mixing until just combined. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 48 hours, stirring 3-4 times during this process. This is a very light starter so do not expect sourness to develop at this stage.
When the starter is ready, combine with the rye bread ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix on a medium speed until thoroughly combined. Turn off and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Add the fruit nut mix and combine again with the dough hook until the fruit mix is just incorporated evenly throughout the dough. Preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9, set to steam.
Weigh out into 750g portions and add each to a large loaf tin. This will yield a large amount of rye bread, but once baked it will freeze well for up to 2 months. Place the loaves in the oven for 10 minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4 for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out.
Norwegian Troll Cream (Trollkrem) by Karen Burns-Booth
Karen’s love of travel, in particular cruising, has inspired this unusual Norwegian dessert recipe. In love with the thought of fjords and forests, Karen has recreated a classic Scandinavian recipe using lingonberries.
Scandinavian recipes are so fresh, clean and sharp, using seasonal fish, fruit and vegetables to their best advantage with some pretty decadent and tasty bakes too, using aromatic spices from saffron to cardamom in their cakes, breads and bakes and lussekatter (little saffron buns studded with raisins).
Berries are also used everywhere in Nordic cooking – in savoury dishes as well as sweet recipes; there are golden cloudberries, little wild strawberries, tart cranberries, glossy blue bilberries and ruby red lingonberries.
3 egg whites
6 tbsp of lingonberry jam, or a 225g jar of preserved lingonberries in syrup
50g caster sugar, (optional and only used if using unsweetened lingonberries)
Whisk the egg whites in a mixer with half of the lingonberries (that have been drained) or half of the preserve. Whisk until the egg whites are light and fluffy. Add the sugar if using and whisk until the egg white mixture holds soft peaks.
Swirl the remaining lingonberries or preserve through the dessert and serve in small bowls or spoon into a large serving bowl. (It needs to be eaten within 24 hours, as the egg whites start to collapse if no sugar is used.)Reuse content