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Destination: traditional Norwegian delicacies on the side of the road; gårdsbutikker

It is a frequent inquiry from visitors seeking recommendations for traditional Norwegian delicacies or gastronomic delights. While the customary response unfailingly includes mentions of pinnekjøt, rakfisk, and lutefisk, my enthusiasm for such culinary offerings is tempered by the sensation akin to suggesting a schnitzel to a tourist in Germany.

This sentiment is not meant to slight schnitzels (or pinnekjøt), but rather to convey a concern that I might inadvertently overlook the rich tapestry of culinary treasures that Norway boasts. This sentiment is primarily rooted in the sheer abundance of exceptional offerings; it's simply too much to mention. Ranging from cheeses that rival their French counterparts to impeccable apple cider, extraordinary beers, and a diverse array of delicate and flavorsome meat and fish products.

A delicacy shop in Norway

In light of this abundance, I am motivated to assist you in navigating this gastronomic landscape to savor the breadth of these delectable offerings. Hanen serves as a collective entity, an umbrella organization encompassing the majority of these producers, akin to a distinguished quality certification. Their invaluable contribution takes the form of a brilliantly crafted map (thank you Hanen) replete with recommendations and designated stops where one can procure and savor locally produced delicacies. Therefore, my foremost recommendation is to diligently consult this map as you drive the scenic routes of this captivating country. True appreciation of a nation is encapsulated in the act of tasting its essence. Should you chance upon a roadside sign adorned with the image of a rooster, rest assured it is invariably worth the pause.

Consider, for instance, when journeying from Oslo towards the enchanting destination of Valdres (a journey I make at least 6 times a year). The Valdres region, for instance, has carved a niche for itself in the crafting of the finest Rakfisk. Notably, Noråker gård stands among the very finest. They have, on a previous occasion, been honoured with the title of best rakfisk during the infamous Rakfisk festivalen taking place in Fagernes. Yet, it is not solely rakfisk that crowns their expertise. They have a remarkable assemblage of deliciousness in their shop. I, for one, bought a bottle of pine needle syrup there last year. Yes, you read that correctly. Its flavour is reminiscent of apple, with a deep and mellifluous undertone. A scoop of vanilla ice cream accompanied by a drizzle of this syrup is utterly delish.

This tale only grazes the surface of the hundreds of gårdsbutikker that are dotting Norway. Alas, it is an insurmountable task to spotlight them all. Seek out, start your electric rental car, and embark upon this culinary odyssey. Should you happen upon a magnificent discovery, hit me up on Instagram. Such an exchange would be nothing short of 'really cool'!


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