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Eat: the oldest tavern in Norway; traditional food close to Oslo

It was, akin to numerous occurrences in life, entirely fortuitous that I stumbled upon this locale. A form of pandemic weariness, the hustle and bustle, coupled with the exorbitant housing prices in Oslo, compelled us to flee the city. It was the midst of summer when we inspected an apartment without any intention of purchasing.

While savoring a pizza and a pint at Melboden, we mutually decided that we were both rendered speechless by the romantic setting, curiously unheard of until then. The river coursing through the valley, the resplendent woods, and the overarching idyll – you can likely see where this narrative is headed. This became the place I have been living for a few years now.

Lommedalen is a realm of wonder. As you venture deeper into the valley, there's a distinct absence of the awareness that you are a mere 10 kilometers distant from a bustling capital city. This is owed to the myriad operational farms, the undulating hills, and the dense woods enveloping you from all sides. The architectural diversity is as varied as one's imagination permits, each architectural era from the preceding century represented in all its 'magnificence'.

A wooden house in Norway Surrounded by trees

Furthermore, Bærums Verk is steeped in history, with its most recent chapter involving a group of Dutch venture capitalists who worked iron ore and exported timber. The industrial legacy of this era still stands in Bærums Verk. Along the river, a collection of exceedingly charming laborers' cottages grace the landscape. Additionally, remnants of the old factories remain, now housing a petite shopping precinct.

A venerable tavern, Værtshuset, also stands here, reputedly Norway's oldest (1640). Stepping into this deep-red edifice immediately engulfs you in traditional history typical for Norway. Furnished in a manner reminiscent of the 18th century, it could fittingly be termed romantic. The beams of the low ceiling dangle somewhat askew here and there, and a multitude of antiquated photographs adorn the walls. For someone with an affection for antiquities such as myself, this locale stimulates the imagination.

The staff is garbed in classical Norwegian costume, momentarily transporting you to a sort of themed park. It's somewhat quaint, yet curiously, it harmonizes exceedingly well with the overall ambiance of the place. It's a bit goofy, but charming nonetheless.

Moreover, the menu is exemplary. They serve splendid classical dishes, employing the best ingredients. However, the predominant attraction remains the setting. Picture yourself on a wintry evening. Half a meter of fresh snow blankets the terrain, and as you open the door to Værtshuset for the first time, the embrace of hospitality is an experience unlikely to fade swiftly. During summer, you can enjoy your lunch or dinner in the cozy courtyard. A tiny paradise I would say.

Beyond Værtshuset, there's a wealth of sights to explore in Bærums Verk. The erstwhile laborers' cottages and barns I mentioned earlier have since been transformed into unique and highly original shops, galleries, and workshops. The glassblowing workshop, particularly active on Saturdays, allows one to witness with rapt attention the crafting of the most artistic objects. My unequivocal favorites are:

  • Snekkerbua, a diminutive shop brimming with exquisite, frequently handcrafted utensils, woolen products, baskets and thingy's. Delightful!

  • Melboden, purveyors of the finest pizzas in the area, housed within an enchantingly cute little building.

  • Smelters Mathus, although completely unaffordable for the majority of mortals, I love gazing at their amazing food selection.

In wintertime, Bærums Verk plays host to a most charming Christmas market, an image conjuring the coziest of scenes, but I will write separate blog post about that.

**Getting there: Bærums Verk is easy accessible by car and public transport (Bus 150 from Oslo). Nonetheless, reserving a car in advance saves you a lot of time on public transport. Since Norway has one of the best fast-charging networks in the world, I would advise you to rent an electric car. Better for the environment, cheaper to charge and it gets you everywhere. Check here for availability.


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