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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Visiting The Norwegian Fjords at Home

In the middle of two very busy work weeks and prepping for our first road trip - our first trip period - since the pandemic started, we found time to have a quick Destination Date. This time we visited Norway. I was able to find a great Norwegian food truck, and I pretty much worked from there.

You may remember last year at this time we threw what we hoped would be the first of many destination potlucks. We had people come with Scandinavian dishes and we learned about Scandinavia as a group of countries and tried a bunch of new foods. I do hope to get back to these when we can do it safely again.

I was especially interested in trying some specifically Norwegian foods, because they rely a lot on fish, lefse, and cabbage. The chilly weather just makes me think of Norway, too. We had this tablecloth I bought last year for our potluck, and then I found these gorgeous plates on sale at Crate & Barrel that I hope to use again in the future, because they are lovely. 

Here we are in the "snow" all bundled up. I can't wait to see these views in person, no matter the weather. The colorful buildings and the water and the mountains. It's all amazing. 

This little Dala horse is a traditional souvenir for tourists. Originally, from Sweden's province of Dalarna, this handicraft was brought to America for the 1939 World's Fair in New York City. This is a little version of the larger ones you can purchase. They also come as ornaments and wooden children's toys. You can even find them in different colors, though red or white are most popular. 

Candle carousels are another interesting item from Norway. They come in many different sizes and can be very simple or involved, but they all work the same. A candle (or several) is lit and the heat from it powers the tiny fan at the top, spinning dangling charms in most cases. I had always wanted one of these and planned to purchase one for this, but then I received a Harry Potter-themed on in my Litjoy Crate last quarter. That seemed pretty convenient, so you get little spinning Hedwigs.

I don't have any tulips, but I did have this spring daffodil pot, and I thought that would complete our tablescape, and it looked especially great in front of this lighthouse in Norway. Okay, okay. That's enough of that. Let's look at and talk about food! 

Norwegian food may be something you either love or hate. It might be an acquired taste for some, but I found that I liked it quite a bit. On the big plate you have salmon salad, Norwegian meatballs lefse (pork and beef balls, cramelized goat cheese gravy with sweet and sour cabbage, wrapped in lefse), pickled herring, and Scandinavian rye bread. Above: Pølse (Swedish pork and potato sausage, with Jarlsberg cheese, lingonberries, mustard, surkal sweet cabbage, and tangy slaw). Bowl: Veggie salad (roasted mushroom and hazelnut patties with blue cheese, parsley sauce, on mixed lettuces).

The smoked salmon salad came with a very dill-y sauce that I loved. The veggie salad came with a pesto dressing that also was really good...and much milder. It all worked very well together. I learned that Scandinavian rye bread is delicious, and also very expensive to make probably. Our one slice was $3. Had I known it only came with one, I would have splurged on two. It is usually served with cheeses or pickled herring. If you've never had pickled herring, I highly recommend it, unless you hate fish. It tastes like the ocean, and tangy from the pickling. I'll be eating it again, for sure. 

The Pølse sausage was a highlight for me. I don't normally eat sausage, but I will make an exception for regional foods. It had the look of being deep fried, though it was only because it was covered in melted cheese. This had a very pleasant mix of flavors that I greatly enjoyed. It didn't feel overly filling. In fact, all of our food felt really light, despite having a lot of breading and cheese. I think it's all very hearty, but not heavy, like similar German foods. 

While we ate, we watched some things on the Norwegian fjords and foods we should try in Norway (several of which we were eating). Lefse, what looks like a crepe or a tortilla, but is actually a thin, potato flatbread, is a big staple, and you can eat it with sweet or savory fillings, or just with butter. It's very versatile. It also doesn't contribute too much flavor to things, so it works as a great wrap for whatever. 

Speaking of sweet lefse, I chose a very regional dessert: lefse filled with lingonberries and cream cheese. the cream cheese cut through the tartness of the lingonberries and only made the whole thing a bit sweet, instead of overwhelmingly sweet.

If we travel back to Norway this way, we'll make sure to learn more about Oslo, perhaps make our own meal, and play some traditional games.I bought a set of ringed cake molds in order to make a traditional kransekake cake that is used as a celebration cake. It's served for New Year's Eve, Norwegian National Day, and weddings. 

If you want to throw your own Norway staycation, perhaps to celebrate Norwegian National Day, here are some things you can use to do it: 
I hope you find time to have a wonderful staycation during this time. We're seeing some hope for travel near the end of the year, so this is a perfect time to use your staycation to take notes and plan a trip to your chosen destination. I'm finding that these staycations are keeping me sane and helping me through this time when we don't really go anywhere besides the grocery store.

Where are you hoping to travel when it's safe to do so?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I may be compensated should you choose to make any purchases through them. This allows me to keep this blog running for you. Thanks in advance!

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