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April 24th, 2022

Up Guide - Eating and Drinking Essentials

April 24th, 2022

Written by

Sondre Sommerfelt in collaboration with Up Norway

A cosmopolitan travel writer

This Up Guide is written by insider Sondre Sommerfelt; A cosmopolitan anthropologist, travel writer and cultural entrepreneur, for Up Norway.

Sondre is an Oslo-based travel writer, sailor, skier and cultural critic. He loves the outdoors and city life (who doesn’t) and knows everything that moves on Norway’s cultural and music scene. Enjoy his humorous - yet useful - guides to Norway.

When it comes to food, who can resist putrid fish, smoked sheep's head or Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer? Norway serves them all.

Thanks to the Scandinavian food revolution of the last few years, traditional dishes and their ingredients are back, looking cooler and tasting fresher than ever... served on rocks, jellyfish or Norwegian Wood. Isn’t it good?

Nordic food is seasonal. The smartest way not to starve, but keep vigorous while staying up north, is to seek local food in season when it is at its maximum- flavour peak and freshest on the market. A few general guidelines: the season for vegetables, fruits, berries, beans, and mushrooms starts with a bang in August; the same goes for the North Sea crabs, and lamb.

Mmmm! You can get fresh saltwater fish all year round, but the peak months are at wintertime, or as fishermen always say – every month that doesn’t start with an ‘M’ is mackerel month, oh wait, except May. Last but not least, try Norwegian strawberries in July; they’re so tasteful, as they’ve been ripening in the long Nordic summers.

Coffee

Surveys show that Norwegians drink the most coffee in the world (after the Finns). Our average Norwegian's favourite is boiled and infused filter coffee, but do not worry: there are espresso bars on every corner. Barista culture has flourished and many tend to be very proud of their product. It is the clean Norwegian water and the light roasting that brings all the tasty flavours out in Norwegian trademark coffee. But beware: because of extended social reforms regarding maternity leave, mothers get over a year to hang about, and their main activity is lazing elegantly in coffee shops. All-day. All week. Fathers, too, get three months, and few of them want to pass up the chance either.

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Bars

Even if we are in the middle of a Protestant heartland, with
formidable alcohol taxes yet widespread binge-drinking, there are numerous respectable bars in the main cities and towns. And although this being close to the North Pole, as part of the hipster trend the Norwegian bars and cocktail scene has flourished hand in hand with a barista culture, and bartenders tend to be very proud of their highly inventive products. When in Rome, ask for local aquavit cocktail specials.

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Local brews! Truth be told, brewers are the last anarchist punks in the world, and in Norway, most of these fat and hairy pale ale punks reside by the fjords

The regional brewing flagship lies a couple of hours to the south of Oslo, Nøgne Ø (or ‘naked island’, a term coined by Henrik Ibsen). Nøgne Ø offers the widest variety of ales. Haandbryggeriet in Drammen, just outside Oslo, is another real ale brewery (Drammen is also home for the lager beer with the most wonderful name, Aass). On the west coast in the narrow fjords there are plenty for fabulous braumeisters: Lervik Aktiebryggeri in Stavanger, Indreøy Gårdsbryggeri by Trondheim, Kinn Bryggeri on the island of Florø, and infamous Æigir at Flom in the tiny Aurland Fjord. The Vikings are famous for their mjød (mead), created by fermenting honey, but they actually drank much more beer. Skall! Or skull!

Another one of Norway's most gratifying cultural attractions is its thriving live music scene. Read more about it here.

Travel to Norway

Why should you travel to Norway?

What’s the difference between Norway and the rest of the Nordics, you may ask? Oh, come on! The scenery is amazing! Out of this world. Seriously! Mountains, glaciers, fjords, flora, and fauna – from mainland Europe to the Arctic, if you turn 180 degrees and travel the same distance southward you will reach North Africa. That’s a long stretch of Adventure Park. Moose! Reindeers! Whales! Eagles! Puffins! Even the muskoxen, a real stayer! What else do you need to know? Read more here.

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April 23rd, 2022

Up Guide - The Music Scene

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April 23rd, 2022

Up Guide - The Music Scene

One of Norway’s most gratifying cultural attractions is its thriving live music scene. The enthusiasm for new and ingenious artists is uniquely refreshing.

Sondre Sommerfelt in collaboration with Up Norway

A cosmopolitan travel writer