Local food and Norwegian food traditions are the focus during the Norwegian Rakfisk festival in Valdres. Do you know what rakfisk is, though?
Norwegian food is trending at the moment, but it is often the fashionable and innovative urban restaurants people are talking about.
To experience and sample some of Norway’s oldest and greatest food traditions, we highly recommend a visit to one of the popular food festivals around the country. Norsk Rakfiskfestival at Fagernes is one great example.
The festival attracts more than ten thousand visitors every year. And this year’s edition kicks off today.
Ever since its start in 1993, the festival has grown in size year by year. It started as merely a place to sample rakfisk. Today, a whole range of local food is available.
Svein Helle is one of the vendors at the festival. Yesterday, he was preparing his little shop while talking to the local newspaper in Valdres.
“In addition to our sausages and patties, I also have moose meat from Røn. It was shot and prepared there. My brother, Normann Helle, has produced the veal roast from Jaslangen. There will be opportunities for samples”, Helle informed the newspaper.
The valley is not only renowned for its rakfisk, but also for its excellent meat – especially its cured meats and the reindeer, but also cheese, sour cream and ice cream.
Still, the focal point of the festival is the rakfisk.
The name stems from the method of conservation, a combination of autolysis and fermentation called “raking”. It’s been in use since the 14th century. The most common types of fish are trout and char, but whitefish and perch are also used.
The fish is fermented, keeping it edible for an extended period of time. This also adds special aromas. Like many fermented cheeses, the fish will develop an odour, but the taste is usually mild and not too sharp.
The traditional way to serve the rakfisk is with flabread, butter, onion and potatoes.
In 2006, rakfisk from Valdres was granted status as a protected geographical product. This means that only fish that has been hatched, raised and fermented in Valdres can be sold under the product name “Rakfisk from Valdres”.
PS: Tourists going to the rakfisk festival will also get to experience proper Norwegian popular music. During the festival bands like D.D.E., Vassendgutane, Dance with a stranger and Return will perform.
According to National Geographic, the Besseggen ridge is one of the top 20 hikes in the world. Not surprisingly, it’s located in Valdres - the home of some the most spectacular mountains in Norway.
Food festivals are a great way to experience a multitude of food types in one day. Open your mind – and your mouth – and let your stomach guide you through the country.