The pure taste of the mountains, plains, and seas are abundant in Trøndelag. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, the urban gourmet restaurants use those same local ingredients in surprising, pioneering dishes.
Text: Morten Andre Samdal
Deeply concentrated, she arranges a starter made of cuttlefish at the kitchen inside the traditional Trøndelag Teater, one of Northern Europe’s oldest theatres.
The cuttlefish is of the squid family and grows about one meter long, but doesn’t live for long. The local fishmonger in Trondheim catches some of them every now and then. Chef Evensen is always quick on the spot when that happens.
“It is a challenging creature because it is a little chewy. It is important to prepare it properly. We slice the head into strips and fry them. The arms we put in a tub that holds a stable temperature of 65 degrees for one day, and from the ink we make pasta.”
“There is great optimism in the industry right now. We help each other out, and the city is benefiting from that. Many people are doing a lot of different things”, Evensen explains.
The Nordic cuisine is getting international recognition.
Evensen used to work at the Michelin restaurants Maaemo and Ylajali in Oslo. Now she spends a lot of time on her restaurant’s own farm right outside of Trondheim.
“When you spend a whole summer on your knees and pull weeds out of the soil, you get more respect for the food. The vegetables get a completely different taste when they come straight from the soil, when they’re not laying around in a grocery store for weeks.”
“The vegetables get a completely different taste when they come straight from the soil.”
The major city of Trondheim sports many great attractions, amongst them the Nidarosdomen Cathedral. But Trøndelag in the middle of Norway also has seven national parks, one of the country’s largest mountain ranges Dovrefjell, and a whole area dedicated to local food.
It is not just in the city that local food has experienced a real upswing. On and around the Inderøya peninsula in the Trondheimsfjord, there are long traditions for self-made products. Along “The Golden Road” you can find breweries, butchers, fishmongers, cheese factories, and idyllic restaurants only a few minutes apart. In the summertime, you can rent a bike and travel between more than 20 idyllic places that supply high-quality local food.
One stop you can make is Gangstad Farm, a gorgeous farm with proud traditions going back more than 100 years. Visitors are greeted by a rich and vibrant environment, authentically preserved through all these years. Here you can experience farm workers that produce everything from cheese to ice cream with their own hands.
“We let people walk right into our daily lives. All the houses around the farm are open. It was my grandfather who built this in the early 1900s. Many of the tools and objects we find around on the farm can be dated back to that time”, says the farm owner Astrid Aasen.
Their ice cream has even gained international recognition. It is available at an exclusive selection of grocery stores in Central Norway and at Hurtigruten, the coastal express service that transports thousands of passengers along the country’s long and beautiful coastline.
“It tastes like the forest!”
Røros, the old mining town in the southern part of Trøndelag, is an important part of Norwegian cultural heritage. The former copper mining town is one of Europe’s oldest preserved wooden towns and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Today, though, it is known just as much for its enchanting cuisine: This is one of Norway’s leading regions for a variety of high quality, locally
More than 30 local producers have joined forces under the name Rørosmat (“Røros Food”), everything from beer from Atna, exclusive cheese from Galåvolden gård, fresh baked goods from Kalsa Gårdsbakeri, or delicious dairy.
Destination Røros has educated 25 local food guides and is offering local food safaris – three different routes that each contains three stops at local eateries and food producers. The safaris have been a huge success and will continue to grow and improve this season.
Torsvoll Farm near Røros is one of three producers in Trøndelag that specializes in deer meat. In the summertime, about 150 animals are running around here. In this deserted and magnificent landscape, you can feed the tame deer right from your own hands.
“It is a great experience for the ‘city people’ to see these beautiful animals up close. Our guests also get a glimpse of our farm history and how we got the ‘wild’ idea of deer farming here on Rørosvidda. The cold climate is of course a challenge”, says Helge Torsvoll, who together with his wife Signe runs the farm – in addition to their full-time jobs.
So what is so special about deer meat? “It is considered a delicacy with numerous health benefits. It is low in fat and cholesterol and high in iron. Furthermore, the deer meat contains a lot of vitamin B”, Torsvoll says.
At the restaurant Vertshuset Røros you get served first class deer filet from Torsvoll. But how does it taste?
“The deer meat is a cross between moose and reindeer. It has a slightly sweet taste and it is wonderfully tender. If done right, nothing beats it.”
The deer farmer explains that the organization Rørosmat is important for small-scale producers and is the reason why the region is so popular. “It has become a famous trademark, and we notice that it’s starting to attract international interest. The key to our success is that we stand together and that we make each other better.”