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The sweet taste of Norway

Why we think our fruit and berries are the best in the world.

Apples from Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord
Apples from Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord

Just imagine: The scent of thousands of blossoming fruit trees …

Fruit blossoming in Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord
Fruit blossoming in Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord

… the juicy taste of a crisp apple …

Tasting apples in Hardanger .
Photo: Anders og Magga AS / Trigger Oslo / Visitnorway.com
Tasting apples in Hardanger .
Photo: Anders og Magga AS / Trigger Oslo / Visitnorway.com

… and the wonderful smell of a freshly picked raspberry.

Norwegian raspberry .
Photo: Kaitlin Bailey / Matador Network / www.fjordnorway.com
Norwegian raspberry .
Photo: Kaitlin Bailey / Matador Network / www.fjordnorway.com

Hundreds of orchards and farms make Norway one big bowl of delicious fruit and berries, including everything from apples, pears, and plums, to blackcurrant, strawberries, and cherries.

And the taste is in a league of its own.

Long, bright days, relatively low temperatures, and a mostly unpolluted climate make ideal conditions for fruit and berries to develop over time.

The fruit village Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Visit Telemark
The fruit village Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Visit Telemark

"Due to the longer ripening period, Norwegian fruit and berries tend to have more acid, taste and concentration", says the award-winning pastry chef Sverre Sætre.

Cherry picking in the fruit village Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Visit Telemark
Cherry picking in the fruit village Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Visit Telemark

Word-class treasures

And if there is one person in Norway with next-level knowledge about fruit and berries, Sætre is the one. The chef and patissier, who has won several medals with the Norwegian national chef team and runs a patisserie in Oslo, has written several books on the topic.

During his 20-year long career, Sætre has worked with some of the best patisseries, including the French Ladurée, which is the pastry world’s answer to Gucci.

His mission has always been to share the high-quality Norwegian ingredients with the rest of the culinary world.

“Some of our ingredients are simply world-class, and Norwegian fruit and berries, like apples and plums, are examples of that.”

Tasty experiences

Norwegians have kept orchards since Vikings grew apples, but it was when the monks came to Norway around the 13th century, that the tradition really took root.

Today, you will find orchards all over Norway.

Fruit cultivation in Norway

Fruit cultivation in Norway includes pomes, like apples and pears, and drupes, like plums and cherries. Fruit cultivation is an important industry in many parts of the country. The counties with the most fruit cultivation are Vestland, Telemark, Viken, and Rogaland. In 2018, the total area of fruit growing in Norway was approximately 21,400 acres.

For the fruit to develop, satisfactorily, warm, deep soil and sunny and sheltered growing grounds are crucial.

Source: Great Norwegian Encyclopedia

From award-winning cider producers in Hardanger …

Cider in Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord
Cider in Hardanger .
Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord

… to the fruit village Gvarv in Telemark, Norway’s capital of apple production …

Lindheim fruit and microbrewery in Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Mohri Films
Lindheim fruit and microbrewery in Gvarv in Telemark .
Photo: Mohri Films

… and the strawberry village Valldal, known for cultivating Norway’s (and many would even claim the world’s) best strawberries!

Strawberry cake in Valldal .
Photo: Christine Baglo
Strawberry cake in Valldal .
Photo: Christine Baglo

Farms and producers throughout the country invite visitors to learn about and take part in their fruit production.

Join a course or a guided tour, participate in cider or beer tasting, walk along picturesque fruit trails, or buy a jar of jam to take home.

Ciderhuset Balholm, Sognefjord .
Photo: David Zadig
Ciderhuset Balholm, Sognefjord .
Photo: David Zadig

Many orchards offer “selvplukk”, which means that you can pick your own fruit. Yum!

Some places, you’ll also come across small roadside stalls where you can buy freshly-harvested delicacies to go.

Raspberry picking at Homlas Hage .
Photo: Visit Innlandet
Raspberry picking at Homlas Hage .
Photo: Visit Innlandet

A proud food destination

“There is a lot of exciting things happening in the Norwegian food scene”, Sætre says.

“More and more people are concerned with where and how the ingredients are grown. We want our food to be ecological and locally sourced, and it’s become a trend to use more of what we already have.”

As more and more restaurants get stars in the Michelin guide, and with wins and awards in prestigious cooking competitions, Norway has positioned itself on the global food map.

“Masters from well-establish food destinations like Spain, Italy, and France now look towards the north and ask themselves: What’s the secret behind their wonderful apples? What is it with the fermentation techniques they use? They reach out for knowledge and inspiration and are now using and experimenting with our ingredients and methods”, Sætre says.

“It’s been this way with Norwegian fish for centuries, but now it’s starting to happen with fruit and berries as well.”

Small-scale producers are popping up all over the country, and the level of knowledge and professionalism is higher than ever. According to Sætre, this is one of the main success factors.

“Without skilled farmers who know exactly how to grow and when to pick the ingredients, chefs like myself don’t have a chance to succeed.”

Geographical indications of origin: Matmerk

Geographical indications of origin is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that place of origin.

The Food Safety Authority administers the marking scheme through “Matmerk”. It provides the opportunity to protect product names for this type of goods if they have a specific geographical origin, tradition or distinctive character.

“Hardanger cider”, “Hardanger apples”, “Telemark apples”, and “Telemark plums” are examples of geographically protected denominations. See the full overview of protected designations at matmerk.no (Norwegian only).

Source: patentstyret.no

Taste the seasons

Like the other Nordic countries, Norway is blessed with four distinct seasons – all offering different flavours and ingredients.

Blueberries in Bærumsmarka .
Photo: Marius Dalseg Sætre
Blueberries in Bærumsmarka .
Photo: Marius Dalseg Sætre

Summer and autumn is the harvesting season and the time of the year to revel in bright red, blue, and orange treats from nature’s own pantry. Between May and October, the forests are brimming with fresh, wild berries, and picking them is a popular activity for Norwegians.

Blueberries .
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen / Visitnorway.com
Blueberries .
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen / Visitnorway.com

Many locals also take pride in cooking what they harvest themselves.

Late spring and summer is the high season for specialities such as rhubarb soup, cherry pie, and strawberries with sugar and cream, while autumn is the prime time for apple cake, cloudberry cream, and game with lingonberry jam.

Apple pie .
Photo: Matprat.no / Aina C. Hole
Apple pie .
Photo: Matprat.no / Aina C. Hole

Drying, pickling, fermenting, and freezing are only a few common ways of conserving ingredients so that they can be enjoyed all year round.

Conserved pears in a jar .
Photo: Matprat.no
Conserved pears in a jar .
Photo: Matprat.no

Explore some of Norway’s leading fruit districts

Top places to experience Norwegian fruit and berries.

  1. 1. The Hardangerfjord region

    The Hardangerfjord region in Fjord Norway accounts for 40 per cent of all fruit production in Norway, including apples, sweet cherries, pears, and plums. The region is known as Norway’s epicentre of handcrafted ciders, and the branding “Hardanger cider” is a geographically protected denomination. Today, more than 50 fruit farmers are members of the cider guild of Hardanger. Cruise the Sørfjord with the Cider boat or taste your way through the scenic Fruit and Cider Route in Ulvik. The sight of Hardanger in May, when 600,000 fruit trees are in full blossom, can hardly be described in words.

  2. 2. The fruit village Gvarv in Telemark

    Thousands of trees make up the fruit village Garv in Telemark, known as Norway’s capital of apple production. They deliver an astonishing 3,000 tons of apples and 1,000 tons of plums and cherries each year. The village consists of several fruit farms that offer various experiences, including the brewery Lindheim Ølkompani, known for their delicious sour beer, and Lerkekåsa Vineyard, the world’s northernmost vineyard – where you can spend the night in a wine barrel.

    Several of the fruit farms in Gvarv are awarded for their sweet, fresh and sour apple juices, and “Telemark apples” is a geographically protected denomination. In September each year, the village hosts the Norwegian Apple Festival, which is a celebration of the harvesting season with local food, art, song, and dance.

  3. 3. The strawberry village Valldal

    Deeply red and incredibly sweet and tasty: Try Norwegian strawberries, and “strawberries” will never be the same again. The village Valldal in Fjord Norway has cultivated strawberries for more than a hundred years, and along the river Valdøla, strawberry farms lie like pearls on a string. Despite the northern latitude, Valldal has a mild climate that provides ideal conditions for producing this highly valued berry, as well as cherries, apples, and raspberries.

    At the restaurant Jordbærstua, which is a natural stop along the way between Geiranger and Åndalsnes, you can try several dishes in which strawberries are the main ingredients. Their famous strawberry cake has even made its way into Lonely Planet’s guidebook!

  4. 4. The Sognefjord area

    The traditional district of Sogn, situated in the middle of Fjord Norway, is one of the oldest fruit regions in Norway. The area is known for its handcrafted cider companies, including award-winning Balholm, as well as for its large number of fruit farms that produce everything strawberries and raspberries to plums and cherries. “Sogn Fruit Route” is a network of local providers that offer different types of fruit experiences. Spend the night in the middle of an orchard, visit a vineyard, go strawberry picking, or enjoy a glass of fresh fruit brandy with a fjord view. The fruit tradition in Sogn is primarily represented in the municipalities Balestrand, Vik, Leikanger, Sogndal, Luster, and Lærdal.

  5. 5. The Oslofjord region

    Thirty-four per cent of Norway’s total production of fruit and berries take place in the Oslofjord region. Here, you’ll find a large number of fruit farms, often placed in the middle of a picturesque cultural landscape, that cultivate everything from apples, pears, and plums, to cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. Several farms offer guided tours and have farm shops where you can find jams, juices, and other tasteful souvenirs to bring home.

Fruit cultivation in Norway

Fruit cultivation in Norway includes pomes, like apples and pears, and drupes, like plums and cherries. Fruit cultivation is an important industry in many parts of the country. The counties with the most fruit cultivation are Vestland, Telemark, Viken, and Rogaland. In 2018, the total area of fruit growing in Norway was approximately 21,400 acres.

For the fruit to develop, satisfactorily, warm, deep soil and sunny and sheltered growing grounds are crucial.

Source: Great Norwegian Encyclopedia

Geographical indications of origin: Matmerk

Geographical indications of origin is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that place of origin.

The Food Safety Authority administers the marking scheme through “Matmerk”. It provides the opportunity to protect product names for this type of goods if they have a specific geographical origin, tradition or distinctive character.

“Hardanger cider”, “Hardanger apples”, “Telemark apples”, and “Telemark plums” are examples of geographically protected denominations. See the full overview of protected designations at matmerk.no (Norwegian only).

Source: patentstyret.no

Seasonality chart: fruit and berries

Apples: August–October
Plums: August–September
Pears: September–October
Cherries: July–August
Blackberries: August–September
Blueberries: Mid-July–August
Raspberries: Mid-July–August
Strawberries: Late May/June–July
Cloudberries: August–September
Lingonberries: August–October

Tasty adventures with HANEN

HANEN is a Norwegian organization promoting local food, activities in nature, and a good night’s sleep in peaceful surroundings. Several of HANEN’s members offer a varied selection of fruit and berry experiences. Many of them also have farm shops where you can see, taste, and buy local food and drinks to bring home.

Find more information about HANEN.

Seasonality chart: fruit and berries

Apples: August–October
Plums: August–September
Pears: September–October
Cherries: July–August
Blackberries: August–September
Blueberries: Mid-July–August
Raspberries: Mid-July–August
Strawberries: Late May/June–July
Cloudberries: August–September
Lingonberries: August–October

Tasty adventures with HANEN

HANEN is a Norwegian organization promoting local food, activities in nature, and a good night’s sleep in peaceful surroundings. Several of HANEN’s members offer a varied selection of fruit and berry experiences. Many of them also have farm shops where you can see, taste, and buy local food and drinks to bring home.

Find more information about HANEN.

Get inspired

There are several more tastes to challenge your pallets.

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See our selection of trusted companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

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