In Norway, it's always waffle-time. In fact, we love waffles so much that we even serve them in the shape of a heart. Try it as a sweet treat or a cutting-edge Michelin dish.
From soft, rich, and topped with the magical combination of sour cream and jam to a more savoury experience with a tasty ham or a distinctive chevre, Norwegian waffles are just impossible to resist. And don’t even get us started on the addictive smell. Luckily, waffles are widely available in cafés, restaurants and on trains, mandatory at sports events, and a staple in private homes all over the country. Connoisseurs – and there are five million of us – discuss if they should be heart-shaped or square. Either way, Norwegian waffles are thinner and softer than the American or Belgian versions and the best thing is that they can be enjoyed throughout the day, as any time is waffle-time in Norway. They are even served at the Nordic cuisine phenomenon Maaemo, a restaurant that scooped three Michelin stars in 2019.
“Waffles are such an integral part of the Norwegian identity and culture that we had to highlight it”, says chef Esben Holmboe Bang about the lunch crescendo at Maaemo: golden, crispy waffle hearts made with fermented grain and beef fat.
“Waffles are such an integral part of the Norwegian identity and culture” – Esben Holmboe Bang
How do you like your waffle?
The young Swede Jonathan Larsson was so enchanted by the waffle tradition when he moved to Oslo a few years back that he started selling them from his bedroom window. He offered exciting toppings such as blue cheese, sausage, and coconut. His waffles became a hit, and this new hobby turned into a full-time job when he started his waffle café Haralds vaffel. His personal favourite is waffles with butter, sour cream, and the classic Norwegian sweet brown cheese that melts perfectly on top.
The variations in toppings are almost endless. If you do a waffle tour (because why not?) of Norway, you are likely to be served waffles with egg and caviar or cloudberries in Northern Norway, jam and brown cheese in Telemark, and ice cream in Southern Norway. Also, make sure not to miss the city of Moss’ signature dish: hotdog in waffle.
A symbol of kos and love
Waffles are the quintessence of “kos”, which is Norwegian for “having a good time”. For Norwegians abroad, they are a symbol of homesickness and a heartening treat, according to the Norwegian seamen’s church Sjømannskirken. For more than 150 years, the heart-shaped waffle has served as a unique trademark for the church, which sells no less than 30,000 mouthwatering waffles every year. Each church has its own special recipe, and you can find them all on Sjømannskirkens official website (Norwegian only).
Norwegian Joar Mortveit from Skjold on the other hand, fed hundreds of people with just one mighty waffle on a glorious day in 2011. The feat secured him the Guinness World Record for the largest waffle in the world.
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