A youngster dressed in an oversized apron is handling an equally oversized barbecue like he was a flame artist. A huge crowd is queueing in the smoke to get a taste of the result. People sit down to eat and socialise in the middle of the Norwegian nature. The whole scene looks like a rock concert, but smells much nicer.
Recently, food festivals have become an increasingly popular phenomenon in Norway, a country where the inhabitants have always enjoyed to eat and drink outside. Here, the term “local food” most often means ingredients that are hunted and harvested in the same landscape as you eat them in.
The majority of the festivals take place in the summer season, many in the late summer and early autumn. Many festivals offer cooking courses on site.
Norwegian festivals attract a young audience. Alternative events like a vegetarian festival in Oslo has welcomed more than 20,000 hungry enthusiasts. Live concerts are often part of the concepts.
“I think there are several reasons for the growing interest for food, and especially local food. More and more people are concerned with what they eat. We want quality products as well as knowledge about the roots and history of the food we buy. We travel more, discover new regions and their culture. And with that comes the interest for local specialities", says Aslaug Rustad, CEO of Oi! Trøndersk Mat og Drikke.
Rustad is based in Trøndelag, which is known as Norway’s leading food region. She works with local producers on a daily basis and has visited several food festivals during her career. Below you can read about her top five recommendations.
“My personal favourite with more than 150 stands. The festival takes place in the centre of Trondheim.”
“Here, at one of the leading food festivals in Scandinavia, you can taste food from all corners of the world.”
“At Matstreif, Norway’s largest food festival, you can try delicious specialities from all over the country.”
“Producers from Fjord Norway are present and sell their own products in a very charming setting.”
“I love semi-fermented trout, so to me this festival is simply a little piece of heaven on earth.”
Food festivals are considered as ancient as harvesting from nature.
Most of the large food festivals repeat their event annually in order to gain respect for the values they put forward.
A food festival can easily be confused with a party, although the celebration part is fully legitimate as long as the focus remains on the food. A well planned food festival should also promote relevant beverage. Some festivals are solely devoted to humid pleasures.
The popularity of food festival is boosted by the growing conscience around local food and fresh ingredients.
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