One thing I love about traveling is getting to try new foods. So when some of our friends found a food and walking tour of Oslo, we were in. It was a private tour which was nice, and our guide was super knowledgeable and fun to talk to. We ended up running into her another day in Oslo and she was glad to see “the young Americans” (which is what she called us).
Stop 1: Salmon, Reindeer, and Lingonberries
Our first stop was in a restaurant right next to the Freya chocolate store (a place you should definitely visit if you go to Oslo). We got hot food there, including Salmon fillets with lemon sauce, Reindeer meatballs with lingonberry jam and gravy, and seasonal vegetables and potatoes. If I could put lingonberry jam on everything, I probably would. It was definitely warm comfort food, and it reminded me of a lot of winter dinners in Michigan growing up.
Most delicious thing: Reindeer meatballs.
They were very flavourful and paired well with the gravy and the acidic jam. Eating reindeer sounds kind of strange, or sad if it’s Christmastime, but we eat deer here in the States, so the taste wasn’t that odd to me.
Stop 2: Norwegian waffles with spreads
Our next stop was at a cute coffee shops where we got lattes and some cute Norwegian waffles. They look like hearts! We got to try two spreads on the waffles: Strawberry jam (sadly not Lingonberry) and Brunost – also called brown cheese. Brown cheese is a type of caramelized whey “cheese”, and is very popular in Norway. I describe the taste as cheese with a smoky or caramelized finish. It was nice with the waffles.
My favourite of the two: Jam. Sorry brown cheese.
Stop 3: Norwegian Charcuterie
I dont know if there’s actually a thing called Norwegian charcuterie, but that seems like the best thing to call it. It was a tasting of various meats and cheeses. First on our plate was a gouda cheese, thumbs up to that, nothing new there. After that we had some reindeer jerky, which we had also tried a few times at that point. After that there was a goat cheese and then we started to get into the meats more. There were three sausages on the plate. This is also where most of my familiarity with what was on the plate ended. Reindeer, Moose, and (don’t be mad) Whale. They were all cut with pork though. I liked all three of the sausages, but to be fair they also had spices and other meats that made them taste more familiar. And now, we leave that realm of familiarity behind. Next on the board was reindeer heart, which was dried. It tasted like very salty jerky and was tough. Makes sense, it’s the muscle of a large animal.
Are you ready for the next one? We finished off the meat tastings with whale meat. I have never seen or tasted any meat like it. It’s very dark, almost black in colour, and it’s squishy. It’s the meat the furthest to the right in the picture. As for the taste, like I said, it’s very squishy and salty. I don’t think I finished my whole portion because I had a hard time with the texture of it. That being said, I tried it. After the whale, we had another piece of brown cheese, although this must have been a different kind, and then an orange slice and an apple slice.
Most Delicious Thing: The sausages were pretty good. Even the whale one.
Stop 4: Beer tasting
Our last stop was at a bar where we got to taste some different Norwegian beers – I believe it was a Lager, an IPA, and then a red ale. I honestly enjoyed all of them, but I probably liked the IPA the most, because I tend to like hoppy beers. Unfortunately, my Untapped wasn’t picking any of them up. After we tried the beers we got to taste a Nordic spirit called Aquavit. The closest equivalent I can think of would be Schnapps, but the Aquavit was pretty smooth. That being said, I’m not a huge spirits drinker so it wasn’t my favourite, but I’m glad I got to try it.
Most delicious thing: The IPA. Some things are just staples.
It was awesome getting to see the city with someone who knows it, as well as get to try some really unique foods. One of my favourite things about traveling is getting to try new things like that, even if they’re outside my comfort zone. I think a great way to get to know a culture is through it’s food, and I definitely got the idea of comfort and community from the food I tried there. Plus, I think I’m pretty likely to win a “whos tried the strangest food” contest now.
*Side note: Sorry there are not more pictures