A window into food culture

In photos: Takk for Maten author Whitney Love takes us on Food Safari in the tasty and picturesque town of Røros

Photo: Whitney Love

Photo: Whitney Love

Whitney Love
Stavanger, Norway

Røros, Norway, has long been on the foodie map for chefs and food enthusiasts throughout Europe and the world. The local food culture has become so sought after that the local tourist office now organizes intimate group tours (simply called “food safaris”) around the local area to check out the culinary highlights and food history in the Røros region. Most tours are 4 to 5 hours in duration and all tours offer food sampling and foodstuffs for purchase along the way. All food safaris begin at the tourist office and may be booked in advance.

Photo: Whitney Love Locally brewed beer from Røros Brewery.

Photo: Whitney Love
Locally brewed beer from Røros Brewery.

During my recent food safari, I enjoyed the “Aursunden Rundt” tour which explored the area around the Aursunden lake. Our tour made stops at four locations, all with a unique story to tell about the food culture around Røros.

Stensaas Reinsdyrslakteri
First stop on the tour was at Stensaas, a butcher that focuses on reindeer and other game meats such as deer and elk. Stensaas is also well known for its rakfisk, which is traditionally eaten in the spring during Easter as well as during other times of the year. Three generations of the Stensaas family have run this operation, growing it to be one of the largest reindeer processing operations in Norway.

Photo: Whitney Love Basic cooking utensils from throughout Ærverdige Skottgården’s history as a farm.

Photo: Whitney Love
Basic cooking utensils from throughout Ærverdige Skottgården’s history as a farm.

Ærverdige Skottgården
Open since 1780, Ærverdige Skottgården was formerly a working farm and the local area’s post office. We enjoyed lunch in the summer house, and here is where I tasted snarøl for the first time. This homemade carbonated beverage is made from vørterøl, a malted drink, which is high in b-vitamins and iron. It’s likely that vørterøl is a mainstay from the days when Norway and Demark were one country, as the largest producer of this stuff is in Denmark.

Photo: Whitney Love Living room in Ærverdige Skottgården, which has been open since 1780.

Photo: Whitney Love
Living room in Ærverdige Skottgården, which has been open since 1780.

Photo: Whitney Love Lunch is served! Gravlax, smoked hyse (similar to cod), lammerulle, cured reindeer heart, rakfisk, and deer tongue. All this served with Røros butter and sour cream, homemade cranberry jam and Røros flatbread.

Photo: Whitney Love
Lunch is served! Gravlax, smoked hyse (similar to cod), lammerulle, cured reindeer heart, rakfisk, and deer tongue. All this served with Røros butter and sour cream, homemade cranberry jam and Røros flatbread.

Lunch was comprised of gravlax, smoked hyse (similar to cod), lammerulle, cured reindeer heart, rakfisk, and deer tongue. All this was served with Røros butter and sour cream, homemade cranberry jam, and Røros flatbread.

Photo: Whitney Love An adult male deer on the Torsvoll farm. Several hundred deer roam free here and feed on grass as well as treats provided by the Torsvoll family.

Photo: Whitney Love
An adult male deer on the Torsvoll farm. Several hundred deer roam free here and feed on grass as well as treats provided by the Torsvoll family.

Torsvoll Hjorteoppdrett
This family-run deer farm lies 30 minutes from the town of Røros and has been in operation for more than 15 years. Several hundred deer roam free here and feed on grass as well as treats provided by the Torsvoll family. Focus at this stop on our journey was placed on the importance of good food and the hunting tradition in the area.

Photo: Whitney Love Tove of Kalsa Gårdsbakeri assured us this traditional Norwegian stove is still in use.

Photo: Whitney Love
Tove of Kalsa Gårdsbakeri assured us this traditional Norwegian stove is still in use.

Kalsa Gårdsbakeri
Outside of our lunch stop, our coffee run at Kalsa Gårdsbakeri proved to be my favorite stop on the food safari. Run by a lovely woman named Tove, this farm bakery served 100% handmade pjalt (a cross between American-style biscuits and Norwegian lapper) and lemse (similar to but not quite lefse; made with organic Røros tjukkmjølk, an agriculturally protected dairy product). Alongside both we were served gom (caramelized milk whey) and some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in Norway, while we sat in the old sommerstugga (summer house).

Photo: Whitney Love Locally made gom, which is caramelized whey. A cousin to brown cheese, this local specialty was served alongside lemse (not exactly lefse) and coffee in wildlife-decorated china.

Photo: Whitney Love
Locally made gom, which is caramelized whey. A cousin to brown cheese, this local specialty was served alongside lemse (not exactly lefse) and coffee in wildlife-decorated china.

Whitney Love is a cookbook author and blogger. She hails from Tucson, Arizona and is currently living in Stavanger, Norway. She runs the English language blog Thanks For The Food where she documents her love affair with Norway through the lens of traditional and modern Norwegian gastronomy. Find her online at thanksforthefood.com.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 5, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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