Ambassador Aas hosts an Arctic evening

Great food, icy melting cocktails, and a polar bear make for a memorable event

Polar Bear at Norwegian Arctic Evening

Photo courtesy of Christine Foster Meloni.
Portrait of the author with a polar bear at an Arctic evening at the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Christine Foster Meloni
Washington, D.C.

“Not your ordinary reception,” the invitation read. “Arctic Drinks/Arctic Seafood/Arctic Music.” The atmosphere at Arctic Cool this November was definitely electric.

A long line of enthusiastic guests chattered noisily as they waited in front of a bar sculpted of slowly melting ice to get their Arctic drinks. The secret recipe, created by the Royal Norwegian Embassy’s Public Relations Officer Storm Horncastle, included the following ingredients: aquavit, vodka, lime juice, and a scoop of sorbet.

Trym B. Ullerud, the executive chef of the embassy, oversaw the culinary part of the evening. A plentiful supply of Arctic seafood had been flown in from Oslo the day before, and several food stations had been set up throughout the ambassador’s residence.

The offerings were numerous: steelhead trout, egg yolk, and waffle; mackerel poke; herring maki; bacalao bianco; ackee and saltfish; snow crab and pepper; halibut, radish, and smoked cream; potato, haddock, and coldwater prawns; cod tempura and teriyaki.

A special live station was featured with a new style gravlax with Executive Chef Espen V. Larsen from the Culinary Academy of Norway.

The entertainment was also flown in from Norway. Kappekoff is a Norwegian electronic disco project by producer, composer, and bassist Magnus Falkenberg. He and Rasmus Thallaug made their very successful debut in Norway in 2014. They were very well received by the evening’s guests.

Two opportunities for photo ops were provided. Guests could have their photos taken with the adorable polar bear roaming among the guests. They could also go to a photo machine and pose wearing yellow fishermen’s hats and holding large (cardboard) fish with the sea and ships in the background.

The focal point of the evening was the impassioned speech by Ambassador Aas about the importance of the Arctic. He began by reminding the audience that Norway and the United States are both Arctic countries. (Yes. Think Alaska.) He went on to stress the vital importance of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Norway was one of the first signatories to this agreement. Only one country in the world currently intends to withdraw from this agreement (the ambassador was diplomatic and did not mention this country by name). All nations of the world must do whatever is possible to save our planet. Norway is working very hard in this area.

We Norwegian Americans can be very proud of the leading role of Norway in this critical area.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 15, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784.4617.

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Christine Foster Meloni

Christine Foster Meloni is professor emerita at The George Washington University. She has degrees in Italian literature, linguistics, and international education. She was born in Minneapolis and currently lives in Washington, D.C. She values her Norwegian heritage.