As every savvy traveller knows, a destination’s heart rests finely on the palate. Gastronomic tourism allows a destination to not only showcase local flavours and producers, but enables DMOs to connect with visitors on a sensory, experiential level. When it comes to deeply rooted food traditions, Visit Norway certainly has a story to tell. From celebrating some of the country’s most notable food products — including top-notch seafood and produce sweetened under the midnight sun — to sounding out the development of modern Norwegian cuisine, here’s how Visit Norway has spotlighted the country’s unique gastronomy to attract and engage with visitors.
To land on the Food & Drink pages of Visit Norway is to enter a saga. Rich in visuals and content, this microsite tells of the evolution of Norwegian cuisine and — most notably — of a revolution that has seen traditional flavours merge with modern inspiration to help the country garner an internationally-respected culinary reputation. As Trine Avnung, country manager for Norway at Simpleview explains, the profile of Norwegian cuisine is down to the country’s unique environment, a place where every element of nature — from a long coastline, to icy seas and even a 24-hour sun — has helped bring about these equally unique tastes and flavours. For Trine, fish and seafood are the culinary highlight of any visit to Norway, but particularly if you’re headed to the north of the country, where freshly caught skrei or spawning cod — in fact, cod in any iteration — should be on the menu. Additionally, there’s tørrfisk or stockfish — skrei that has been cured and dried — plus salmon and king crab. If you’re in any doubt about this last delicacy, Trine vouches, “They're really, really delicious.” For those keeping to Norway’s south, there’s klippfisk — another kind of salted, dried cod — to sample along with mackerel, a dish best eaten grilled, served alongside potatoes and plenty of soured cream.
But fish and seafood aren’t the only thing worth trying in Norway. Despite its harsh climate, the country is renowned for its produce. This is especially true of the fruits and vegetables grown in the country’s Arctic region, where summer’s midnight sun works its magic on the land. Explaining the phenomenon, Trine says, “When you grow vegetables and fruit and berries up north, they tend to be more sweet because it's 24-hour daylight. So they grow slowly, 24 hours a day during the summer.” Cloudberries, she adds, are a must-try for any visitor to the north of the country. In this part of Norway, with open pastures also reaping the benefits of the midnight sun, game — and especially reindeer — is a delicacy to be savoured. But those keeping to the south of the Arctic Circle need not miss out: dotted with apple orchards, the Hardanger area is internationally renowned for the quality of its cider while the central city of Trondheim is absolutely bursting with over 200 local food producers. In fact, Trondheim was recently named European Region of Gastronomy 2022.
But Visit Norway hasn’t stopped at just highlighting the provenance of the country’s gastronomy. Rather, the DMO has taken things one step further and is continuously striving to tell the story of Norwegian cuisine as it is unfolding today. Be it celebrating foodie destinations like Hardanger and Trondheim, signposting guests to the nation’s best food festivals, or distilling insightful commentary from chefs for their modern and inspired takes on traditional Norwegian flavours, Visit Norway is out to actively delight visitors, to ensure that they taste the best the country has to offer. What’s more, while the DMO offers up top picks for restaurants, bars and eateries for those in-country, it keeps them engaged via its Norwegian Cookbook long after they’ve gone home.
The story of Norwegian gastronomy — from the land of the midnight sun in the north to the apple orchards of the south — is ever-unfolding. With the power of Simpleview, it’s a tale that can be told again and again to capture visitors the world over.
Images courtesy of www.visitnorway.com