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Norwegian - Cooking and Food
Overview of Norwegian Cuisine History
The cuisine of Norway uses mostly the unprocessed ingredients that can be found over the country. The relief consists of mountains, sea and plateau. This environment does not permit the people to crop many types of vegetables or to grow diverse animals. The base of the Norwegian cuisine is represented by the game meat and fish, which are used in most of the traditional dishes.
One of the most famous Norwegian dishes is the smoked salmon. An evidence of its popularity is the amount in which this type of fish is exported. Salmon is cooked in many ways and can be served with various types of sauces, dill and eggs. Gravlaks is another Norwegian dish that is similar to the one mentioned above. The name of this dish is translated as “dug salmon” and the other nations had to adopt other names, in order to sell it better. Rakfish, another traditional dish of Norway, is based on Trout that underwent through fermentation. Another proof that this country has a cuisine that uses mainly seafood is the tørrfisk, which is the local name for dried codfish. This dish also knows many variations. For a long period of time this dish has been exported to Spain, Portugal and countries from the Northern part of Africa. Also, this dish had an important role in America’s history, as it was exported there, for feeding the slaves. Besides these, there are many other Norwegian dishes that include a great variety of fish, such as mackerel, smoked Herring, sardines and Cod, which is used in soups.
The meats that are used by the Norwegians are mostly game meats, rather than Beef. The Beef has been imported, since the Middle Ages, so tourists are encouraged to try dishes based on this ingredient in other European countries, where it may cost less and have a better taste. The reindeer, elk and Lamb are the ones that predominate. Whale meat is consumed sometimes and horsemeat is used in the preparation of some Norwegian sausages.
People also make use of fruits, such as berries (strawberries, for example), to create unique desserts. The Norwegians believe that the milk that is produced by the cattle in their country is the best on the globe. The cheese is made from either goat, cow milk or from a mixture of these two.
The Norwegian cuisine also features unique beverages, such as Akevitt, apple cider and various types of beer.
A part of Norway’s territory is surrounded by water. The inland area is mostly mountainous and therefore, each of these regions has developed a different cooking style, based on the climate and on the ingredients that could be found locally. Seafood is widely used all over the country, but the coastal region features a greater number of dishes that contain it. Meanwhile, the inland has a mountainous region and another area that is covered by forests. Each of these regions has its specific dishes.
Preparation Methods for Norwegian Cooking
The Norwegians make use of the same cooking methods that are used in Europe. However, because some of the dishes predominate, so do the preparation techniques. Among the most important methods to prepare the foods based on fish is smoking. This results in smoked salmon and smoked Herring. Of course, there are many other types of fish that can be prepared in this manner. Another technique involves drying the fish. The tørrfisk, which is very popular in Portugal, although the Norwegians claim that it is their national dish, is prepared this way. Salting and aging are also used widely, mainly on meat and fish. The cured salmon is very popular all over the world. On the other side, the cured meat is served with sour cream and eggs. Besides these, the Norwegians use frying, seasoning, stewing and baking, as their major preparation techniques.
Special Equipment for Norwegian Cooking
Most Norwegian dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. The equipment that is used in a typical Norwegian kitchen does not differ from the one that is used in most of the European countries. The utensils that are utilized for preparing, serving and storing food in Norway may be: forks, knives, tablespoons, teaspoons, scoops, graters, pans for frying, trays for cooking the cakes, pots, and various equipment for precise cooking. People may use kitchen thermometers in order to cook the dishes at a certain temperature and to avoid overcooking. Also, food scales can prove to be useful when preparing a Norwegian food, as some of the ingredients must be added in exact quantities.
Norwegian Food Traditions and Festivals
During the winter holidays, the Norwegians organize a lot of festivals. They take advantage of these occasions and advertise their culture. From folk music to food, all the elements of their culture is displayed somehow. The traditions are very important in Norway and some of the national dishes are related to religious holidays, for example. Pinnekjøtt is a Norwegian dish based on Lamb or sheep meat that is served at the Christmas dinner. Smalahove and lutefisk are two other dishes that are prepared in Norway on this occasion. Of course, such a traditional meal cannot lack the desserts. Some of the traditional cakes are lefse and lompe.
Also, there are many festivals organized in order to promote and to celebrate the traditional dishes. One of the most important events that have the main goal to help the Norwegian food becoming more popular is held in Stavanger. Aquaculture is a conference that takes place in Trondheim. At this event nearly 40 countries display the way in which they develop the aquaculture and the afferent technologies. This occasion is related to food indirectly but the fish is one of the main ingredients in the Norwegian cuisine, so the development of this industry also affects the way in which people cook.
Other important events that are related to Norwegian foods and beverages take place in Bergen. The Fana Folklore festival features Norwegian music, dances, national costumes, and not at last, Norwegian food. The chefs display their specific manners of cooking and the dishes.
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