The first flutter of snowflakes fell this morning, transforming a somewhat dulled out mountain scape into a pristine picture of untouched white. Winter has officially arrived. Yesterday was a last minute dash to sort any unfinished farm and house business. Outdoor furniture packed away. Greenhouse cleaned out. Snow tires put on. Wood pile stocked. The freezer is filled to the brim with elk, trout, lamb, and berries. We’re set for the season. And I’m quite proud. Because we gathered and plucked and butchered.
Norway is absolutely picturesque in winter. Little dots of red, blue, yellow, and orange pop out from under a blanket of white. Everything is perfectly dusted. It looks like a postcard. I keep pinching myself. Winter always seems to make such a dramatic entrance here in the North. And with that, so does the kitchen table. Food to warm the soul, satisfy the deepest hunger and delight the senses. Like the glittering décor popping up everywhere, winter food puts on all the glam and has you begging for more.
Pull open the freezer. Grab the canned goods. Dive into the larder. It’s indulgence time.
The cold naturally brings a warmer fare to the table. For Norwegians, this means venison, lamb, fish, root vegetables, piping hot soups, porridges and an abundance of baked goods. As the days are colder and darker, much of the time spent in the kitchen is used creatively in preparing the seasonal produce available (which is far more limited than the other seasons) and to use up what has been stored from the summer and autumn. Below is a list of prominent produce used across the country during the winter season, although not limited to:
- Berries: cloudberry (multebær), lingonberry (tyttebær)
- Vegetables: turnip, rutabaga, carrot, potato, celery root, cabbage, onion, leek
- Herbs: chives, dill, parsley
- Spices: cardamom, pepper, ginger, cinnamon
- Fish: cod, salmon, trout
- Seafood: scallops, shrimp, oysters, crayfish,
- Meat & Game: elk, reindeer, lamb, beef, sheep, pig, hare, grouse
Winter’s challenge makes mealtimes even more special. If you desire to cook seasonally and locally, winter gives you one basket. And you’re lifeline is the freezer and larder. And it is those limits which can rear greater innovation in the kitchen. And at the end of the day, sometimes all you really need is a warm fire, good people and a shared meal.