Best Foods to Try on Your Scandinavia Trip

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Recently, Scandinavian cuisine has started gaining popularity quite rapidly and this can be easily explained by the unprecedented interest to the countries of the European North. Moreover, gourmets from all over the world are at times simply bored from the habitual restaurants of Italian or French cuisine and desire to taste something new. Despite their simplicity, Nordic foods are really diverse and won’t leave anyone indifferent. But how do you choose among the plethora of Scandinavian dishes and what are the must-tries you can’t miss during your Scandinavia trip?


Scandinavian basics


Scandinavian cuisine includes traditional recipes of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark which all have a lot in common. The main principles that Scandinavians are fiercely proud of and obsessed about is eco-friendliness and a healthy lifestyle, that’s why the cuisine recognizes only fresh natural products. Thus it’s fair to say that the cuisine wouldn’t be Scandinavian, if environmental concerns weren’t the top priority. As a rule, the dishes are cooked from locally produced ingredients which reduce the carbon emissions of the region and meet the requirements of organic food with no pesticides and other chemical fertilizers.


The basis of Scandinavian cuisine consists of fish and various seafood as well as meats. What is more, the chefs actively use all possible gifts of nature: wild herbs, berries, vegetables, beans and mushrooms.


Lutefisk and other sea creatures


A notable place in the diet of the peoples of Scandinavia is occupied by fish and seafood. Fish is a basic product in a number of salads, first and second dishes, and even pies, so if you are a fish fan, Scandinavia will fully satisfy your gastronomic demands.


Swedes boast their local ‘surströmming’ which is a type of fermented Baltic Sea herring. Your trip to Norway or Denmark won’t be complete without savouring some smoked salmon, a popular Scandinavian delicacy. You also just can’t miss another Norwegian specialty, ‘fiskepudding’, made from fresh white fish and served with mushroom sauce, delicate and spongy fish pudding will be a perfect addition to any dinner.


When in Finland, try some of the tasty fish pies, ‘kalakukko’, especially common in the east of the country. Cooked of local small fish and baked inside a dark rye bread, this dish is made by the best traditions of the national Finnish cuisine.


For those who want to try something more zesty and extraordinary, Scandinavians invented ‘lutefisk’. It is a dried stockfish (normally cod or ling), brined in lye, then soaked and steamed until it flakes. Traditionally, ‘lutefisk’ is served with boiled potatoes or mashed green peas.


Meat delicacies


Considering the climatic conditions, Scandinavian food has to be substantial and nutritious. In regards to meat, Nordic countries have a wide range of options for meat lovers. Creative Swedes came up with the idea to mix meat with something non-conventional and the exotic mixture of flavours eventually turned into their hallmark national cuisine. Famous Swedish meatballs are served with gravy, boiled potatoes and… cranberry jam, which is, by the way, extremely delicious. While in Finland, you can also try juicy and tender cutlets ‘Kottbullar’, prepared from mutton, beef and veal.


Apart from the usual beef and pork, which are widely used in local recipes, Scandinavians have more in store to surprise you. If you’re adventurous enough, you are welcome to taste such rare meats as deer, elk, bear and horse.


The king of Scandinavian kitchen


Nowadays, sandwiches have become widespread and won the national love among Scandinavians. For instance, in Denmark, a sandwich is called “the king of the kitchen” due to its popularity and simplicity of cooking. There are up to 700 kinds of sandwiches, starting from a simple slice of bread smeared with butter and ending with multi-storey sophisticated sandwiches with the number of ingredients exceeding 10!


A Scandinavian sandwich, or ‘smørrebrød’, is a result of a creative approach and years of experiments. So once you start trying them, it’s important not to lose count. One of the most famous Danish sandwiches, ‘Hans Christian Andersen’s favorite open-faced sandwich’ is a perfect mix of several layers of bacon, tomatoes, liver pate and a white radish, separated by slices of bread. Other sandwich ingredients can include seafood, meats, lettuce, asparagus, eggs, different sauces and so on. Thus, all you need is to select some to your taste and arrange a substantial degustation in one of the cozy restaurants.


‘Fika’ time


Working Scandinavians, Swedes in particular, have a lovely ritual to have 10-15 minute breaks accompanied with pastries, cookies or pies during their workday. This tradition is called ‘fika’ and it’s starting to spread worldwide. But what are the best ‘fika’ choices?


The region’s variety of pastries is something you can definitely fall in love with. In Denmark and Norway, you won’t be able to resist the temptation to try ‘kransekake’. This Scandinavian cake takes the form of a steep-sloped cone with white icing and is hard to the touch, but soft and chewy.


Any Swedish ‘fika’ just can’t do without ‘lussekatt’, a traditional sweet bun flavoured with saffron and cinnamon. Another dessert, called ‘mazarin’, is a pastry with almond. In addition, Sweet teeth can also enjoy ‘semla’ or a plain bread bun, Danish ‘kringle’, and the small cylindrical pastry covered with green marzipan ‘punsch-roll’.


To sum up, Scandinavia is a true gastronomic paradise for those who want their food to be both healthy and delicious. That’s why while planning your journey to this magnificent region, put some restaurants in your travel list in order to not only enjoy the views, but the tastes as well.

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