Hello there, and apologies for the lack of posts recently! This summer has been busy with lots of lovely distractions – weddings in abundance, hen weekends, and trips away – which has all been huge fun, although left little time for cooking and blogging.
I’m back at home for a bit now, and reflecting on a wonderful trip to Norway that James (my partner) and I took earlier this month. We flew into Oslo, hired a car, and our route took us to Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Myrkdalen, Norangsfjorden, Lillehammer, and finally back to Oslo after eleven days soaking up the stunning scenery – and, true to form, enjoying some delicious Norwegian food.
In my post about a trip to Copenhagen, I mentioned that we stayed in a really lovely hotel, part of the Guldsmeden chain. For our one night in Norway’s capital, we decided to stay at the Oslo Guldsmeden as we had so enjoyed our previous experience. As before, we received a warm welcome and had a great stay in our super-comfy and luxe room. I’d heartily recommend the Oslo Guldsmeden if you’re staying in the city.
Before our trip, I’d made a reservation at a restaurant called hos Thea. I’d read great reviews online and thought it would be a nice treat to kick off our holiday! hos Thea more than lived up to the hype, and we had an amazing meal there. The service was outstanding and they kept bringing us little unexpected morsels from the kitchen – so lovely! Every dish was beautifully presented – although, unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take any photos (apart from of the gorgeous sign outside!).
Another food highlight was on our first night at the Hotel Union Øye – a very quirky and historic hotel nestled among the mountains in Norangsfjorden. When we checked in after a long day of driving, we found out that the hotel serves a set three-course meal each evening, with two sittings. We booked ourselves in, of course, and promptly set off on a walk around the local area to work up an appetite!
The meal was absolutely exquisite – full of interesting flavours, and all stunningly presented. First of all, we were brought a plate of fresh bread and crispbreads with homemade butter. This was followed by an amuse-bouche of little breaded pulled pork balls with tartare sauce (interesting combination, but good!). Our starter was jerusalem artichoke soup with bacon and croutons, followed by a yogurt sorbet palate cleanser. The main was monkfish with potatoes, cabbage, turnip and pea purée – which sounds like a slightly utilitarian line-up of vegetables, but in reality was fresh, varied and utterly delicious. Finally, a pudding of rich chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel sauce and peanut brittle.
The teeny village of Øye is quite remote, but if you do find yourself passing through, make sure you don’t miss this unique hotel and its thoughtfully curated three-course supper. I’d have loved to have eaten everything all over again on our second night at the hotel, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite justify the price! Instead, we took a picnic of crispbreads, Jarlsberg and ham (with raspberries for pudding) down to the fjord and watched the sun set. Bliss.
Norangsfjorden (photo by James Connor)
Other memorable foodie encounters in Norway included brunost – a sweet, fudgy brown cheese which made an appearance at most hotels’ breakfast buffets. I threw myself into the Scandinavian breakfast game, enjoying brunost on biscuits resembling digestives (but slightly crisper) with a little jam; as well as lots of crispbread, smoked salmon and pickles.
We also made two visits to a cafe called Tre Brør in the town of Voss – a splendid spot for a warming mug of hot chocolate and a cinnamon bun (much needed during the two days of our trip when it rained relentlessly!) or a tasty sandwich and some soup.
Hot chocolate and kanelboller in Voss
If you’re in Stavanger, I’d recommend a visit to a cafe called Bøker & Børst, situated on a vibrant street called Øvre Holmegate near the centre of town. We enjoyed a quick cuppa in its cosy surroundings on our last morning in Stavanger (which, incidentally, was one of our favourite towns along the route). If we hadn’t only just had breakfast, I would have definitely tried some of their cake, which looked extremely tempting!
We had a wonderful time in Norway; the natural landscape is just unlike anywhere else I’ve been – water and rock on an epic scale – and importantly, we enjoyed some really fantastic food.
The view from Pulpit Rock