Saturday, December 29, 2012

What To Know About Norway - Food, History, and Useful Info


It is hard to define Norwegian cuisine in the same way as the French, in a country that does not have a history of upper-class and bourgeois, to develop a culinary tradition. Besides hotels, traditions are kept in a few mountain cabins. Today, however, Norwegian cuisine can definitely boast with a great variety. Just like in other countries, tourism has created a process of internationalization of the kinds of food - you can find easily chains of international restaurants.

In response to this process, there appeared a tendency of returning to traditions. In rural areas, people have started to consult the book of grandparents and a few national dishes such as fermented fish (rakfisk), cottage cheese (gammelost) and salted lamb ribs (pinnekjott) began to be popular again. The new generation of chefs is orienting towards the specific Norwegian, applying the classical French cuisine. Usually, breakfast is huge and consists of a variety of fish, meat, cheese and bread, served as a cold buffet, with coffee and fried eggs. Alcohol tends to be limited and expensive, although beer and wine continue to be popular. The national drink is Aquavit, a flavored spirit.


The first inhabitants of Norway came 10,000 years ago, during the ice age. These communities of primitive hunters and gatherers followed the glaciers, which were moving to the North and the migratory herds of reindeer. The greatest impact on the history is the Viking age that seems to have started in 790. Over the next century, the Vikings have conducted several raids in Europe, and made settlements. The Viking leader Harald the Blonde unified Norway in the year 900, and King Olav adopted the religion of the conquered Islands, converting the population a century later to Christianity. The Vikings were skilled sailors, and were the first to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Eric the Red, the son of a Norwegian exiled in Iceland colonized Greenland in 982. In 1001, the son of Eric the Red, Leif Eriksson, was probably the first European to explore the coast of North America. The Viking age ended in 1066, when Harald I of Norway was killed in the battle of Stamford Bridge, England.

In the 13th century, Oslo became a powerhouse. It continued to flourish till the middle of the 14th century, when the population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Norway was absorbed by Denmark and then, after 400 years, in 1814, it was ceded to Sweden. In the same year, fed up with forced unions, Norway created its own Constitution, but was forced to accept the sovereignty of the King of Denmark. The nationalist movements eventually led to a peaceful separation from Sweden in 1905.

Norway remained neutral in both world wars, but was occupied by the Nazis in 1940. King Hakon created a Government in exile and left the Allied in command of most of his fleet. Resistance movement fought tenaciously against the Nazis, but as they were leaving, the Nazis decimated almost all villages and towns in their path. In 1960, Norway joined the European Free Trade Association, but hesitated about associations with other Nations. Since then, Norway is a country with one of the highest living standards in the world.


If you are invited to dinner, be sure to leave your boots in the hallway, especially in winter and early spring. Also it is a habit that guests do not drink or eat until invited by the host. Politeness in Norway is more than a matter of behavior than linguistics. For example “ Please” is rarely used in Norwegian language. Not talking loud and keeping your calm is an essential sign of virtue. Norwegians are usually direct people and address each other by first name, even in formal situations.

You might think life in Norway is very expensive. Remember though, that the average income of the residents is very high compared with other developed countries. On the national day, the country is full of flags. Also on the occasion of other holidays, such as Christmas, the national flag is heavily used. 

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