Having spent crucial developmental years aged 9-12 in Norway, the land of months of darkness and then in the summer, the midnight sun up north. Visiting my childhood town of Bergen, a city notorious for rain, was a much needed homecoming.
Our first day was spent in pepperkake byen. Bergen boasts the largest town made out of gingerbread, there is debate about whether they are deserving of the title, as certain props in the town aren’t edible. Even so, it’s still huge. The smell when you walk into the room is fantastic. Each of the structures has its own, unique touch. There is everything from gingerbread football stadiums to churches.
On the day of gifts, the meal we eat is called pinnekjøtt, directly translated to ‘stick meat’. Dried, salted lamb ribs, steamed for hours on a low heat over freshly chopped birch tree branches. The salty, tender meat, is a beautiful annual tradition. Accompanied by mashed suede and boiled potatoes. Heavenly. Then for dessert. Is a porridge comparable in flavour and texture to rice pudding. However, The porridge is cooled And whipped with whipping cream, to create a cool fluffy bowl of happiness we call Riskrem, or in English ‘Rice cream’. Pouring an undiluted berry cordial over the dish to add more sweetness and voilà, you now have a masterpiece.
This all begins at 6pm, which means that the poor, excited children don’t get to open their presents until further into the evening.
The day after we spent the day in Hundvin in a home far into the countryside at the farm of Solveig and her delightful family. We ate freshly fished cod with boiled potatoes and carrots. There was a fried bacon and onion sauce to pour on the potatoes. And a pinnekjøtt meat sauce to pour over the cod. After a few days of over eating, the fresh, organic meal provided by Solveig and Rolf was much needed.