Simone's Kitchen

Stavanger, Norway – I think I’m in love

Preikestolen area | insimoneskitchen.com

I think I might have told you when I talked about our workshop in Helsinki but until recently I had never set a foot on Scandinavian soil. Not for any particular reason, but there was just always another reason to go somewhere else.. Sun, price, timing… you know the drill. Tom went on a fishing trip to Norway last year and came back with lots of enthusiastic stories, but for me it was a fishing trip and therefore not really interesting. (I don’t like fishing!) Helsinki was the first thing that made me realize that the Northern part of Europe might be more interesting than I had given it credit for.

Stavanger city | insimoneskitchen.com

Vi strolling through old Stavanger

So when I received an invitation to go on a media trip to Stavanger I didn’t have to think very hard… It all clicked in terms of timing for a change and everything seemed to work out perfectly. And when it also turned out that a few of my favorite foodbloggers where joining too, it had to be a great trip. And wow, it exceeded my expectations by a mile! What a great trip. And I think I fell in love with Norway in the process too. While it didn’t really spark my interest before I cannot wait to go back and rent a camper or a car and tour the country together with Tom. So much beautiful nature, great people and good food!

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself. We were in Stavanger also partially for the Gladmat festival which is a yearly recurring event that is now organised for the 16th time this year. It’s all about the beautiful products of the region and the chef’s that prepare the food. You will find loads of great stands with produce, cooking shows and much much more. The weather was with us for those three days. Although with 32 C it was on the warm side but sun, sea and good company… It doesn’t get much better than that!

Gladmat festival Stavanger | insimoneskitchen.com

The first day we arrived at Stola airport around ten o’ clock. Gunhild, our guide for the coming three days from Region Stavanger was waiting for us with a huge bus (we were with just seven people, so that bus was on the large side so to speak…) and whisked us to the hotel we would be staying at in the centre of Stavanger. The hotel,  Comfort Hotel, was fantastic and a real recommendation but I’ll share some more on that on Paper Travels in a separate post…

canning museum2 | insimoneskitchen.com

Our first stop was the canning museum in the older part of Stavanger (also called Gamle Stavanger) You have to know that I am not a big fan of musea in general but this one was an exception. First of all because it had something to do with food (always a winner) and secondly because the man that showed us around, Piers Crocker, had a fantastic sense of humor and managed to explain everything in a really interesting way. He’s an Englishman who’s been living in Norway for a long time and has been giving tours in the Canning museum for nearly as long… O and the museum is literally filled with gorgeous old tools and wooden surfaces which made me itch to bring them back home and use them as props… Good thing my suitcase wasn’t big enough!

The canning museum used to be the place where all the sprats (sardines and herring) were canned. Around 1915 350 million cans of fish where exported out of Norway to other countries… That is an impressive number! The canning museum basically shows you how the job of canning the fish was done in those days. From cleaning and beheading the fishes, to putting them in the tins and labelling them.

At the end of the tour we got to the best part, which was – ofcourse – tasting the sardines in the five different flavors of mustard, olive, jalapeno, tomato and natural… I love all of them but my favorite was the mustard. I took a can with me home so will see if I can make something fun with it soon.

 

Gladmat Sjokolade | insimoneskitchen.com

On the Gladmat festival terrain we paid a visit to Pralin Sjokolade Verksted...  The owners, Pascal Bulinckx (from Belgium) and his wife Mari Rødland Andersen, have very cleverly jump on the tradition in Norway to make everything yourself. Instead of trying to sell expensive chocolate from a store they started concentrating on giving chocolate workshops for companies, kids parties and the like and have been very successful doing so. Ofcourse Pascal also still makes some pralines himself and we got to taste a few interesting flavors. It really was a bit too hot for chocolate so most of the chocolates where kept in the fridge.

Demonstration of chef  Daniél Rougé Madsen| insimoneskitchen.com

And after that we had to watch this pretty tv show chef by the name of Daniél Rougé Madsen, which was really no punishment… Lol… There is a large number of very good looking chefs in Norway! But more on that later… :) Ofcourse the show was all about the Jarlsberg cheese

We were just slightly distracted…

Susanne and Maura having a good time | insimoneskitchen.com

b Girls enjoying the view of Daniél

Our lunch on day one was with Fisketorget, a fish market annex fish restaurant where we were treated to a few delicious bites as a starter. I loved the herring with Akvavit in particular, but the salmon filet and the Norway prawns where also absolute winners… I mean talk about a difference with the stuff they sell here. The prawns here are typically tiny and not too good, but the ones we got in the market where beautiful, big and delicious…

Fisketorget restaurant | insimoneskitchen.com

Maura also liked the prawns!

We enjoyed a relaxing lunch here and I had a beautiful Salmon filet and some potatoes… It doesn’t get any fresher than that.

Fresh salmon at Fisketorget | insimoneskitchen.com

O and if you want to have a good laugh and read about how I did not make it up the Preikestolen…. You can read that now already on Paper Travels…. Don’t laugh too hard ok?

Disclaimer: We were in Stavanger by invitation of Visit Norway and Cherry Picker. All opinions expressed are as always my own

Simone van den Berg

Food photographer and foodblogger from the Netherlands. Love to eat good food, sometimes eat really healthy for about a month (but working on making that longer...) Lives together with Tom and their three cats; Humphrey, Sookie and Buffy. Love to travel and also has a travel blog at http://papertravels.com

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This post is also available in: Dutch

   

12 Responses to “Stavanger, Norway – I think I’m in love”

  1. Rosa posted July 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    A great place! I dream of visiting Norway… This country is so beautiful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 28th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      It is absolutely drop dead gorgeous!

  2. Karin@yumandmore posted July 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Sounds like a fantastic trip and a great new place to discover! Glad you had such a great opportunity and so much fun.

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 28th, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      It was indeed a fantastic trip Karin!

  3. La Cuisine d'Helene posted July 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I have never been but would love to go now. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 30th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      It absolutely is! I wish I could go back straight away!

  4. Cathy | She Paused 4 Thought posted July 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Loved the photo of Maura and the prawn! What a fun trip. Looking forward to the recipes. I would love to go to the Gladmat Festival someday… putting it on my bucket list now.

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 30th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks Cathy. It was a fun trip indeed! And if you have a chance to go to the gladmat festival than it’s gonna be a great trip I’m sure!

  5. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef posted July 29, 2014 at 12:54 am

    John’s grandparents are from Norway and I asked him once if he’d like to visit and he said, “Relatives that don’t speak English?” His father visited every few years but he never brought the family with him. Cost, I assume. I’d love to go!

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 30th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Ooo seriously? But you know most people speak some degree of English.. ;) I never had much trouble there and trust me when I say I do not speak any word of Norwegian. Too hard!

  6. Jamie posted July 30, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Oh I have long wanted to go on one of those coastal cruises in Norway and visit this stunning country but I’ve not had the chance. You make me want to go even more! Beautiful photos and wow good food??? Yay!

    Reply

    • Simone van den Berg replied on July 30th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Lol.. Yes gorgeous food indeed and you should really do one of those cruises Jamie. They port in Stavanger (we saw some cruise ships in the harbour) so perfect I would say!

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