Five Foods to try in Scandinavia
This week marks a year since I embarked on my incredible Scandinavian adventure so today seemed a good time as any to share this post.
Ideally, I would have loved to focus on just one Scandinavian country’s cuisine, but as I only had 24 hours in Denmark before my cruise, and then my visits to the Norwegian ports we stopped at were far too brief, it just seemed more logical to focus on the region since many of the foods are “shared” across the borders.
You can’t go to Scandinavia and not like fish. No, no one is saying to try raw herring, but there are milder fish options you can try, often plainer tasting white ones. On our first day in Norway, after our cruise through the Lysefjord, we grabbed lunch at what seemed to be a quite popular spot with the locals in the city of Stavanger. Although the menu was in Norwegian (no English translations), we could ascertain some words and so I ended up with a fish cake sandwich. It was surprisingly good and definitely beat the fish cakes I made months later. Sometimes the simplest foods often turn out to be the tastiest ones.
While Scandinavian pancakes are more commonly associated with Sweden (I’ve always heard Swedish pancakes being thrown about), D and I ended up stopping at the Stavanger Maritime Museum as outside there was an enticing board advertising pancakes. We got one to split and it was delicious, light and fluffy and topped with lingonberries. It also came with sour cream which I thought was yogurt but I was sadly mistaken (I abhor sour cream and do not understand Eastern Europeans’ and Scandinavians’ fondness for it with sweet dishes).
Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)
I didn’t learn about Danish Dream Cake until after I had returned from Scandinavia. But when my parents were visiting last June, I wanted to have a belated birthday cake my mom and I could make and so still being mildly obsessed with Denmark (I loved that country), I happened upon Drømmekage, a moist sponge cake with a caramelized coconut topping. Some say its name is due to the fact that it tastes like a dream (I concur). This something I would love to have eaten at a café in Copenhagen along with a chai latte.
Until I started researching my trip to Norway and Denmark, I had no idea that hot dogs were such a thing (as an American, I’ll always equate them with picnic and ballpark fare). However, they’re quite huge, especially in Denmark and Iceland (based on some things I’ve read, Icelandic hot dogs are supposed to be the best). While I never planned on making hardcore foodie plans in Copenhagen since our time there was so brief, I had every intention of finding DØP, a place that serves organic hot dogs with a variety of toppings. Although Denmark’s Constitution Day (a national holiday that happened to be the same day we arrived), almost thwarted our plans for Danish dogs since the stand had moved to another location, thankfully we found it and got some. The line was worth the wait as they were delicious. I definitely look forward to trying Icelandic dogs whenever I make it there.
Swedish Meatballs (Köttbullar)
While I know Swedish meatballs have become somewhat of an international dish due to their ubiquity, they are something I definitely wanted to have while in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, where they’re known as Köttbullar. Every cuisine has its own version of comfort food and meatballs made from meat and herbs tightly rolled together is just that. Ideally, the cream sauce mix that Ikea sells in its grocery section would be what’s covering them. In Sweden meatballs are either served plain, as a snack; on a sandwich with beet salad; or with mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, and tart lingonberry preserves. Honestly, I would take all three. What about you?