Norwegian Cuisine with a New Twist

Easy access to travel and multimedia has created a greater awareness of other cultures and the commodities available to consumers. This has provided a challenge to which Norwegian businesses must rise if they are to supply the new commodities that are in demand, Innovation Norway writes.

14/04/2004 :: There is evidence in all industries that modernised design, style and habits are motivating new products. Visiting Norway today reflects these changes. A more continental café and gourmet lifestyle have motivated greater focus on designed presentation and a fancy for organic features.
The Norwegian Fjord Trout is creating culinary waves as the key ingredient in a new and highly popular pizza from Pizza Hut.

With the wealth of Norwegian natural produce available, it is no surprise that Norwegian cuisine has extended its repertoire to include delicacies found throughout this diverse nation. Gourmet chefs have gained international reputations based on dishes created using Norwegian produced raw materials that adhere to international standards of quality. There is also a greater awareness among Norwegian consumers for innovative recipes grounded in traditional values and preparation. There is a greater interest today in more internationally inspired fare that is nonetheless prepared in accordance with traditional values. People are claiming the right to fresh ingredients produced in wholesome environments with a minimum of chemical intervention.

Norwegian companies recognize the importance of catering to this market hereby also challenging it to further growth. There are many ways of doing this. One of the more inspired and innovative ways is to fuel people with information thus aiding them to make informed decisions about consumer habits and to readdress stereotypical views of Norwegian brands and culture. There are certain natural resources for which Norwegian companies are well renowned. The challenge lies in creating new avenues for the usage of these raw materials and promoting them in a manner that caters to the tastes of people today.

A mundane example in this context is pizza - the current staple diet of many people the world over. The search for new recipes that will tempt and appeal to new markets is a constant pressure. Companies must be willing to experiment and take risks. Pizza Hut has recently launched a new type of pizza with Norwegian Fjord Trout as the main ingredient. Half the pizzas they now sell are topped with smoked Norwegian Fjord Trout. Three weeks after the launching, every other pizza sold is the Norwegian Fjord Trout variety. The test period will last for two months, but this new pizza is already characterised by Pizza Hut as a huge success. Never before have they achieved such good results after launching a new product. Pizza Hut now wants to use Norwegian Fjord Trout in more of their products, and is already developing new varieties. According to Pizza Hut, Norwegian Fjord Trout is preferred because of its colour and texture. This is the same conclusion of earlier studies carried out in Asian markets.

Norway is a country of small farms and modern dairy production. Although a mere  3 % of the land is cultivated, conditions in Norway are well suited for dairy products. Tine Meieri BA is Norway’s largest producer of dairy products and cheeses such as the low fat Jarlsberg are very popular among the more health conscious consumers who do not wish to compromise taste for the healthier option. Another example of a Norwegian company willing to meet new trends proactively is King Oscar who has long been established on the Norwegian sardine market. On November 29th 1902, the Stavanger based canning company "Chr. Bjelland & Co." received royal permission to use King Oscar II’s name and picture on their products. Ever since, Norwegian sardines have been exported "By Special Royal Permission". From the start, resources were being used to give the brand its unique design and King Oscar became the symbol for first class Norwegian brisling sardines. King Oscar was registered in the USA as early as 1903, and in Australia in 1913. Since 1998, King Oscar has taken over the sardine-market in Norway, holding 83 % market share in 2002. The last few years have seen certain modifications, whilst the traditional products such as brisling sardines in olive oil and tomato have been maintained, loved as they are by consumers. King Oscar sardines have also added new products, such as sardines with salsa, to meet new consumers, trends and changes in taste.

These examples clearly illustrate that Norway is very much on the map of innovation and design. Norwegian industry is constantly re-inventing itself to meet the requirements voiced by its markets at any given time.

Scandinavian cooking goes hybrid
The idea is to fusion traditional Norwegian fare with more sophisticated international cuisine. Although this is by no means pioneered by Andreas Viestad, he has done much to promote Norwegian produce and gourmet standards abroad as well as in his native Norway. As a journalist for Dagbladet - the foremost cultural newspaper in Norway - Viestad has inspired many a household to more adventurous cooking. He has a weekly column in which he expounds the virtues of good cooking with quality ingredients that are available to all. With several cookery books already to his name, Viestad has now made a television series that has been shown in the USA. His mix of continental cooking with Scandinavian ingredients and recipes has breathed new fire into traditional cooking. And fire in more ways than one, as the food is prepared outdoors in various locations throughout Norway. Viestad has travelled the length and breadth of Norway and recreated traditional recipes with a new twist. Acting as both chef and guide, Viestad provides an insight into Norwegian culture, literature and history. There are recipes that date back to the Vikings! Both USA APT and the British BBC have bought the series. The Norwegian sponsors of the television programmes and book are very representative of the spirit of Viestad’s project.

Cheeseburger with Game and Foie Gras
This is a luxurious and decadent burger, if there ever was one. Serves 2.

1/2 lb ground or finely chopped game, venison, grouse, moose and partridge
1/2 lb ground pork
salt and pepper
2 juniper berries, crushed
1 tsp finely chopped sage
2-3 oz foie gras, cut into 2 thick slices
1 tbs duck fat or butter, optional
3-4 Jarlsberg, cut into 2 thick slices
2 slices good country bread

Mix ground game and pork. Season with salt, pepper, juniper and sage.
If the foie gras is uncooked, sauté it in a very hot non stick skillet for 1-2 minutes. Reserve the fat in the pan.

Divide the meat into four equal size pieces. Mold each of them into thin burger shapes. Place the foie gras slices on top of two of the meat pieces, and the remaining two on top so that the foie gras is surrounded by the meat.
Heat the remaining fat from the foie gras, or duck fat or butter. Fry the burgers for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Place the cheese sliced on top of the burgers and continue cooking for 2 minutes, until the cheese has started to melt.

Serve the cheeseburgers on top of good country bread.

Vel bekomme!

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The Norwegian Fjord Trout is creating culinary waves as the key ingredient in a new and highly popular pizza from Pizza Hut.

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