Pacific Oysters now invade the Oslofjord.

Pasific oysters were first discovered outside coastal towns Kragerø, Lyngør and Tønsberg a couple of years ago,  and are now also found in the Oslo Fjord. The species has become more common in European seawater  over the past 10 to 20 years, but has now spread north with the ocean currents along the west coast of Sweden to the Oslofjord.

One possible source may be the production of oysters in the Danish Limfjord, claims Anders Jelmert, a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Reseach. Another contribution may be the increased water temperature in the sea. The larvae of the Pacific oyster is spread  by ocean currents and displace flat oyster, a species that is natural for Norwegian waters.

Although oysters are considered good food, scientists are not particularly happy to see it along the Norwegian coast.

Pacific oyster does not exist naturally in Norwegian waters, and the introduction of the species in Norwegian waters not desirable. Moreover, the Pacific oyster is called an ''Engeneering species'', as  it converts the environment to their advantage and can form large surfaces with razor sharp edges.

The pacific Oyster has a deeper shell shape and is more wavy on the shell surface than the "Norwegian" flat oyster. It can grow as large as 30 cm. Although oysters are considered a delicacy, there is no effective method for harvesting them in the wild. Therefore, there is no effective containment of the species, says Jelmert.

So, - wherever you encounter the Pacific Oyster along the coast this summer, pick it, open it raw, gratinate in the oven with garlic, butter and parsley, - and enjoy it with a glass of Campagne, - of course!

We want you to taste the Rakfisk

The Rakfisk, as Smalahovud and Lutefisk, dates back to the ancient Scandinavian culture and peoples need to store food over a considerable period of time.  The first record of rakfisk probably dates back to mid 1300's. The course is actually salted, stored trout, and is a popular dish around Christmas time.

App. 400 tons of "rakfisk" is produced in Norway every year, mainly from farmed rainbow trout. The more sophisticated trout is the wild mountain trout, normally a little smaller. In ancient times large amounts "rakfisk" were produced in the middle and north Norway. Today "rakfisk" has become a trademark of Valdres.

Rakfisk is mostly made from fresh trout, although char may also be used. During preparation it is of paramount importance that the fish must never be in contact with soil. Fish infected with bacteria clostridium botulinum may cause botulism.

Generally fish above 750 gr. are used commercially. The gills and guts are removed together with all remains of blood. The fish is rinsed and put in vinegar solution for 30 min. The fish is then put in a bucket with abdomen filled with salt, and small amounts of sugar to speed up the process between each layer of fish

The fish should be placed under soft pressure, lidded and stored in a cool stable temperature. After a couple of days, the process should be checked to see of brine is generated and covers the fish. More saltbrine may be added if necessary, and the fish is stored for 2 - 3 months before it is consumed. Higher temperatures will speed up the "raking" process, and diluting the salt content, will slow the process. The recipies may differ, and each manufacturer or family making their own "rakfisk" has their own secret.

Every year on a staurday in beginning of November a "Rakfisk" festival is held in Valdres. What started with idea to let the customers taste the fish before purchase, has grown from a small event in early 1990 to one of Norway biggest food festivals with more than 25.000 visitors. Today only producers in Valdres are allowed to compete in the festival, and during the festival in 2009, 3 tons of Rakfisk was consumed. There is no mention of the amount of liters if Aquavit consumed during the festival, - but the local Police has complained about lack of personell !

If you are interested in "Rakfisk", check out these links:

Norsk Rakfiskfestival - In Norwegian

Rakfisk on Facebook

Learn how to skin the fish - Youtube

The Norway Post








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You have to give this a try - Smalahove from Voss

We have already presented the Lutefisk. Another peculiar ancient dish from the Norwegian cuisine is the Smalahove or sau(d)ehau(d). We haven't been able to find any sensible translation of the word other than the description as a dish from grilled, smoked or boiled lamb head.

The dish has long traditions on the West Coast of Norway, and Voss, again derived from the need to utilize all available meet on the animal. Traditionally it was served with sour milk or with beer in on special occasions.  The lamb or sheep was usually slaughtered on the local farm, the remains of the wool was scorched. The scull was split in 2, and the brain was removed. The head was then soaked in water for a couple of days and then salted for preservation. The smoking process had to be carried out with smoke from special wood, and before serving it was boiled or steamed until the meat loosened from the cheek bone.

Smalahove is also served on Iceland and also belongs to ancient  Arab-Jewish traditions.

Today, Smalahove is regarded as a dish for special occasions. and is regarded as a delicacy. It is also served in restaurants. The fat around the ears, the eyes, the toungue are regarded as the best meat. The dish is served with potatoes, fat and mashed swede.

The smalahove belongs to Voss.  Here are some links to other resources and pictures on this special dish.

Smalahovetunet Voss - here are some pictures

This is how they make it (NRK - In Norwegian)

Videos on Youtube

Rikets røst - in Norwegian

Watch a video on youtube

Smalahove's may be hard to get. Your best bet if you want to try is Smalahovetunet in Voss


The Norway Post

Pictures from Mammas kokebok and The Freshloaf

Food: Bocus d'Or bronze for Norway

The Norwegian chef Gunnar Hvarnes has won the bronze medal in the gourmet contest Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France. The gold medal went to Denmark, and Sweden won silver.

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