Probably one of the best ways to get to know a city is to take a guided food tour. We booked the only one in town. . .Bergen Food Tour. Created and run by Cheyanne Smart, we experienced everything from a Michelin-star restaurant to street food. Highlights included:
Bergen Fish Soup at Lyskverset–created by Chef Chris Haatuft and it’s as authentic as it gets. We learned that fish soup with shellfish, salmon, or other chunks of fish is not historically correct. This one is apparently the most authentic. It’s topped with house made leek oil. The sourdough bread with its crisp crush and butter (made from just one particular cow’s milk) was heavenly. Chris is impeccable in his procurement of only the best local ingredients.
Brown cheese. . .who ever heard of brown cheese?! It’s the curd that remains from boiling down milk and is currently all the rage in Bergen. Cheyanne took us to the only French bakery in town to try their brown cheese cheesecake.
Bergenese are not much for sweets, and this patisserie is one which most locals don’t even know about. The array of cookies and sweets is a new concept for this town. BTW, the brown cheese cheesecake was interesting with a carmel flavor, and the blueberry-raspberry jam accompaniment added a nice juiciness. We learned that most years the jam would be made only from blueberries but this year there was so much rain they had to throw in some raspberries to make it all work.
Got FISH? Hey, it’s Norway and that’s who they are! The fish market underneath the Tourist Information Center is one of the best in town, and this family Fjellskal has been in the business for decades. Their fish is only of the highest quality, and we got to taste it all!!
We sampled everything here. . .
And here. . .including eel, mackerel, minke whale, herring
The season for wild caught salmon is coming to an end. Norwegians will buy it now and freeze some for Christmas or May 17, which is like our July 4th.
Take a look at the difference in size between farm raised and wild caught salmon–
The difference in taste was remarkable, with the wild caught (right) being rich and flavorful and the farm raised (left) more gelatinous and oily. The difference in price was remarkable, too!!
Next stop–a restaurant called Vare Vestland to sample Plukfiske. . .a combination of fish, potatoes, butter (main ingredients in Norway), and then to give it a bit of flavor, some local bacon and pickled leek (veges here are pickled to preserve them). Heavenly!!
At this point we were about filled, but we had to get a taste of local brews, so off to a local bar (which could only feature “cold brew” aka “iced coffee” outside) since beer can’t be advertised. But inside. . .
We were very full of food and drink, but there was one more stop to be made.
This all-night eatery features sausages of every kind but hey, we’re in Norway so we did what the sign told us to do. . .
Cheyanne assured us that truly, this IS the place where all the locals come, and even chefs like the Michelin-starred Chris from Lyskverket will show up here with his chef buddies when the night is over. The tradition is to eat the reindeer sausage with some lingonberry jam, fried onions, and mustard. OK, now I know what to do with that lingonberry jam I got at IKEA!!
The food tour concluded 3 hours after it started. If you’re in Bergen, Telma and Luisa heartily recommend it. You’ll get a good walking tour around the city, a lot of history and local lore, good food, good drink, and new friends.