Eat like a local
Here is everything you need to know about the history of local dishes and ingredients from Trøndelag. When did they come into existence and why? Was it homely fare or festive food? What is special about these dishes – and where can you taste/buy them?
Local food on your plate
The ingredients that form the basis of all the dishes from Trøndelag are often harvested straight from nature, including elk that live in the large forests, berries that ripen on the heathlands every year and fish, mussels and crabs that are harvested from the living sea along our coast.
Foto: Ellen Homstad
Here are eight local dishes and products from Trøndelag which, in addition to tasting good, play a part in conveying our story.
Foto: Inderøy Slakteri
Sodd & Skjenning
To everyone other than people from Inderøy, Sodd may seem like a regular meat soup. That’s certainly not the case here where Sodd is reserved for special occasions such as christenings, weddings, confirmations and funerals. It’s been like this for generations.
Sodd is based on beef and mutton. The meat stock is made by boiling the bone and shank before diced beef and mutton and luxury meatballs are added. The soup is seasoned with a “secret” spice mixture and served with boiled potatoes and carrots. The recipe from Inderøy Slakteri has been used for more than 80 years.
For an outsider, it can be worth knowing that there is a Sodd culture here! As is the case with all other cultural issues, there is a lively cultural debate how Inderøysodd should be served. Should the potatoes be placed in the bowl before the Sodd is poured over, or should they be put carefully in afterwards? And what shape should the pieces of carrots be?
Skjenning is a traditional festive crisp bread from the Innherred area and is served on the side.
When travelling around Trøndelag, you can sometimes see smoke rising from small timber outbuildings on hillsides or farmyards. Lamb, pork, veal or beef or perhaps game such as elk, reindeer and venison are often hanging from the ceiling in these smokehouses becoming full flavoured in the heat and smoke. This method – generally referred to as “sauna smoking” – has been used for centuries in Trøndelag as a way of preserving meat. The flavour and consistency depends on how long it was smoked for, the type of wood used and if local herbs were used in the process.
At Bortistu Gjestegard in the Storlidalen valley, the process of smoking the legs of lamb is pure craftsmanship that has been laboriously developed to achieve a balanced, mild and unique smoky flavour, aroma and tenderness. The smokehouse was originally used to dry malt to brew malt beer on the farm and is more than 100 years old.
Elsewhere in Trøndelag is the farm Brattlia Gård, where the farmers have developed the product “økologisk badsturøkt kjøtt på Namdalsk vis” (organic sauna-smoked meat the Namdal way). This process has now been awarded the prestigious “Spesialitet” (Specialty) label. You can find it at the Farmers’ Market and at food festivals in Trøndelag. Just as good as serving it on a white cloth with porcelain is having a piece of sauna-smoked meat in your backpack when you go hiking or skiing. You can enjoy it as a snack to provide energy when you reach your destination.
The King of the Forest
You cannot avoid the elk (also widely known as the moose) in Trøndelag. This proud animal wanders around in our forests. It has a menu of more than 1,000 different plant species, so the meat is naturally seasoned! Humans have hunted elk since the Stone Age and elk meat remains on the menu of the residents of Trøndelag to this day. Elk meat is quite exclusive and is generally served during the hunting season, which is in the autumn. At this time of the year, you can sometimes buy elk meat at supermarkets.
Curing meat is common worldwide. The Italians call their cured ham prosciutto. The process is the same. The meat is salted and dried to preserve it and then hung in a dry and airy place until it has a good consistency. Elk meat is low in fat, tender and delicious, which makes it ideal for curing. Dried and cured meat is served with crisp bread and lingonberry sour cream. Bon appetite!
Sour and exclusive
There are many varieties of meat in the Røros area. We will take a closer look at the sour sausage, which is a unique variety of sausage created in Røros from meat that would now have been thrown out. This was originally “meat scrap”, offal and head meat of cattle and sheep that was mixed with fat and barley to make the meat go further. The name sour sausage was derived because in the old days the sausages hung in the kitchen at room temperature for a week to sour. This fatty sausage is pan fried and served with the almond potatoes and swedes. Today, the sour sausage is served at the finest restaurants and is a good example of older, homely fare that has become modern and in fact slightly exclusive. At the traditional café Kaffistuggu in Røros, you can still order and eat sour sausages in more “down-to-earth” surroundings.
Cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberries
The people of Trøndelag live in a jam jar, or at least it may seem that way! Every autumn, the forest is filled with red, blue and yellow berries. Raspberries redden in late July and early August – a diamond of a berry that is sweet and red. Wild raspberries are the queen. You can eat them straight from the bush or with a little cream. Blueberries follow in hot pursuit. The heathlands are full of small round blue berries that make you blue on your tongue and lips. Eat them on your walk or pick and enjoy them with pancakes baked on a campfire. The sour lingonberry is a good accompaniment to meat dishes and is often stirred with sour cream to accompany cured meats. However, the jewel is in the crown is cloudberries, the small yellow clouds that grow on the marshes in late July and early August. A cold summer quickly puts an end to the flowers. The most eager pickers start searching for cloudberries early in the season. Are they flowers, is it warm enough, are they ripe enough? But it’s worth noting that there are two things that the people of Trøndelag never share with others: Secret spots for picking cloudberries and wild mushrooms. Sometimes you need luck to find both.
Berries grow everywhere in the forest – and you can pick them freely.
Skjørost & tjukkmelk
While we are in the Røros, “skjørost” (dry curd) and “tjukkmelk” (cultured milk) are two important dairy products that are essential to taste. Røros is an old mining town founded in 1664 that is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The cold winters and mild summers in Røros owing to its location high in the mountains has led to a unique food culture. The urban farmer was also common in Røros, with a cow in the backyard.
Tjukkmelk is formed by adding a bacterial culture to the milk, so it sours and thickens. This meant that the milk lasted longer. In the old days, a special plant was used to achieve this – butterwort. The plant could be picked in specific locations, and it was not uncommon to borrow some from your neighbour if you ran out. Today, tjukkmelk is made by the organic dairy factory Røros Meieriet and is sold at supermarkets. However, some people in Røros still make their own.
Skjørost is a fresh cheese made from fermented skim milk that is like cottage cheese. However, this is a craft that gives a varied consistency depending on who has kneaded the cheese grains. If you want to eat skjørost like a real local, you need tjukkmelk, sour cream with perhaps a sprinkle of sugar and cured meats.
Both products have received the distinction as national food treasures from Røros. This distinction guarantees that they are made according to local tradition with distinctive character from Røros.
Mountain almond from Oppdal
The focus in the rural mountain community of Oppdal is on outdoor life, mountain hiking and ski touring. A few thousand sheep also graze on the steep mountainsides. Oppdal also has an exclusive variety of potato called the “fjellmandel” (mountain almond). In this community at an altitude of 600 m.a.s.l., they grow the world’s, well at least Trøndelag’s, best almond potatoes. The district doctor Arentz introduced the almond potato to Oppdal in the mid-19th century and it has since been grown as the number one potato in Oppdal. What is so unique about Oppdal? The dry climate makes the potatoes extra tasty and good. To be called mountain almonds, the potatoes must be grown at least 400 m.a.s.l. and follow strict quality requirements. These are achieved by the potato farmers in Oppdal because in 2006 the mountain almond from Oppdal was approved as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
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