Specialties from Trøndelag

Trøndelag has world-class ingredients and proud food traditions. Local producers with a passion for the produce they grow gives us one unique and tasty product after another. To date, a full 49 products from Trøndelag have received the prestigious “Spesialitet” (Specialty) label.

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Foto: R.R. Frontal/Marius Rua/Explore Trøndelag

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You can experience these food treasures at restaurants, food markets and often by visiting the producers. This article is intended to guide you to some of the specialties that are worth noting and the people who make them.

Foto: Allsidig Design/Kajsa Selnes

“In Trøndelag, it always seems like people have time for you. They like to tell you where they got their fresh ingredients from and how they are prepared,”

Petra Sestak, the Director of Tourism in Trøndelag

Intelligent life has existed on the outermost naked isle in the archipelago off the coast of Trøndelag ever since the Stone Age. 

Apart from finds from 11th century farms, we know very little about the people who lived there all those years ago. However, it’s highly likely that the basic way of life at this isolated outpost, exposed to the elements and only a stone’s throw from the edible treasures of the sea, has changed little over the past 10,000 years.

The fact that by 2021 Trøndelag had a full 49 specialties may seem like an unusually high number. After all, the region is not that big.

“What all the producers have in common is that they take great pride in the products they make. They are extremely skilled when it comes to processing the fresh ingredients,” says Kristine Rise, she is the instigator of the development of good food experiences in Trøndelag. She knows that many have worked hard to gain this label.

 

Hard and soft cheeses

In Trøndelag, cheese lovers have plenty to choose between. We choose to highlight “Gammel Erik” from Elvekanten Ysteri, located in Namsskogan not far from the county border with Nordland. After starting with careful testing in his kitchen 21 years ago, Carlos Helguere has established his own cheese factory and perfected “Gammel Erik”, a type of gouda that is aged for 5-10 months. This cheese is so successful that it has received awards and distinctions at both the national and world cheese championships. Carlos receives regular deliveries of full-cream milk from local, happy cows. Patience and knowledge are important ingredients when you are chasing such results.

Astrid Aasen is another patient cheesemaker. She makes cheeses from ultra-local cow’s milk – from the barn next door – at her farm cheese factory Gangstad Gårdsysteri on the Inderøy peninsula, which is slightly further south in Trøndelag.

“It’s about taking time,” says Astrid. “Time for the cows, time to make the best cheese and time for it to age. We don’t take any shortcuts. We combine patience and diligence with traditions and our own, pure ingredients.”

Astrid Aasen, Gangstad Gårdsysteri. Foto: Marius Rua/Trondelag.com

Gangstad Gårdsysteri. Foto: Ellen Homstad

Created for sharing

Astrid’s cheeses are of the most outstanding quality, and several have received the “Spesialitet” label. We have chosen to mention Granstubben, a washed-rind cheese that should be warmed in the oven before serving. It has spruce bark around the edge, which gives a distinctive taste when heated.

“Sitting around the table and dipping good bread in the melted cheese fills you with good flavours and gratitude,” says Kristin Rise. “Sharing a meal like this provides so much more energy than sitting alone.”

Caramel on your tongue

In the area where Astrid lives and works, the locals eat Sodd with heart and soul. This traditional meat soup of cooked mutton and meatballs in a clear broth is a local specialty. But you don’t eat Sodd without Skjenning – a festive crisp bread baked with potatoes, oats, rye, wheat and barley. The surprise comes when you put it on your tongue. One side is brushed with milk and sugar, which turns to caramel when it’s baked, providing sweetness that goes extremely well with the salty meat soup.

 

Foto: Fotoknoff/Sven Erik Knoff

Smoked meat

Smoking meat is a traditional way of preserving food. In Trøndelag, this method has received the “Spesialitet” label. Delicacies with a distinct smoky flavour and local herbs are made in both the north and south of the county, including at Bortistu Gjestegård where they create delicious culinary experiences based on local ingredients. “Our smoked legs of lamb are lightly salted and smoked with juniper berries in Bortistu’s old smokehouse.” This distinctive building dates to around 1850 and was originally used to dry malt to brew malt beer. “Finding the balanced, mild and unique smoky flavour we were looking for, as well as aroma and tenderness, was a painstaking process of craftmanship,” says Linn Mai, the hostess at Bortistu. But they got there in the end and were awarded the “Spesialitet” label for their efforts. If you wish, you can spend the night at Bortistu Gjestegård. Which is located 1,5 hour drive from Trondheim, in Oppdal.

Local drops in your glass

If you are looking for good local beverages, Trøndelag offers several beers that have received the “Spesialitet” label, including the craft brewery Klostergården on the monastery island of Tautra. Its unique beer Alstadberger was the very first Norwegian beer to receive the label. The beer is made using the thousand-year-old Trøndelag tradition of drying malt over an open fire of alder wood. If you would prefer for something stronger, you may be tempted by an aquavit from the distillery Inderøy Brenneri. Den Gyldne Aquavit (The Golden Aquavit) is made from herbs and flowers that grow on the Inderøy peninsula – an ultra-local aquavit. Many of the aquavit farms offer aquavit tasting with the farmers, we would strongly recommend getting the full experience.

Foto: Soran Photography

Foto: Rørosrein/Tom Gustavsen

The mountain plateau calling

Let’s end this tasty safari in Røros. With its strong mining culture and status as a World Heritage Site, this small mountain town offers charm, history, nature and food. There are four “Spesialitet” labels here – all for meat from Rørosrein. Røros has a 10,000-year history of reindeer husbandry, and the company Rørosrein is run by two local Sami families. They live with the reindeer at Gåebrien Sijte during the eight seasons linked to reindeer’s natural migration. Traditions and awareness of processing have led to “Spesialitet” labels for reindeer products including pinnekjøtt (ribs), cured sausages and reindeer fillet from reindeer calves. These authentic products are tender and have pure flavours. This can be experienced as a small piece of Norway with a taste of the mountain plateau.

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