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Foodie Adventures in Norway Part 1
By Trish Smith
12 October 2010





Having just spent a week in Bangkok sampling such culinary delights as deep fried baby crabs and a fruit called durian that smells like the dirty clothes basket in the locker room of a high school rugby union team, I was up for just about anything in Oslo. A good friend of mine who happens to be married to a lovely bloke from Oslo told me about a delicatessen that I simply had to visit if I was serious about tasting dried reindeer and smoked elk and genuine Norwegian goat’s cheese. I was serious, I wanted to be educated about Norwegian food, so I went.

Fenaknoken is on Tordenskjolds Gate near the Oslo Town Hall. The deli has smoked meats hanging from every available rack and hook, and an enormous glass cabinet filled with salamis and sausages and huge legs of ham. At the other end of the deli are the dairy cabinets, stocked with an impressive variety of cheeses. This is no place for vegetarians or anyone who is lactose intolerant. Or freaked out by taxidermy.


Fenaknoken

In anticipation of a long train journey the next day, and in the spirit of culinary adventure, I bought a selection of meats – reindeer twiggy sticks, reindeer salami, elk ‘prosciutto’ and dried fish.

I also got some of this:



You are probably thinking that this looks like the most divinely delectable chocolate fudge ever to be made. Rich, dense, intensely flavoured... delicious.

If that’s what you’re thinking, you would be wrong. Well, half-wrong. It is rich, dense and intensely flavoured, but it ain’t chocolate.

Here’s the label...



Any idea? No?

It’s CHEESE.

Eirik, the man behind the counter at Fenaknoken, told me that this was the best goat’s cheese to try if I wanted to try something traditional (it’s actually made with goat and cow’s milk). And I have to agree with him, it was pretty good. I had it on Kavli korni flatbrød (crispbread) with my reindeer salami on the side. I had never tasted anything like this cheese; it was sweet, which was surprising. My brain and my taste buds were really confused. They knew it wouldn’t taste like chocolate, but they weren’t prepared for it to taste sweet. After a few flatbrøds with huldreost I had to admit defeat. I just couldn’t eat any more. I finished off the reindeer salami and declared the lesson over. A few days later I went back to the deli to ask Eirik how on earth they managed to make cheese look like chocolate. But that’s another story...
 

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