Here in the United States we are slowly taking back control of our food as we go through our farm-to-table revolution. Farmers’ markets are popping up in many communities, and as a nation we are becoming more focused on organic foods. In Norway, it’s always been farm to table, or even ship to table.
In the breathtakingly beautiful harbor of historic Bergen, there is a large open-air fish market where you can watch the busy chefs sautéeing freshly caught shrimp, salmon and cod on outdoor griddles for on-the-spot feasts. At these same stands, you find cauldrons of bubbling fish stew and rich simmering seafood paellas. You also come across stalls carrying fresh cheeses and ‘Setersmør’. Smør is the Norwegian word for butter and seter refers to the mountainous, summer farms where butter and cheeses were traditionally made, evoking a sense of pure, wholesome quality.
Many Norwegians are closely attuned to the changing seasons and buy fruits and vegetables as soon as they are harvested. Cheerful stands heaped high with colorful, seasonal berries and leafy produce abound. The mountains, the sea and the medieval architecture of Bergen are mightily impressive. Visit the marketplace downtown, and you find yourself in another world!
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Last week, we had the privilege of hanging out and cooking with the amazing Silvia Baldini. There’s not much Silvia doesn’t do – a former high-powered art director in NYC, she’s now a local chef, entrepreneur, super mom and all-around #girlboss. Did I mention she won Chopped with “the best dessert on this show ever”? Needless to say, we were thrilled she agreed to be featured in the second installment of our Chef Series!