The Nordics, a coalition of the seven Nordic tourism boards of Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden renowned for its unwavering commitment to sustainability, is taking culinary travel to extraordinary heights by offering visitors an unparalleled multi-sensory gastronomic experience anchored in meaning and purpose. From foraging in pristine forests to participating in immersive cultural exchanges to meeting visionary chefs pushing culinary boundaries, dining in The Nordics is a truly transformative journey that transcends mere indulgence.
For travelers looking to experience a new level of culinary travel where sustainability and creativity harmoniously intertwine, a plethora of unforgettable epicurean experiences await in The Nordics.
Denmark’s Off-the-Beaten Path Culinary Wonders
One of the best ways to support sustainable tourism in Denmark is by venturing off-the-beaten path to its lesser-traveled areas, such as the wild and wonder-filled North Jutland. Sustainable dining hotspots, planet-friendly food, and exquisite seafood are nestled all around this dynamic region, which is now more accessible thanks to SAS’s new direct service between Newark International Airport (EWR) and Aalborg Airport (AAL). Two outstanding examples of sustainable dining found here are the newly-appointed Michelin-starred restaurants, Tri and Villa Vest, the latter of which guests can even spend the night. Both establishments prioritize seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients, complemented by their idyllic settings near the water in charming seaside towns. For a more hands-on approach, foodie wayfarers can grab a pair of waders and embark on an oyster safari in Limfjorden to learn how to find, open and cook what is considered by many to be the best oysters in the world.
Faroe Islands: Where Local Leads the Way
In the Faroe Islands, local cuisine takes center stage. With tourism primarily locally owned and operated, every penny spent resonates within the very communities visitors explore. Embracing this ethos is Heimablídni, an exceptional dining experience that invites travelers to share a meal with local families, fostering genuine connections and providing an authentic taste of Faroese culture. Among the remarkable families leading the charge are Harriet av Gørðum, an innovative young farmer reinventing traditional farming practices with a fresh perspective, and Anna and Óli, dedicated sheep farmers turned hosts, offering guests the chance to savor their home-cooked delights while enjoying breathtaking views of the surrounding fjords and islands. Moreover, for spirits aficionados, the destination is now home to one of the most northerly distilleries in the world, Faer Isles Distillery which produces whisky and several other quality spirits based on local botanicals and culinary traditions. Lastly, for a one-of-a-kind dining experience born out of the age-old Faroese tradition of fermentation, Restaurant Ræst is a must; it has a menu consisting solely of fermented dishes made from locally-raised ingredients.
Finland: Nature So Close You Can Taste It
Finland beckons travelers with culinary experiences intricately intertwined with nature and the people proud to call it home. From the newest Michelin-starred restaurant, Restaurant Vår in Porvoo, which works with local farmers, fishermen, hunters and producers of all kinds, to immersive experiences like “Wine in the Woods” in Nuuksio National Park, and an archipelago dinner cruise on a traditional steamship to Loistokari Island with Ukkopekka, Finland offers a plethora of sustainable dining opportunities sure to leave a lasting impression. Up north in Finnish Lapland, Restaurant Aanaar creates dishes unique to the region known for its untouched wilderness and rich heritage, using everything from lichen and the traditional Sami herbal plant Angelica to reindeer and Lake Inari’s fish. While in the countryside, visitors should try their hand at making Karelian pies, a traditional delicacy using old family recipes, at the charming Okkola Holiday Cottages.
Greenland’s Wild Food Culture
With a growing movement to promote access to local cuisine and better integrate food into the tourism experience, Greenland now offers a number of captivating sustainable dining experiences that go beyond traditional restaurants, from outdoor nature excursions to homestays with South Greenlandic sheep farmers. While in Nuuk, the world’s first certified sustainable capital, visitors can indulge in a Greenlandic BBQ offered by Inuk Hostels where the unique flavors of the land are showcased in a remarkable outdoor setting. For those seeking adventure and a fresh catch, the “Fish & Dish” boat tour offers an unforgettable journey to a remote restaurant in the middle of the Qooqqut fjord. And for 2023 only, KOKS, the Faroe Islands’ two-Michelin-starred restaurant has temporarily relocated to Ilimanaq Lodge where head chef Poul Andrias Ziska is interpreting locally-sourced ingredients on the shores of the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Ilulissat Icefjord.
Iceland’s Secret Ingredient: Location
Iceland’s culinary offering is all about location, drawing inspiration from the country’s abundant fresh water, fertile fishing grounds, and geothermal energy that nurtures organic greenhouses and supplies year-round produce. Michelin-starred restaurants, including the newly-appointed Moss Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon, Óx Restaurant, Reykjavík’s smallest and finest restaurant, and the trailblazing Dill Restaurant add to the constellation of culinary stars in the country. Each of Iceland’s seven regions showcases unique food traditions, embracing the farm-to-table concept and celebrating local produce. From innovative pioneers in North Iceland, to the family-owned organic farmers at Mother Earth in Vallanes in the East, to the culinary treasures of South Iceland including Slippurinn in the Westman Islands, each region offers distinct flavors. The goat farming heritage of West Iceland and the coastal delights of Reykjanes Peninsula like Bryggjan Grindavík, a beloved fisherman’s café meets net making shop, further enrich Iceland’s diverse gastronomic landscape.
Norway’s Hands-On Dining
Norway offers a myriad of immersive dining experiences that promise unforgettable encounters with its vast natural bounty. Travelers can join local chefs on a unique foraging and cooking adventure along the stunning western fjords where wild herbs and plants become the stars of the plate. The richness of Sami culture can be embraced with SamiRoots, which host authentic dining experiences that involve foraging, berry-picking, and savoring traditional Sami dishes. In the Trøndelag region, visitors can master the art of truffle hunting and learn how to create dishes featuring the prized delicacy like black truffle risotto and baked truffle chicken. Off the coastal town of Bergen, thrilling sea urchin safaris are on offer, allowing guests to catch the delicate creatures and prepare them under the guidance of expert chefs. And in the enchanting city of Tromsø, Arctic fine dining awaits with chefs artfully preparing locally sourced delights like reindeer, cloudberry, and Arctic Char. These captivating culinary experiences showcase Norway’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, culinary innovation, and preserving cultural heritage.
Sweden’s Right to Roam
Experiential dining adventures abound in Sweden, where the country’s rich culinary heritage and breathtaking landscapes seamlessly converge. One such example is the traditional Swedish fika, a cherished custom for enjoying good company and delicious local treats in picturesque settings, be it out in nature or at a cozy city café. For a taste of indigenous culinary culture, visitors can head to Swedish Lapland and experience ‘kokkaffe’ – coffee made over an open fire, paired with smoked reindeer meat, all against the backdrop of the stunning Swedish highlands. Another option is The Edible Country, a unique do-it-yourself gourmet dining experience that embraces the country’s right to roam policy and seasonal ingredients found in nature. For the ultimate modern Swedish gastronomy, guests can dine at top restaurants led by esteemed chefs, such as Florencia Abella of the Michelin-starred Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt, who puts her creative spin on New Nordic cuisine by cooking everything over an open fire.
Source : Travelpulse