Why Norway?

We are going to Norway because Elysia is going to Norway.

For real!

Elysia is going to Norway on a six-months exchange in mid-August.

Much as we are going to miss her dreadfully, this is a wonderful opportunity for her, and we can’t begrudge it at all. How exciting! We normally have our international lunches on the last Sunday of the month, but this one will be the Sunday before she leaves, so we’ll have a huge family lunch in Norway on Sunday 11 August.

My experience of Norway

I’ve never been to Norway, so know nothing of the country at all, except that it looks stunningly beautiful.

When Elysia comes back, perhaps we can break with tradition and have a second lunch in Norway – she’ll be able to tell us what they really eat, rather than what Google tells us they eat.

I think I am pre-disposed to like Norwegians very much, though. If you have some spare time (and Google), look up the You Tube clip of “what does the fox say?”. It was huge hit a couple of years ago and is quite funny – the kids loved it.

And if you have a bit more time and SBS on Demand, watch “Norway: the musical”. Written by the same team as “What does the fox say?”, it is a very funny spin on stories that really happened in Norway – Justin Bieber cancelling a concert because there is water on the stage, a diving tower than ended up costing an obscene amount of money. Investigative musicals! It’s a whole new genre!


I’m afraid I have not been overly inspired by internet recipes from Norway. There seems to be lots of cabbage and potatoes, and fish that we can’t get here (cod and haddock).

Because this will be a big group, we’ll have lunch at Lauren and Will’s house. This number of people simply will not fit into my little apartment.

The menu

The menu is looking like:

  • Prince of Norway cocktail
  • Open sandwiches
  • Garvlax (courtesy of the Davis family)
  • Norwegian pea soup
  • Lefse (potato bread)
  • Norwegian meatballs
  • Christmas cabbage
  • Bacon and sauce
  • Lamb and cabbage
  • Skolebrod
  • White lady sponge cake (a Paul Hollywood recipe!)
  • Gingerbread house

We’re having a gingerbread house because Lani, bless her little heart, sees pictures of gingerbread houses with snow on them, and she knows that the house that Elysia is going to live in will have snow on it sometimes. Therefore, gingerbread houses come from Norway. QED.

The food

I think we could have all eaten the starters all day. Viv and Lauren had ingredients for truckloads of open sandwiches, and they were yummy

But the gravlax! The gravlax was indescribably delicious. I’m not a big fish eater, and do not like salmon at all. But I could eat Rich’s gravlax every day for the rest of my life. It was to die for and is, without doubt, the dish of the whole adventure for me. Thank you, Rich!!

The soup and main course was enjoyable. But I have to confess to being less than overwhelmed.

The desserts were lovely though. I made the skolebrod, which were like doughnuts, on Saturday, but they might have been better eaten the day they are made. The gingerbread house was a big hit with the kids, and the white lady cake was very nice. I think I might even put it into my regular repertoire – it is fairly easy to make, but very impressive to look at with a great taste. It’s a cake with impact!

The drinks

I didn’t notice what beer the beer drinkers were drinking, but the cocktail was very nice – vodka, apricot brandy, lime juice and lemonade. So what’s not to like?

The ambience

This was a family lunch to say goodbye to Elysia before she goes to Norway next week on six months exchange, and there were far too many people to fit into my little apartment, so we had lunch at Lauren and Will’s house. It was lovely, with two tables of family and close friends being totally envious of Elysia.

We played “What does the fox say” but, generally, the music was very different to the music I am used to, and I switched the Spotify playlist to classic Aussie rock as soon as I thought no-one was listening. The Scandi’s do lots of things very well, but I don’t think music and food are two of them.

The quiz

Jan wrote the quiz, and Will won it. Situation normal.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Norway

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Norway

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_Norway

The highlight of lunch in Norway

Starters and desserts were the undoubted highlights of lunch in Norway.

Everyone loved the gravlax, and we had to make ourselves stop eating it and the open sandwiches so we could move on to the mains.

Liam liked the pea soup (go, Liam!), and Lani liked the gingerbread house (no surprises there, either). The kids had agreed that Elysia would light the candle, Liam would blow it out and Lani would smash it with a hammer to break it up. Smashing it was a big hit!

Where to next?

So it’s Ha det to Norway and Hello to Hungary. Will has chosen Hungary, but I’m not sure why. I’ll have to ask!