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Easter Viking Style

May 02, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Charlie is a Year Two HKU foodie currently on exchange in Germany; here, she tells you about her gastronomical journeys in Norway. You can follow her instagram at @nomcharlie.

Easter, as we all know, is one of the most important religious holidays in western culture, also officially known as the week of irresponsible binge eating by People’s Choice. The blogger, a.k.a. me, was lucky enough to have been invited to spend this year’s holiday in a fascinating country with the world’s longest Easter holiday – Norway – and experienced the overwhelming welcome and love from people of the happiest land of the world.

My dear host, Esten, is an old friend who is unconsciously a foodie since childhood. His early years were spent somewhere in between the dynamic scenes of Oslo city and summer party island Tjøme, during which time he constantly experimented with the kitchen and joined his handsome grandfather for fishing from time to time.

Traditionally, during Påske (the Norwegian name for Easter), the must-eats are: One, an Easter lunch consisting of lots of boiled potatoes and vegetables together with lamb meat, accompanied by a local Easter beer; Two, Easter oranges, and don’t forget Kvikk Lunsj (meaning “Quick Lunch”, as you might figure out) by Freia, a famous chocolate bar comprising of crunchy wafer covered with milk chocolate, regarded the Kit Kat of the Vikings, but of course, a better version (oops, sorry Uncle Sam!).

According to self-taught chef Esten, nothing beats a bite of frozen Kvikk Lunsj in a snow trekking. Thus, we found ourselves away from the cozy wooden cabins where most cute couples stay in watching television or knitting while they are in the mountainous areas, and instead climbing up a snow mountain with an angel as steep as 70 degrees. Let’s skip all the hardship climbing without any professional equipment, once we are on top, we had our beloved chocolate bars stuffed in snow. That joy of mouth, you could only experience in person, not by word. Sorry folks!

In fact, an average Norwegian would eat around nine chunks of Kvikk Lunsjs every year, three of which during Easter holiday. Kvikk Lunsj is for many Norwegians a symbol of their national pride, you would hear them “WOOHOO” when you mention these magical words. It might be funny to hear that the producer Freia got the wrath of the people when they changed the wrapping of the chocolate several years ago. Furious Norwegians even established many Facebook groups just to show their pride in the very original chocolate bars. (Too much free time in nations with great welfare indeed.)

Somehow we adventurers also managed to make a fire out of the woods and made grilled hot dogs! Yeah, you heard me, these people never get tired of hot dogs. In fact, you will find the most amazing hot dogs and burgers in the world just in convenient stores and gas stations in Norway. Hard to believe, isn’t it? With ketchup, mustard, and fried onions on top, you would be in heaven just through one bite.

Another common camping food is tomato soup with macaroni, again, lesson learned from the ex-special soldier Esten. The simple sour and salty taste with rich texture is best captured with military cooking utensils. And our faithful wolfie doggy also loved it! (Well, who wouldn’t if Charlie is feeding!)

Yet, the most epic moment of our snow mountain trip was the morning of Easter Sunday. Tradition has it where the Easter Bunny comes with eggs on Easter Sunday and hides them around. So the children need to get their ass out of bed early to go hunting for Easter eggs. I found mine behind a huge mountain rock, with lovely assorted candies full loaded. Two identical candies to mention: Easter marzipans chocolates with lingering fragrance of almond, and Salty Liquorice which come in black color and a very special taste often marked as unacceptable and disgusting by Asians. My Norwegian friend is more than delighted to find me enjoying the stinging flavour and another old wise Norwegian woman friend of mine saluted me as “a real Viking heroine” not because I made it to me mountaintop but enjoyed their candies.

Coming back from the peak with sore arms and legs, we got more food to be thankful for – A real Easter dinner. Garlicky Roasted lambs with potatoes and vegetables, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The story behind is that the sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. And the Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God. (A bit twisted and the story actually makes you feel somehow guilty for eating the lamb, upon hearing all the history and religious meanings I almost immediately wanted to convert into a vegetarian but … whatever.)

Last day of Easter holiday always starts with a good Easter breakfast: colored eggs of course! Fresh bread is also indispensable in an Easter breakfast. We also had our full-corn breads, nuts bars, organic strawberry and cranberry jam, mackerel fillet and omelet. You feel like you have the whole world seeing all these home-made food in front of you for breakfast. And you start to doubt why you need to go back to uni in Hong Kong when you can have these every day. (No, not really, we are smart and we work hard … don’t we?!)

Home cooking is not just a leisure in Scandinavia, it’s so in the blood of these happy people, and not just for women. Just look at the chicken egg salad, fresh cream cake with berries picked from Norwegian woods and buns with cream we made at home, and feel the real leisure of a Norwegian heart.

 

During my time here, I always wondered why we (or maybe just I) always work so hard and feel like we are not good enough, yet Norwegians are enjoying every moment of life in all the possible ways you can and cannnot think of. Last but not least, grab an ice-cream from the hot chick by the harbour, watch the beautiful scenery and nom your soft ice with grandpas and grandmas in love. And that marks a perfect closure of my Easter food adventure in Norway.

Until then, enjoy great food and wine as well as working hard!

Adios my foodie fellows! Love from the mouth!

xoxo

Charlie the unicorn

 



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