Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Autumn has arrived in Lillehammer, Norway!

It´s not the leaves changing colors nor the fresh chill in the air that makes this apparent.

It´s the unique way the Norwegian culture welcomes the season´s change.

I have yet to see a single pumpkin on display or for sale,

but

cars are lining up to be washed and ski boxes are coming out of storage.

Summer jackets are getting thicker

and thank GOODNESS no one is walking through stores and restaurants barefooted any longer.

(It´s only warm enough to do this for a week or two so evidently the local board of health looks the other way)

However,

one of the most obvious signs of Fall is

grocery stores are well stocked with

the local delicacy Raw Rotten Fish, known locally as Rakfisk.

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

In Norwegian rake means soaked and fisk means fish.

My Google-ing found

“Rakfisk  dates back to the 1300s and came about due to ancient Scandinavian culture and peoples need to store food over a considerable period of time.”- Wikipedia

The fish is usually large rainbow trout

that have been gutted, rinsed, salted, and placed tightly into a bucket with a little sugar to speed up the fermentation process.

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

The buckets were traditionally stored with a  big rock on the lids because of pressure build up that occurs when a brine forms as the salt draws moisture from the fish.

The finished product is ready in one to three months,

and yes it stinks.

(understatement)

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

The dish is traditionally served with

lefse (a soft tortilla made from potato) and/or flat-bread and is usually accompanied with

butter, sour cream, shallots, red onion, green onions, potatoes,

beer and of course

Aquavit (a refined spirit typically made from Potatoes and stored in oak casks along with caraway for flavor).

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Photo courtesy of Valdres Turistkontor

Rakfisk is a popular dish around holiday parties.

It´s festive and delicious!

DSC_0484

The consistency on the tongue is like butter. Combined with all the traditional accompaniments,

rakfisk

it´s an elegant, gourmet, culinary adventure.

Valdres-rakfisk2

 It´s appearance on store shelves

makes the darker days of Autumn in Norway

just a little brighter.

Skål yáll!