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,
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
Rakfisk is a popular dish around holiday parties.
It´s festive and delicious!
The consistency on the tongue is like butter. Combined with all the traditional accompaniments,
it´s an elegant, gourmet, culinary adventure.
It´s appearance on store shelves
makes the darker days of Autumn in Norway
just a little brighter.