Kristiansund and the Nordmøre district is home to a rich food culture and history. Meet some of the people who cultivate delicious local produce and who prepare some of the most glorious dishes in the world.
Maybe it was the beautiful nature and fresh sea air that lured Norway’s first clipfish entrepreneur, the Dutchman Jappe Ippes, to the Norwegian Nordmøre district at the end of the 17th century, where he would start producing the dried fish’s salty fats. Kristiansund subsequently became Norway’s undisputed capital city for clipfish and remained so until the Second World War. The fish’s extensive export to all parts of the world has left some traces in Kristiansund and inspired local names, such as Tahiti and Marokko (Morocco).
The pier in Kristiansund has been a local hub and gathering place for generations, and was where boats would deliver local food to the city. Food production in Nordmøre is guided by the principles of excellent quality, good animal husbandry and strict requirements for environmentally friendly production. But the most important ingredients are sourced directly from the district’s nature, and the related traditions continue to be developed and maintained by dedicated, knowledgeable locals.
Olav Kåre Jørgensen and Stian Røsand are passionate about creating unforgettable food and taste experiences. The former managers of Håholmen Havstuer hotel continue local food traditions in Kristiansund through their grocery shop and café, Mætt & Go, and their seafood restaurant, Smia. Here they serve genuine, local staple dishes, such as “blandaball” (fish, potato, root vegetables and bacon), clipfish burger, whale stew from Smøla and smoked pepper salmon from Averøya.
Stian says that one of the most enjoyable things he does at work is arranging Christmas banquets, called “Julebord” in Norwegian.
“There are so many people who stubbornly proclaim that they do not eat “lutefisk”, “rakfisk”, blue cheese and so on. So, we prepare our guests a nine-course meal, and no one is allowed to say that they don’t like something until they have tasted everything.”
Watch the video below to see Stian recount how his guests react to eating food they think they don’t like.
“ It is a fantastic feeling when the guests come and thank us for their experience."
Stian and Olav Kåre know most of the local producers in Nordmøre, and their grocery store offers an impressive selection of local food, such as whiskey-marinated, juniper-smoked trout, seaweed crackers, sea truffles, whale meat, “håga” honey from Hedneset, clipfish, dandelion jelly, local spices, carrot jam, wild sheep, raspberry juice, locally-brewed beer and plumb syrup with cognac.
They also sell homemade bread, called “hæmbakakak” in their dialect, in addition to delicacies such as ramson purée and “silte” (which is “jam” in their dialect).
The Nordic Light Festival of Photography is a one-week international gathering in the charming coastal town of Kristiansund. During the week of the festival the locals, international photographers, students, amateurs and pupils gather in what has become a melting point of photographic and cultural events.
Read more about Nordic Light
Knut Garshol is a fourth-generation trader and the only fishmonger in Norway to sell solely clipfish in his shop, which is located in the Kristiansund town square. He is also probably the only person in the world that knows as much as he does about clipfish and its history.
Clipfish is dried and salted cod, and a Nordmøre delicacy that has been produced and exported to southern countries for centuries. In return, the district has received spices and other multicultural characteristics, which is why the Portuguese bacalhau dish, called “bacalao” in Norwegian, is one of the city’s trademark dishes. No single factor has probably been so significant for the development of Kristiansund and the surrounding coastal communities as the clipfish.
Watch the video below to see Knut give advice about what absolutely not to do with clipfish.
The Norwegian Klipfish Museum is situated on the island of Gomalandet in a large and well preserved wharf dating back to 1749. Visit the museum and learn about traditional klipfish production through photos as well as through stories told by the knowledgeable guides. In addition the museum has a café where food samples of bacalao is served
Some of the world’s best cheeses are also made in Nordmøre. It all starts with Gulla, Guri, and the other dairy cows who provide the key ingredient.
Kristin Waagen, dairy farmer and co-owner of the Tingvollost dairy farm, which produces the world champion Kraftkar blue cheese, explains that the cheese tastes of the nature around us.
“There’s a connection between happy cows and good cheese. The grass that the animals eat also matters. If the cheese had been made in a completely different part of the country, then the cheese would taste differently. That I am certain of,” she says. Kraftkar was voted the World’s Best Cheese in 2016 and remains in high demand today, with waitlists of orders from the neighbouring village of Torjulvågen.
Watch Kristin talk more about Tingvoll cheese
"There’s a connection between happy cows and good cheese"
The seafood restaurant Smia serves traditional Norwegian dishes with a twist. Combining clipfish and blue cheese might not sound like a successful recipe, but this special dish is only met with enthusiasm from Smia’s guests.
“When making good clipfish, you have to start with making sure that the raw fish is properly dried,” states Olav Kåre. “Many people think that clipfish is clipfish but that’s not the case. To make it extra tasty, you also need to use quality ingredients.”
Watch the video below and learn how Olav Kåre makes Smia’s special clipfish meal, using the best blue cheese in the world and carrots from Smøla.
When Øyvind Grøvdal from Smøla worked as a fisherman, he wasn’t very fond of seaweed. It was only in the way and caused him nothing but trouble. Today, he harvests, dries and refines the nutritious sea plants to be used in various products. The product series UMARE is produced in the boathouse in the village of Veiholmen and includes items such as “fjæreknekkis” (seaweed crackers), sea truffles and seaweed salt.
“People and food live side by side here in Veiholmen,” says Øyvind. “When we started to consider what sort of things we could produce, seaweed was a pretty natural choice. All the seaweed in Norway is fully edible, and you can just walk down to the shore and help yourself.”
Watch Olav Kåre explain how to cook with sea truffles in the video below.
On Averøya, just where Kvernesfjord meets the sea, and about half an hour’s drive from Kristiansund, is Pure Norwegian Seafood AS. The family business has worked with fish for four generations and started breeding salmon in the early 70’s.
“We chose to focus on quality rather than quantity,” says marketing manager and co-owner Reidar Nygård. “A few years ago, we started a project in collaboration with researchers from Nofima, with the goal of figuring out what it takes to develop salmon that are particularly suited for being smoked. It was an educational process that gave us a lot of insight into important details.”
The salmon bred in Nordmøre today are the only Norwegian salmon to be awarded the French Label Rouge quality mark, which has strict requirements concerning the salmon’s condition, including taste, consistency and colour.
“We receive visits twice a year by Label Rouge auditors who check and measure temperatures, water quality, oxygen levels and the nutritional content of the feed. In addition, once year, an independent taste panel in France performs a blind taste test that compares our salmon to ordinary salmon,” says Nygård
The dedication to quality salmon has meant that the local business now delivers its product to the potentially most exclusive salmon smokehouse in the world.
“One of our most special customers is the Swiss company Balik. They buy salmon from us and smoke it according to a secret Russian recipe, reportedly from the kitchens of Tsar Nikolas II. The finished product is perhaps the most expensive salmon in the world and is sold for up to NOK 6,000 per kilo. We are talking about truly luxury salmon.” Nygård smiles.
"The fish that will become the potentially most expensive smoked salmon in the world have been bred in Nordmøre".
After working for several years as a chef at Statholdergaarden in Oslo alongside the previous winner of the world’s culinary championships, Bent Stiansen, Stian Stensønes Lillehaugn chose to move back to Nordmøre with his family. Today he is a chef and the co-owner of the restaurant Bryggekanten, in the centre of Kristiansund. The brasserie has possibly the best location in the city, right down by the water’s edge, with an outstanding view of Kristiansund’s four islands and the traditional harbour where the clipfish used to be shipped out to the world in days past.
“The place was established to offer the city’s population and visitors a rendezvous point where they could enjoy local cuisine in pleasant surroundings. The quality of the ingredients, not to mention the diversity we have here in Nordmøre, is completely unique. You won’t find a place like it in Norway. Maybe not even in the rest of the world, for all we know.” says Stian.
Watch Stian explain why he thinks Nordmøre is the world’s cornucopia in the video below.
I Kristiansund vil du fort oppdage at du besøker en kulturby. Opera, klippfisk og Sundbåt er tre ting du ikke kommer utenom når du tar turen hit.
7.–23. februar arrangeres Operafestukene i Kristiansund.
I løpet av disse to ukene byr Operaen i Kristiansund på alt fra fullskala opera, lettere operetter og musikaler, til gratisforestillinger på flere av byens cafeer, restauranter og kjøpesentre.
Vel verdt et besøk!