Whilst staying at HI Hostel St. Svithun in Stavanger, you are close to cobble-stone streets packed with cafes, delicacy shops and eateries, and of course the Fish Market. Many of the fresh products from local farmers can be found at reasonable prices in local supermarkets, and to guide you through the menu, here is our list of must-eats of the Stavanger region.
1. Anything from the deep blue
Inland lake trout, halibut, monkfish, mussels, oysters and of course the international superstar: Norwegian salmon, can all be found in Stavanger’s Fish Market in various dishes. There are simply too many freshly caught delicacies from the sea and fjord to pick out a single favorite, but the locals certainly dig a fresh shrimp sandwich with mayonnaise and a hint of lemon.
It doesn’t get more Norwegian than this, and any local you meet will have memories of bringing a matpakke to school for hiking trips or even to work. Many visitors to Stavanger hike to the famous Preikestolen nearby and bring a «matpakke», basically a packed lunch that is compact and easy to bring in your backpack. It can contain anything you like, but the go-to for many is sandwiches with something savory like ham and cheese, or sweet like the traditional brown goat cheese or jam. Our tip is to bring a little of both and do like the Norwegians: pack some fruit like oranges or apples to share with your hiking companions. And of course, do remember not to leave anything behind in the gorgeous but vulnerable nature.
3. Hand-picked berries
From the summer months of June and through July and August, depending on the temperature that year, hills and fields are ripe with wild blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. If you are lucky, you may even stumble upon a field of cloudberries if you are out hiking in the late summer. The locations of a rich spot of these golden, juicy berries are usually a well-kept secret among locals, shared – if shared at all, only with family. You may find fresh berries, juices or jams from local farms at small pop-up shops in the countryside, or even on the shelves in supermarkets.
4. Local brewing traditions at Lervig
Voted as one of the top 100 breweries in the world by beer lovers around the world in an online poll, the independent small-scale brewery Lervig focuses on taste and quality. Experimenting with new flavors, the brewery locale and bottle shop in Hillevåg serves up traditional Pilsners, fruity IPAs and rich stout brews, which can also be found in supermarkets.
Ostehuset literally means «the house of cheese», and in the café and shop in Stavanger you will find freshly baked goods, steaming hot coffee, and of course – all the cheese you can dream of. Try the cheese plate with carefully selected bites and condiments or take home international and local goodies. A favorite among locals is the traditional Norwegian brown goat cheese. The almost caramel-like cheese melts in the mouth and is best enjoyed as an afternoon sweet together with a waffle and some home-made jam.
6. Tomatoes from Finnøy
Tomatoes may seem like an ordinary to put on a must-eat list, but the Juanita tomatoes from the lush farmlands at Finnøy and Ryfylke may just be the sweetest you will ever taste. Close to the sun and sea, Finnøy island next to Boknafjorden has the perfect soil, and the island stands for half the tomato production in Norway. In fact, these juicy bright-red tomatoes packed in tin foil with some butter make an excellent contribution to our last must-eat tip:
7. Anything barbequed!
As soon as there is a sunny afternoon in sight, you can be sure that Norwegians dust off their grill and find a spot in the sun for a barbeque get-together with friends, family and guests. Long summer days and lazy afternoons where the sun sets late in the evening make the perfect setting for a barbeque, chatting away while the food sizzles on the coals. Everyone can bring something different to contribute to the meal, and even the task of putting the coals out properly and making sure that no trash is left behind becomes a team effort. From seafood, meats, mushrooms and fresh vegetables, whatever your food preference is, it can be grilled!
Book your stay at HI Stavanger St. Svithun.
Photos by Sara Caballero Navarrete / photo top: Paul Edmundson/fjordnorway.com