Currently taking place is the Frankfurter Buchmesse one of the biggest events on the Frankfurt calendar.  Over 285 thousand people pass through its doors sharing and exchanging ideas, exhibiting content of all kinds and exploring avenues they have perhaps not explored before.  

Each year the Frankfurter Buchmesse chooses a country as its guest of honour.  This years Buchmesse guest of honour is Norway.  And on Wednesday evening Kelly and I had the absolute pleasure of attending a Neo-Fjordic cuisine extravaganza presented by the Norwegian Seafood Council.  What a delight!  We were educated, entertained, indulged (I consumed more calories than I care to admit) and treated to some delicious Norwegian cooking!

What is Neo-Fjordic cuisine you might ask?  

Well, it’s the brain child of Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft.  And what initially began almost as a joke has developed into somewhat of a  revolution of Norwegian cuisine.  Haatuft knew he wanted to change the way Norwegian cooking was perceived and thus begun this culinary journey.  Bland, one dimensional food of potatoes and herring, no thank you!  Instead, rich and satisfying dishes heroing flavours so representative of the Norwegian culture and way of life!  Think halibut, smoked mackerel, brown cheese and Reindeer.

With an incredibly successful international career spanning many continents and countries Haatuft decided to move home. 6 years ago he opened his restaurant Lysverket in Bergen.  And, the rest as they say is history. 

He goes on to expand on the idea and inspiration behind his restaurant.  Haatuft references the French, he explains how proud and passionate the French are of their cuisine, all aspects of it.  How each region has something to offer that they feel is world class.  And that they believe with every ounce of their being that it is better than most, and so of course, we all believe it too.  To say many don’t believe French cooking to be the pinnacle in cooking would be a lie.  

Also, he mentions that perhaps we should all take a sheet out the French notebook and do the same.  It’s not necessarily the ingredient or product per say, but rather, seeing what your region/your country has to offer and believing in its value.  Finally, it’s going one step further and exhibiting immense pride and passion in whatever that is!  

On Wednesday night Haatuft left the shores of Bergen to delight us in Frankfurt with his Neo-Fjordic cuisine, and serve it with a very generous helping of humour!

On the menu for the evening:

  1. Fish soup

Somewhat reminiscent of a chowder.  A dish typical of Western Norway where Haatuft is from.  Thick, delicious and a complete comfort food for those long cold winter months.  One of the secrets Haatuft mentions to creating the depth in flavour of the soup is the stock.  Avoid doing it the French way, in other words, easy on the straining. Haatuft uses eggs, cream, sour cream, butter and flour to create the thickness…a recipe for the ‘rich’ he jokes – in bygone years and times of austerity the soup was made with milk and potato starch

  1. Ceviche with a Nordic twist

Unlike the original Peruvian version no lemon was used to cure the fish.  Instead, basic vinegar and maleic acid are used to create the acidity needed to cure the halibut. Next he adds cucumber juice which adds the beautiful green colour.  He finishes it off with shavings of crunchy fennel, onion and fresh apple.

  1. Smoked mackerel butter wrapped in a potato flat bread

Smoked mackerel butter piped into the centre of these tiny burritos (for want of a better word) and finished off with pickled dill flowers to cut through the richness.  Its always the smallest details that complete a dish

  1. A layered apple desert

Somewhat resembling a trifle with it’s layering (though tasting nothing like one) was this beautiful desert.  Rich layers of creamy decadence, caramelised apple and cinnamon and and almost biscuity layer for crunch.  A complete melt in your mouth experience.  An hour at the gym was never going to be enough to limit the damage.

  1. Brown cheese chocolate truffles

To finish, truffles of absolute yumminess!  Now, I am not a fan of desserts and almost certainly always choose cheese over chocolate.  Here however I didn’t have the choice. I loved that the dish was not overwhelmingly sweet but was still full of richness, hints of goats cheese coming through on the back of the palette while still allowing cacao to be the hero.

Good to know

  • for a fantastic ceviche in Frankfurt check out La Cevi
  • the final Sunday at the Frankfurter Buchmesse offers a great opportunity to pick up a bargain as many of the books are on sale