Food, Glorious Food: A Delicious Guide to Hurtigruten
Ivy Thompson explains the wonderful food options on Hurtigruten's Norwegian Coastal Voyage, enjoyed on our small group tour this winter, 'Arctic Light, Auroras and Hurtigruten'. The stunning Norwegian coastal scenery is hardly interrupted during onboard meal times: breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in dining-areas with panorama views thanks to large window-panes on either side of the restaurants.
Hurtigruten, known as the world’s most beautiful voyage, offers not only a feast for the eyes, but also the taste buds. The stunning Norwegian coastal scenery is hardly interrupted during onboard meal times: breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in dining-areas with panorama views thanks to large window-panes on either side of the restaurants. We constantly found ourselves eating while staring out on another beautiful Northern Norwegian pink sunrise or sunset, scared to miss out on yet another perfect Hurtigruten-moment.
Hurtigruten went plastic-free in 2018 and have continued to embrace many important aspects of sustainability: We could hang a small sign on our door, thus be a ‘Sustainable Traveller’ by opting out of the daily cabin-cleaning, bed sheets and towel-changes. Equally environmental, a small black-board could be found near the daily lunch-buffet tallying total food-waste from the day before. For a ship full to capacity (600 passengers onboard the MS Trollfjord), a mere 8 kilos of food-waste in a day is an impressive number.
Our ongoing joke was that the food was far too tasty to waste; we all ate heartily and way past the point of satisfaction (pack those stretchy pants!), but Hurtigruten’s chefs also did a marvellous job of re-purposing fresh leftovers in new dishes. The cherry-tomatoes and capsicum from the breakfast-buffet made their way into wholesome salads and vegetarian frittatas for lunch, while fruits and berries became jams, preserves, tarts and mousses for dessert. Boiled eggs became egg-salads, smoked salmon ended up in substantial pasta-dishes and fresh leftover shrimps were found in anything from special fried rice to the somewhat daggy, but tasty, retro dish ‘aspic’ (think quintessential 70s dinner-party entree).
As delectable as the breakfast- and lunch-buffets were, the 3-course set dinners offered much needed reprieve after the AM food-overload. Dinner was relatively small serves of carefully selected local, seasonal food (collected along the way as we travelled from port to port), beautifully presented with complimentary flavours and textures. On the dinner-table, a small cardboard centerpiece would explain the ingredients used in the dinner of the day, along with anecdotes and tidbits from the local family-run farms supplying fresh produce and delicacies. It proved a strong and appreciative connection with Hurtigruten’s Norwegian suppliers; showcasing the distinct flavours of coastal Norway.
If you love seafood, the Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage offers an abundance to choose from: Salmon, trout, cod, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, prawns, crab (make sure you try sumptuous Arctic King Crab), crayfish, mussels, black caviar and roe; you are in for a treat. Cooked in many different ways and dishes, but also offered plain with a side of lemon, fresh buttered bread and whole-egg mayonnaise, just the way Norwegians enjoy their shellfish. Vegetarian? There is always a good selection onboard of both hot and cold vegetable-dishes. Meat-lovers can delight in a range of red meats: Apart from the usual pork, lamb and beef, you can also try hearty venison like reindeer, moose and deer.
We can’t talk about the joys of coastal dining without a nod to the many desserts on offer. From the pour-your-own-batter waffle-making station at breakfast to the homemade ice-cream cakes at lunch; your sweet-tooth will be well taken care of during the sailing. I loved the mousses and puddings ranging in flavour from traditional chocolate and caramel to tart cranberries and raspberries; while the cloud-berry cream took me back to the childhood Christmas-dinners at Mum and Dad’s. A well-stocked cheese-board was perfect for anyone craving a savoury treat, with some of the cheeses sourced locally from small, organically run dairy-farms.
While there is no doubt you’ll be well-fed on a Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage (both SELECT- and BASIC-fare structure offers Full Board on Classic Voyages), there is always the question of how and where to “walk it off”. As we settled into our daily voyage-routine, we quickly embraced refreshing laps around the wind-swept walking-deck after breakfast, and any opportunity to explore the towns along the coast during the longer stops of the Northbound sailing: Alesund, Trondheim, Bodo and Tromso were all enjoyed by foot.
After a week onboard we arrived into Kirkenes, satisfied with both food and sights. Hurtigruten offers Norwegian cuisine in all its breadth and regional diversity. Considering a connoisseur coastal voyage of your own? Contact one of our friendly Destination Specialists to learn more.
Want to experience the magic of winter in Norway and Finland as part of a small group? Check out our website for remaining Arctic Light, Auroras and Hurtigruten group tour late 2019 and early 2020 departures or read about our Hurtigruten small group tour here.
Photo credits: Carsten Pedersen / Hurtigruten, Agurtxane Concellon / Agurtxane Concellon.