Happy Norwegians

In fact, they are as happy as the happiest people in the world.
But what exactly makes the Norwegians so happy, what is their secret?
One thing that definitely sets the Norwegians apart is

Diet

Nothing brings people together like a good dinner and if a traditional Norwegian meal doesn’t kill you, it might just make you a little bit happier.

If you need a happiness boost, then perhaps it is time to try 5 traditional and rather distinct dishes that the people of the world’s happiest country enjoy:

Lutefisk

According to an old tale, half of the Norwegians who immigrated to America left Norway in hope of escaping the Lutefisk, the other half left to share the recipe.

Lutefisk

Lutefisk is a dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for several days in order to rehydrate the fish, which leaves the cod with a very distinct odor.
After soaking, the cod is rinsed and afterwards it is baked or boiled and then served with salt, pepper and butter. In many homes, the Lutefisk is the Norwegian equivalent of a Christmas Turkey – only with a slightly different aroma.

Syltelabb

Syltelabb is a traditional Norwegian dish, which has been considered a delicacy since the first half of the 1900s. Back then the dish was typically served on Sundays and at Christmas time. Today, the delicacy is mainly eaten around Christmas.

Syltelabb

The dish consists of boiled, salted and cured pig’s trotter and is traditionally served with beet-root, mustard and fresh bread. Syltelabb is very salty and is therefore often served with at Christmas ale or a strong spirit called aquavit to tone down the saltiness (or the taste).

Smalahove

Smalahove is another traditional Norwegian dish, which is also usually eaten around Christmas and in all simplicity, the dish only consists of a sheep’s head.

The first step in preparing the dish is to remove the brain of the sheep and then torch the fleece and skin. Afterwards, the head is salted and dried and then boiled for 3 hours. After boiling, the head is ready to be served with mashed potatoes and turnips.

Smalahove

In some regions, the brain is left inside the skull while being prepared. After cooking, the brain is then scooped out and eaten with a spoon…

Bon appetite!

The origins of this, to some, rather bizarre dish are still largely unknown. However, in earlier days the wealthier part of the Norwegian population enjoyed the fine parts of the sheep, while the not so rich were left with the not so fine pieces of meat from the sheep – including the head. In order to make it more edible, the head was prepared in various ways with whatever was available and somewhere along the way it turned into Smalahove as we know it today.

Today, Smalahove is no longer considered a poor man’s dish, but rather a delicacy.

Værballer

Ram’s testicles… Do you prefer them boiled or fried? Værballer is yet another dish, which might make you think twice about venturing into the local specialties in Norway.

Even though it is a traditional Norwegian dish that goes back many years, Værballer is today mainly enjoyed only by the most dedicated food enthusiasts or as an aperitif to wake up the appetite…

Elgtunge

In its traditional form, Norwegian cuisine is largely based on ingredients readily available in nature, which includes moose. Throughout history, moose has been considered a great delicacy and a highly appreciated food source in Norway. The Norwegians love to eat moose and all parts of it – almost. A very treasured part of the moose is the tongue, which the Norwegians particularly like fried or boiled and with a bit of blueberry or parsley sauce. Another tasty part is the moose heart, which is considered a true delicacy when it has been smoked.