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Scrumptious Scandinavia: Exploring Nordic Cuisine by Rail

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jun 29, 2016

Sure, we know the Nordic diet is healthy -- it's been all the rage for a couple of years now, based on studies showing that locally and seasonally sourced fish, fruits, and vegetables help keep those beautiful, blue-eyed blond Scandinavians slim, trim and heart-healthy. But not only is Nordic cuisine good for you, it's just plain good.

From Copenhagen to Oslo, Gothenburg to Bergen, Scandi restaurants are serving meals that warrant skipping over the pond. Some are cutting edge, part of the lauded "New Nordic" cuisine, others offer simple, hearty fare made with local ingredients like reindeer meat and cloudberries. Seafood, of course, is the culinary king in Scandinavia. Perhaps the finest in the world thanks to those frigid, salty seas, it's possible eat it every day, for every meal, and still want more.

Tasting Train
If you're pondering a tasting tour of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Eurail is by far your best travel bet for convenience and comfort. Grab a Eurail Scandinavia Pass (good for Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland) and ride the rails, often without a reservation necessary, to your next gastronomic adventure.

Border crossings are so effortless you don't even have to leave your seat. And you can now book your tickets 11 months in advance with Eurail, making it easier to snag airfare deals and take advantage of money-saving rail promotions, usually available in the spring and fall.

Michelin Munchies in Copenhagen

Home to noma, four times named the world's best restaurant, Copenhagen is the proud possessor of 20 Michelin stars in 16 eateries. Two of those belong to noma. With superstar chef René Redzepi at the helm, beyond-fresh produce from places like Iceland and the Faeroe Islands, and playful dishes including moss cooked in chocolate with egg liqueur, noma is booked months in advance.

If you can't snag a reservation, try your luck at the three-Michelin-starred Geranium, which specializes in haute cuisine presented with serious showmanship in a sleek, stunning room eight stories above Fælledparken (Common Gardens).

Or, head to Marchal, sporting one Michelin star and located within the legendary d'Angleterre Hotel. Traditional favorites like Chateaubriand are offered alongside inventive treats such as pine oil ice with crispy pear and stick celery juice.

Gothenburg: More Than Swedish Meatballs

This Swedish city of just half a million has a shocking seven restaurants awarded one Michelin star each, but true gourmands might want to focus on the three-hour Food Walk with knowledgeable and personable guide Jesper Adolfsson. Stops include Saluhallen (the Market Hall), which houses fifth-generation bakery Brogyllen and Kanold, where chocolates worth crossing an ocean for have been handmade for a century.

Just be sure to save room for the fish market hall Feskekorka. Grab a raksmorgas -- a traditional shrimp salad sandwich that just may be the best thing you've eaten between sliced bread. Or head upstairs to Gabriel, a tiny eatery offering legendary, hand-harvested oysters from Grebbestad.

Norwegian Nibbles

This year for the first time ever a Norwegian restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars. That honor goes to Oslo's Maaemo, which serves a 20-course tasting menu boasting delectable Norwegian langoustines with pine and other local delicacies. But for the city's loveliest view, Ekeberg, overlooking the fjord and skyline, can't be beat. The food, focused on cod, salmon and other simply prepared seafood, is as pretty as the vista.

Should you make it to Bergen, Norway's second-largest city, traditional seafood restaurant Enhjorningen (The Unicorn) shouldn't be missed. Located along Bergen's historic wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's housed in a charmingly lopsided building dating back to the early Middle Ages.

Have a taste for home design? Click here for our guide to the very best design shops throughout Scandinavia.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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