Fiskesuppe & Sjokolade-Mousse-Torte in Ålesund, Norway
While the title of this post suggests that all of the photos from the second half of my Norway trip last month (this time to the costal town of Ålesund and its surrounding islands) was sample the local food, but I did get the chance to check out some rather pretty landscapes, too. Ålesund is pretty famous because it burnt down in January 1904, and was completely rebuilt in the art deco style. It is a really unique city, and a great base from which to explore all of the different little islands around it which are connected by underwater tunnels.
On arrival, we headed out of the town and over to the island of Godøya to have morning coffee and cakes (I basically ate a whole meal backwards my final day in Norway!) at the bottom of a pretty red and white painted lighthouse in the little village of Alnes. Rather windy and exposed, but worth the visit for its beautiful views.
We kicked off proceedings with some nice far Norwegian Pancakes, topped off with some crunchy sugar. I’d call these a lovely, spongy mix between a Scotch Pancake and an all American pancake, and a surprisingly perfect accompaniment for tea. If anyone knows the recipe for these, let me know! The internet is failing me.
However, what was brought out next totally stole the show, and wins the award, hands down for the very best thing I ate all holiday. Ladies and gentlemen? I give you Sjokolade-Mousse-Terte, quite literally in a general translation, Chocolate Mousse Tart. The impossibly light sponge is soaked in sugar syrup overnight. The creamy frosting inside, and the melt in the mouth chocolate coating is in fact mousse, silky smooth on top (I wish I’d got a photo of the cake before it was cut), but fully aerated. It really was the right balance between rich and sweet. We were blown away, but the woman who made it could not understand what all the fuss was about!
Next we headed back into the tunnels, and out again into the sunshine on the Island of Giske. We took a little turn around the churchyard, spotting how far back the headstones went (unfortunately the church was locked), before wandering down the the harbour and the shore. Even now I still can’t get over how blue the water was.
Back in Ålesund, before hunting down a local seafood lunch we headed up to the very top of the town to look down on the incredible view. On Instagram, my friend Nicole commended that it looks like the cover of a travel magazine. I wholeheartedly agree. I think the people are lucky to live in such a lovely town.
After looking at a few of the menus, we went for the least tourist option in the middle of the town; the place where the menus were entirely in Norwegian with no translation (though luckily one of the staff members was able to help us out), and with locals sitting outside, taking in the sunshine and enjoying coffees, glasses of wine (something you notice in a country where alcohol is so expensive because it is discouraged) and late luncheon snacks.
Not really a fish person, my Father went for a mountain of local prawns. My Mother and I, however, went straight for the Fiskesuppe (Norwegian Fish Soup). I have to say that again, it was one of the best things I ate on the whole trip. The regional variation, what we had was made with a base of fish stock, enriched with flour and double cream. Inside the actual soup, the vegetable contingent was made up of long strips of carrot and celeriac, tender but still with a good bit of bite. The actual fish part of the soup, though, was the best bit, right up there with the overall flavour. It was swimming with good big chunks of local cod and Norwegian salmon. A filling dish to really savour. I’ve found a similar recipe to what I had on the food blog Nordic Nibbler, a great site I discovered in my post holiday research.
So, that brings my whirlwind two day trip around Norway to a close. If you missed my first part about my day of fjords, jewel blue lakes and glaciers in Olden, you can find it here. Once I’ve had a chance to work through the photos, maybe the end of this week, if not sometime next we’re in Iceland next, a country so starkly different from Norway, but I was equally blown away by.