Local seafood flavours in idyllic Sakrisøy
TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD | PHOTOS © ALEX CONU,ANITA’S SEAFOOD
Seafood has always been a big part of Lofoten’s long and rich history. At Anita’s Seafood, the products and dishes are based on decades of tradition and attention to detail. On the idyllic island of Sakrisøy in Norway, where the northern lights dance and the scent of seafood sets the tone, you can find the ultimate place to discover local flavours while exploring the northern Norwegian fishing traditions. Here, the Gylseth family has been harvesting and preparing high-quality seafood as well as accommodating keen travellers for almost 130 years.
At the cosy delicacy shop situated in a picturesque wooden house near the seafront, Anita’s Seafood strives to give visitors an authentic experience for all the senses. Offering a wide range of locally sourced seafood with everything from shrimps, stockfish, clip-fish, smoked salmon, halibut and caviar to freshly baked bread, cheese and homemade aioli, the friendly staff offer a taste of the traditional and delicious local cuisine.
Traditions and craftsmanship
“When you visit us, you can buy products and small dishes at the counter to bring with you, or enjoy them with the spectacular views from our seafood bar. I recommend tasting our world-famous fish burger topped with shrimps and salmon – it is delicious and a favourite among the tourists,” says owner Anita Gylseth, who started Anita’s Seafood as a part of the family business 27 years ago.
Ever since Sven Kornelius Gylseth bought the old trading place Sakrisøy in 1889, the family has been working hard on maintaining the traditions and craftsmanship on the island through five generations. Today, there is a great variety of businesses within the fishing village, and the tiny island has become a popular attraction among travellers from near and far, who seek to experience the real Lofoten.
Ideal place for stockfish
Set against the striking backdrop of the majestic surrounding mountains, framing the tiny island in a spectacular fashion, Sakrisøy is a prime location for harvesting and preparing high-quality seafood, especially stockfish. This unsalted fish, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks, has become a world-class delicacy and an important part of Norway’s cultural heritage.
Every winter, Sakrisøy is covered in cod, which throughout the course of the spring becomes prime stockfish. “The climate in this part of Norway is ideal for creating stockfish, with temperatures of around 0°C and just the right balance of wind, sun and rain,” Gylseth explains. “It is not too cold and not too hot, so the perfect framework for high-quality seafood.” A subtle change in weather conditions can affect the product, which is why only stockfish from Norway tastes like it should – mild and with a firm texture that holds even after soaking it. In fact, the stockfish from Lofoten has been awarded protected geographical classification in the EU.
“Since the production of stockfish takes place outdoors and in plain sight, tourists come very close to what is happening, which is exciting and very unique. It is, after all, one of the world’s oldest preservation methods and is still to this day the same as it was in the old days,” says Gylseth.
In addition, Sakrisøy offers unique accommodation options. “Our fisherman’s cabins, the traditional ‘rorbuer’, are situated on the seaside overlooking the Reinefjord. The Olstind cabin has become a popular photo object, mimicking the shape of the surrounding mountains – a truly great place for those who want a comfortable stay with spectacular views,” Gylseth smiles.
If you are planning a trip to the Lofoten islands anytime soon, make sure to stop by Anita’s Seafood. It is the perfect place to enjoy typical Norwegian dishes based on decades of perfection and tradition, while you look at the untouched, raw nature through the window, sensing the rich culture and long history still present within the walls and on the island itself.