Fiskekrogen: Finding a seafood lover’s dream
By Helene Toftner | Photos: Fiskekrogen
Imagine the most stunning nature, with high mountains dropping straight into the ocean, the dancing aurora borealis during winter, and a mesmerising midnight sun in summer. This is Lofoten, the home of seafood restaurant Fiskekrogen. With such beautiful surroundings and access to the sea right on its doorstep, there is little wonder the charming restaurant has become a much-loved destination for locals and tourists alike.
Fiskekrogen is the natural place to enjoy the treasures of the sea. Located on the marina in the small fishing village of Henningsvær in Lofoten, northern Norway, they have the best possible access to fresh catches of the day. “We pride ourselves in serving good traditional food from Northern Norway,” founder and owner Else Marie Larsen says.
Combining a dream of food and returning to the roots
Going back 26 years, Larsen established the restaurant with her then husband. Meeting at the Norwegian School of Hotel Management in Stavanger, they both shared a dream of returning to her home of Lofoten, and pursue a passion for food. “It was just very natural to start the restaurant,” Larsen says, and can look back at nearly three decades where she has established the place as one of the best and most authentic seafood restaurants in the region. And that says quite a great deal – considering that fisheries have been the lifeline of the Norwegian coast for centuries, and some of the world’s best seafood come from the area around Lofoten. This is the place to go for a taste of the sea. “My mother used to say that one cannot make great food without great ingredients. That is so true, and we incorporate that into all our dishes where we only use the best products, Larsen says.
Don’t miss the local delicacy: cod’s tongue
On the menu you will find arctic mussels, cod and halibut, but the absolute favourite remains the restaurant’s classic fish soup with vegetables and fresh fish. “Guests come back time after time for this,” Larsen says with a grin, and adds that the secret lies, unsurprisingly, in the excellent products. “We only use white fish, such as cod, pollock and haddock for the best flavour combination, and make the all-important broth from scratch.”
While there, do not miss out on the cod’s tongue. While sounding slightly weird to an unaccustomed ear, this is actually the best part of the fish, and a local delicacy as iconic as reindeer or elk on the mainland. Served fried, it has a round and slightly salty taste. “While being eaten out as a necessity in harsher times, this is today’s most celebrated part of the cod,” Larsen says, and continues to tell us the story how the tongue creates an industry of itself for the region’s younger generation. “I jokily say that it provides us with Norway’s only child labourers,” she says. “Every year, the industry employs youngsters to cut the tongue off the cod. It is a great way for youngsters to learn more about the seafood industry in Northern Norway. They also gain important work experience at an early age. I used to do it, so did my sons, and I am sure the future generations will do too.”
Lofoten Islands – where dreams come true
While great ingredients are crucial, so is the head chef. This is the person who creates the signature dishes that distinguish one place from another, and make people come back for more. At Fiskekrogen, this man is Johan Petrini. The Swede took over the kitchen three years ago, and Larsen cannot praise him enough. “He has added creativity and a new twist to the traditional dishes,” she says.
We have thus established Lofoten, and more specifically Fiskekrogen, as a foodie heaven. However it is a heaven also in the word’s more general tense – a place to come to see nature at its most striking, with endless hiking and cycling opportunities, fishing, rock climbing and one of the world’s most renowned cold water surfing spots. It is therefore timely that Larsen also offers accommodation in some of the old fisherman’s cabins, rorbu as it is called in Norwegian. With charming fisherman’s cabins and apartments on offer, visitors can take part in their very own maritime dream with fishing rods from the doorstep, and a kitchen to prepare the catch. With that in mind there is little wonder why Larsen was so determined to return to her childhood home.
For more information, please visit www.fiskekrogen.no
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