Rakfisk: Norway’s notorious fermented trout is a tangy Christmas tradition.2 min read
The Rakfisk dates back to the ancient Scandinavian culturem when peoples needed to store food over a considerable period of time. The first record of rakfisk probably dates back to mid 1300’s. The dish is actually salted, fermented stored char or trout, and is now a popular dish around Christmas time. 400 tons of rakfisk is produced in Norway every year, mainly from farmed rainbow trout.
The traditional Norwegian treat has such a strong smell that most diners chase it with a bracing shot of aquavit. Comparisons include also old cheese and dirty socks.
Its name, rakfisk, comes from the preservation process known as raking, in which fishermen fill the gutted fish with salt and sugar, then store it in a cool space under pressure for – depending on how smelly you like your fish – up to a year. Is this aging process that leads its signature aromas.
But once diners get past the smell, its taste is actually mild, slightly salty, and a bit tangy. Always eaten raw, it’s typically sliced and served with a traditional flatbread know as lefse, red onions, sour cream, potatoes, and occasionally a mustard-dill sauce.
Ratfisk is typically available from autumn through Christmas. It has its own festival every year on a staurday in beginning of November in Valdres, where it originates from. What started with idea to let the customers taste the fish before purchase, has grown from a small event in early 1990 to one of Norway biggest food festivals with more than 25.000 visitors. More than 3 tons of Rakfisk are consumed and there is no mention of the amount of liters of Aquavit consumed during the festival but, apparently, the local Police has complained about lack of personell…
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