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Jordbærsyltetøy: Natural Norwegian Candy

January 11, 2011

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It’s a bit primordial, but I love food. Yes, food and I have had a lifelong affair, and I plan on keeping it that way. Needless to say, I was pretty scared about what I would be eating in Norway. I do not count myself as a fish or meat lover, and those are two food staples here in Norway. I’ve mostly been eating pasta, fruit, potatoes, and some other starchy/cheap carbohydrates. With the cost of food here in Norway, I can’t say I’ve been able to afford a good meal. However, as I begin to settle and shop around for deals at the local supermarkets, I’ve been able to acquire some special treats that I would like to share with you today.

Although I don’t consider myself a chocoholic, the decadent candy has always been available to me at a fair price in the US. Norway is known for their delicious chocolate, but it is heavily taxed here. There’s something about expensive commodities that have always intrigued me. This is no exception. I’ve been scouring the supermarkets looking for a chocolate bar under $5. With no luck, I resorted to buying the discounted Christmas candy (which is STILL quite expensive). I didn’t mind, however, because it made me feel like I could partake in some Norwegian jul traditions even though I wasn’t here to celebrate the holiday.

I bring you: Jule marsipan! I have never really tried marsipan before, but it seemed to be everywhere in the bins of old Christmas candy. It is, in fact, quite delicious. I found out recently that most younger Norwegians disagree with me. Alas, I can never be cool in Norway. I like the “old person” candy that “tastes like soap.” Regardless, no one can deny that Jule Marsipan comes in adorable shapes like evergreen trees and pigs! This brings me to my next (affordable) Norwegian delicacy. This is something I just purchased today.

Jordbærsyltetøy (strawberry jam). Jam and butter are very popular in Norway for breakfast. I chose the cheapest variety of strawberry jam (13,90 NOK [$2.33]) from the most affordable supermarket. I did not expect much from this spread because in Norway, you get what you pay for, but I thought it would at least sweeten up my dry, multigrain bread. When I popped open the jar, I was first greeted by this wonderful texture of halved strawberries in a creamy, pectin jelly. I threw some half-baked rolls into the oven (which I had tried to eat raw earlier), and I spread the cool jam over the now hot, crispy bread. Heaven. I wish I could explain the difference between Norwegian jam and American jam, but it is difficult to articulate. I’ve heard they have a different jam making process here where they add the fruit in late so it retains more of its nutritional value and natural sweetness. This is so evident in the taste. It is gloriously sweet, but not in a refined, corn syrupy Smucker’s way. It is uniquely sweet in a delicate, Norsk jordbær way. Norway is known for its strawberries. The cold temperatures and ample sunshine in the summer create a short, but bountiful strawberry season. If the jam is this good, I can’t wait to taste the fresh variety if I am fortunate enough to be here during the harvest.

Lastly, I will leave with you a view of my solitary hobby here in Norway. The Bell Jar and Twinnigs Four Red Fruits black tea. This is a delicious tea that I have not seen in the states. Lipton Forest Fruit is also another favorite. I definitely want to bring some home with me in the spring. As for The Bell Jar, I brought three books with me that I intended on reading while I traveled, but I was unable to relax long enough to complete any of them due to the hassle of the planes, trains, and automobiles. I will have less time for leisurely reading now that my classes have started up. I had my first class today: Sustainability Management. It is taught by a Finnish professor who comes from a background in business, but the class ultimately teaches about global warming, its consequences, and ways to slow its effects. I have a rich environmental science and geophysics background, so the class should be pretty easy. Thus far, I am familiar with all the material delineated on the syllabus. However, the grading is much more difficult in Norway. My grade it broken down as follows: 30% essay, 70% four hour final exam. More on academics at a later date.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    January 11, 2011 7:26 pm

    I can almost taste the jam and my favorite is strawberry so maybe you could bring home a very small jar for me! I love the pictures. And… congratulations, you have been in Norway for one week!!

  2. Kendal DeGreef permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:29 pm

    hi there. not sure we have ever met before. our grandpas are brothers (my grandpa is Gilbert). my mom gave me the link to your blog and I just wanted to say i know how you’re feeling. literally. i lived in norway for 2 summers (summer 08 and summer 09). when i was growing up i had a foreign exchange student from there, who, as a result of re-occuring visits throughout my life, has become a “big sister” she was visiting in march of 08 and offered me to live with the summer and work for her company (VIA Alta Tours). although my parents thought i would NEVER go, i was on a plane and heading to Alta, Norway three months later, at the end of June. 🙂 it was my time every leaving the country and my first time flying alone. i was scared and nervous as well. i had such a great time that i went back the following summer! anyways, enough about me. i just wanted to let you know that i am here for any questions or advice that you may need. i remember how foreign i felt when everything surrounding me was in norwegian. one thing i think you will quickly realize is that norwegian is much like english. much closer to english than french i’m sure. so you’ll catch on fast. there is one major difference between where you are staying and where i stayed. we speak different dialects. some would think this is no big deal, just as it is from the north and south in america. however, they are quite different. they use completely different words altogether. i learned “bokmal” and you will learn “nynorsk”. at least i think? i am really excited (and definitely jealous) of you! have fun and i will be reading and posting on your blog regularly. o and ps. you need to try rystbrod and daim (2 amazing brands of chocolate). soooo good!

    hadet,
    kendal

    • January 12, 2011 8:22 am

      Yeah, I think that we did meet once, several years ago my family stayed at your parents’ house for a weekend. My mom told me about your exchange student. How neat that you got to spend time in Alta! I hear that it is beautiful there. Hopefully I can visit in the spring.

      Yes, you are right about the Nynorsk spoken here in Bø. I am hoping, however, that we learn both. One of my Norwegian roommates told me that they learn both in school, and Bokmal seems more relevant…so I hope I get to learn that.

      I will keep those chocolate brands in mind. I also hear that Freia is delicious as well.

      Thanks for reading!

      Lisa

  3. Jenny Miller permalink
    January 13, 2011 4:30 am

    Hi Lisa! I love reading your blog! I saw your mom, dad and Jaimie at West’s academic awards ceremony (remember those days?). Your mom gave me your blog site. We’re having all these “lasts” at West with Eric this year…its going to be so strange not doing all of these things next year. He’s excited about Madison next year. I’m a bit nervous but he’s excited :|. Enjoy every moment over there Lisa and I look forward to reading all about it! Jenny

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