Fårikål is the national dish of Norway. It is a traditional country stew made with mutton, cabbage, peppercorns and water. That’s it. As there are many different dialects in Norway, there are also many different ideas about Fårikål. Traditionalists say that you shouldn’t divert from the original simplicity of the dish but modernists prefer to add in extra ingredients for variety and flavour. We’ve certainly experimented with a few of our own ideas, such as Fårikål with Rosemary and Garlic, Cinnamon, Curry and even Ginger and Chili. We always start off the season with the original and nothing has ever been better than making fårikål with your own home grown meat.
I have seen a growing trend over the last few years that Norwegians are changing from using the traditional mutton (usually frozen) to using fresh lamb. In the original dish the fat is very important for flavour and helps create the body of the stew. Using lamb doesn’t give that thickness or rustic flavour, but it seems that the Norwegian palate is becoming finer and more health conscious. That the fatty stew providing good for energy in the farming days is not needed for todays lifestyles.
One of the things Norwegians are certainly masters of is eating in season. It is smart, economical and environmentally conscious, a long tradition that has paid off. Norwegians have always valued home-grown. I have come quite accustomed to eating certain foods at certain times of the year. I think it is the natural way to eat. Nature provides all the foods you need at the right times of the year to survive. Autumn is my favourite. It is the time of plenty, when nature gives to the most to fatten ourselves up for the long winter ahead. Berries, mushrooms, vegetables, tea plants and meats go into the stores to wait for the many feast days of Christmas. It’s lovely to live the old ways in the modern world.