Following on from the foodie theme of my last post (although at the other end of the spectrum), yesterday evening’s culinary escapade was decidedly Scandi. Recently I’ve been reading about the New Nordic Food Manifesto, which is an inspiring and worthy pursuit, to my mind. I’m a bit late to the party actually (as it was outlined back in late 2004), but I’d argue that now is as good a time as any to find out about it, as it seems to be less a proposal now and more a firmly established movement.
Essentially, chefs, food writers and other food professionals gathered to develop and publish a 10-point manifesto outlining the guiding principles of what new Nordic cuisine should be about. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, as there are numerous articles and sources online that cover it in great depth, but in essence it’s all about local produce, simplicity, seasonality, health & wellbeing, animal welfare and to base cooking on raw materials whose characteristics are especially excellent in the Nordic climate and landscape. For the most part, these are principles which we hear a lot about in the UK at the moment, too, and rightly so. The pioneering Scandinavians were ahead of their time on this one though, perhaps.
Even though my own culinary antics last night were not quite a whole-hearted embrace of the Nordic manifesto, and I can’t vouch for my righteousness when it comes to food-miles or anything like that unfortunately, I was nevertheless inspired by it, at least. So for your delectation, and the titillation of your Epicurean sensibilities, I served up a veritable feast of pickled herring, dill (lots of), cucumber, chives, pine nuts, cranberries (the closest substitute I could find, due to a dearth of lingonberries) and a drizzle of basil oil. Nydelig!
I’d love to be eating like this far more often. In fact I have this picture in my mind, of sitting in a restaurant in Bergen harbour, with vast floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the North Sea, tucking into some genuine Scandinavian fare – fresh, healthy, expertly prepared… a bit of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt playing quietly from somewhere over by the toilets… you get the picture. Until then I’ll be content to settle for my M&S rollmops and dream of the fjords.