Searching for Skrei / 2

The Lofoten Islands, between January and April, are the place where to catch this extraordinary and unique fish

The Lofoten Islands are not just a magic place, ch
The Lofoten Islands are not just a magic place, characterised by intense and romantic landscapes. They are also Norway’s most important area for the catch of codfish, Norway being only second to China, in terms of volumes of catch

(see part one)

A journey to the Lofoten Islands, in Norway, in the Arctic Circle, is an almost mystic experience in all seasons, thanks to the primitive beauty of the mountains, the majestic territory and, in the right season, the meeting with his majesty the codfish.

This requires arriving in the Lofoten Islands in the winter or at least in early spring. Let’s say from January till April, which is the ideal time when to taste Skrei (the best fresh codfish variety) and experience the crucial stages of the catch, processing and selection of the most precious codfish.

Chef Marco Martini dealing with Skrei

Chef Marco Martini dealing with Skrei

This year, keeping us company in a fun and illuminating journey, were two exceptional partners, starred chefs Marco Martini of Stazione di Posta in Rome and Paolo Barrale from Marennà in the province of Avellino. Two guasconi (the latter is also the ambassador of codfish in Italy) who have livened up the visit to one of the plants where the complete processing takes place, from the arrival of the boats, full of catch, to the mythical cutting of the tongues done by the Norwegian children.

This also included a boat trip, which unfortunately was fruitless, with the idea of catching a nice codfish, but allowed us to observe, from close by, the indented and wild coastline of the Lofoten Islands. In between there was also time to discover the importance of codfish in the history of Norway, the crucial role of Norge, the state agency which, in fact, catches the national production (which, it must be recalled, is only second to China in terms of quantities) and the quality of the product, rich in Omega 3, even when, perhaps, it is harder to get excited in front of a tablespoon of cod liver oil!

Inside Roy Magne Berglund’s home in a Ballstad

Inside Roy Magne Berglund’s home in a Ballstad

The Nordic journey also offered a fun approach to local culture, traditions and the daily life of local people. Especially thanks to the splendid opportunity to dine inside the home of a good and fun chef such as Roy Magne Berglund (usually at the helm of his restaurant Du Verden in Svolvaer), who organised an intimate tasting in his house in Ballstad for the tour’s participants.

An evening which, somehow, what with a slightly French style in the kitchen and many Nordic products, had its peak in the lively exchange of opinions between the Italian chefs and the mighty Viking chef who got his wife involved (but most of all his brilliant and very young daughter Sofie) in a spontaneous animation that was capable of attracting the attention of all the participants.

2. the end

Spotti e mangiati

The establishments, tastes and cooking personalities in Europe, as seen by Gualtero Spotti


Gualtiero Spotti