Gastronomy of the Bergen Region

Bergen City of Gastronomy – is based on the city’s more than a thousand year history as a meeting place and trade centre for cultural and culinary traditions. Surrounded by the ocean, deep fjords and high mountains, nature has created an environment for the region’s food production in pure and magnificent surroundings.

The Bryggen wharf in Bergen is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.  For several hundred years the export of stock fish from Bergen was the driving force for a vibrant trading centre with close overseas connections – in periods it was even the most populous town in the Nordic region and an important part of the Hanseatic leagues network.


Bryggen has for many years hosted the Food Festival, due to growing popularity and expansion the Food Festival is now located in a larger area few minutes from Bryggen.

Bergen is a lively cultural city with a strong focus on its cuisine. The Bergen Food Festival is organised every year in September and is Norway’s biggest festival for locally produced food. Producers of sustainable local food from the region gather together for a major culinary folk festival.

The annual beer festival is organised at the same time as the food festival. The farmers’ market every other Saturday is a popular tradition where people from Bergen can buy food directly from small-scale local producers.

Bergen and the Bergen region have a number of restaurants that offer exciting food based on local traditions and raw materials.


Photo:Johnny Mazzilli, “Taste the Coast”

Fresh seafood is abundantly available in the region and is the core of Bergen cuisine, from traditional Bergen fish soup, smoked salmon or “persetorsk” (a traditional Bergen steamed cod dish) to the raw pleasures of salmon, halibut or scallops.

The Bergen region has a professional culinary environment with an increasing number of

world class chefs. Creative culinary artists are a key driving force who look after, develop and disseminate local culinary traditions and gastronomy. There is a strong focus on new uses of traditional local raw materials and on exploiting the rich resources of Western Norway.


The designation UNESCO City of Gastronomy also extends to the region around Bergen. Bergen is the gateway to the West Norwegian fjords, which are also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Throughout the ages, people have subsisted on a combination of fishing and farming in this beautiful and dramatic cultural landscape.


Since the 1300s, the fruit farmers of Hardanger have perfected the art of cultivating apples, plums, pears and cherries. The climate and farming traditions ensure fruit and berries of the highest quality. A newly picked apple from Hardanger is no less than a revelation in taste. You have to try the fresh apple juice and sparkling cider, not to mention the seductively sweet Hardanger cherries – either fresh or canned.



Animals that have grazed on grass in the green nature of West Norway simply taste betttter. Meat has been smoked, cured and dried using tradititional methods since Viking titimes. Experience the taste of «smalahove» (a tradititional dish made from a sheep’s head), «fenalår» (mutttton) and «pinnekjøtttt» (salt-cured lamb ribs). Enjoy

the meat of wild sheep, the original breed of Norwegian sheep, either as «fårikål» (mutttton stew) or as the tradititional Bergen dish – «puspas» (lamb stew).



Bergen baking traditions bear witness to close connections with Europe. The city established Norway’s first baking guild in 1596 and bakers travelled to Germany and Denmark in order to learn the craft. Treat yourself to a newly baked «skillingsbolle» (cinnamon sugar bun) when you are in Bergen – or a piece of «Hvit Dame» (White Lady) cake, whose name can be traced back to the time of the German Kaiser Wilhelm. More specialities from the districts around Bergen include «lefse» (griddle cake) and «flatbrød»– traditional Norwegian unleavened bread.


Goats and cows that graze in the pure natural surroundings give quality milk for local cheese production. It is a must to try brown goat’s cheese – there is almost no taste that is more «Norwegian». You need to be a bit bolder to try «gammalost» (old cheese), made according to a thousand-year-old recipe. Several producers offer cheese types such as chèvre and camembert – with a local twist.

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