Hei folkens! Happy Sunday! Let’s talk hot finds, general substitutions and equivalents for stuff you can’t seem to find in local stores. I got an email from another Oslo reader recently asking about various substitutions. I thought I’d share my response and ask you for yours. Be sure to leave us a message in the comments if I missed anything or if there is anything out there you are looking for and can’t seem to find in the stores in Oslo, Stavanger or other parts of Norway.
Have you found applesauce in Norway?
I have yet to find applesauce here and so I tend to make my own in my crockpot and freeze it in one cup portions. Makes it a lot easier later when I need to defrost for a recipe. I have heard of something called “eplemoss” but never seen it in the stores in Norway.
What about rolled oats?
American style rolled oats here are called store havre gryn and I usually buy a brand called AXA or the organic brand Heilos.
Sliced mozzarella and provolone still defies me-I can’t find that anywhere either!
Like I said before I don’t eat that much cheese but I have seen sliced mozzarella in the stores under the Arla brand. I’ve never seen provolone in Norwegian stores. Have you tried an Italian butcher or cheese shop yet? I am not sure but there must be one in Oslo or a butcher that also sells cheese. We have an excellent butcher here in Stavanger called Idsøe (I totally LOVE this place) and they tend to sell a lot of high quality cheeses and meats (!!!). If they don’t have it at the place you find in Oslo, ask them if they can get it for you.
Never seen this exact type of salami here, however, Idsøe sells several types of salami, some of which I have tried but couldn’t tell you the names of (sometimes I go in a buy a small selection of cold cuts and cheeses for a cheese platter and let my eyes do the buying). Look for the Genoa salami you seek in a higher end café as well as the higher quality butcher in your area. Again ask for stuff in the café and/or email the owners via the café web site. They tend to only buy what sells and sometimes they do special orders.
Whole chickens? If you can find them at all they’re so pricey you’d think you were trying to buy a pound of hummingbird breasts…what’s up with that?
Okay-don’t even get me started on chickens! I lived in England where chickens- good ones-even organic-were available in all full service grocery stores. In Norway, not so much. You can usually find the cooked, seasoned ones in most stores, but they temd to be way too salty. The ‘naked’ uncooked ones usual in the US and UK can be harder to come by.
I think the main reason they are so expensive here is because the conditions which animals for slaughter are raised in here in Norway is very high, which as we know costs money. So the price you pay for chickens here reflects the actual price it takes to raise them, which although steep in comparison to the U.K. and U.S., is sort of okay (I firmly believe in paying people for an honest days work regardless of the job). Also, chicken is a newer thing in Norway – I think it’s grown out of the British and American influences on the food here (as well as the growing population of people who do not eat pork for religious or other reasons). I, of course have no data to back that up with, so your guess is as good as mine really. I know here in this region cod, lam, mutton and pork tend to be considered traditional whereas chicken and beef “new”. Again, I’m just going on price and my scan of the recipe books.
Shoepeg corn is another complete miss for me so far.
I have no clue what shoepeg corn is-what is it?
I can find canned yellow corn all day, but not white corn.
Never seen white corn here but then again, I haven’t been looking for it.
Where can I find chocolate chips for baking?
There is one brand chocolate chips in Norway that are widely available but they are so expensive (and the bag is a tiny 70 grams). I never, ever buy them. I usually take a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate and break it up into small pieces or take a knife (obviously not the super nice on I have) and chop it up. I bet one could also put it into a food processor, but I have never done that.
I’m also looking for country ham or good ole Martha White cornbread meal.
Country ham as we Americans know it, is available once a year which is around Xmas. I know people here who buy it in large quantities (several, half to one kg. portions and freeze it for later in the year (I do this with ribbe as pork belly is IMPOSSIBLE to find other times in the year which is sad because the stuff is great on the BBQ in summer).
I’m a huge cornbread snob and only make cornbread from scratch (except for the off chance someone comes back from the U.S. with Jiffy mix – my childhood guilty pleasure- as we were not allowed to eat it ever-my parents were obviously cornbread snobs too-ha! Or I go to someone’s house.)
Are any other brands of cornbread mix sold in Norway?
I’ve never seen cornbread mix here in the stores but cornmeal for making cornbread from scratch can be tricky too. Do what I do-hit up the so called ‘ethnic’ markets especially ones owned by those with Turkish, Indian, Iranian and Iraqi heritage. Their food traditions all include proper corn meal like we are accustomed to in the U.S. I bought a huge bag of ‘proper’ cornmeal – not polenta (grrrr….don’t get me started!!!) from one of those stores a few months ago (I think it was Far East brand or something like that, in a clear bag with a orange and gold label and called corn meal). Venture in to one of those types of stores until you find something that feels grainy. Keep going and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t see what you are looking for.
What about babyback ribs outside of summer or pork loin?
Ribs are available in summer only and they usually come in a vacuum pack with sauce or a marinade already on them (not my fave as most of the sauces and marinates include sugar so the meat burns when you grill it). Like I said, hit up the butcher in Oslo for these come summer and freeze a few extras for eating during the “off season”. Pork loin is available here but it is expensive. I only buy when it is on sale.
Are there any foods you miss from the U.S.?
I hope one day someone comes to me and asks me what I’d like to add to the Norwegian table or what gets sold in the stores. I would add mesquite wood chips, smoked paprika powder, collard greens, some dried chilies from Mexico, masa harina from Mexico, jalapenos and a few other items.
What about you? Anything you are on the lookout for? Something you’ve been looking for and just found? Be sure to leave a message in the comments if I missed anything or if there is anything out there you are looking for and can’t seem to find in the stores in Oslo, Stavanger or other parts of Norway.
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