After spending time aboard Hurtigruten’s newly refurbished MS Kong Harald, we waxed lyrical about its Nordic cuisine to all who would listen. Norway’s coast is one of the most incredible natural ‘pantries’ in the world and Hurtigruten is its most loyal customer.
The expedition cruise line launched the concept of Norway’s Coastal Kitchen in 2015, using food as a means of delving deeper into each destination. A journey through the fjords can’t help but raise questions in the minds of those who are lucky enough to experience it; who lives in the humble wooden abodes at the water’s edge and how do they sustain a life spent so remotely? Where did the cod fish ice cream that you sampled this morning and talked about all afternoon originate from? By using food to tell the story of the cultures and traditions of the landscapes through which you sail, the cruise line turns a scenic voyage into an all-encompassing experience.
Hurtigruten is sometimes referred to as the Norwegian Coastal Express and its 11 ships visit 34 ports of call on a ‘Classic Round-Voyage’ itinerary, sailing almost the entire length of the country from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again in 12 days. The concept behind Norway’s Coastal Kitchen focuses on appreciating the produce brought aboard by local suppliers in each port along the route. So, the Arctic char that you enjoy in the Kysten fine dining restaurant on board MS Kong Harald is caught late at night in Vesterålen and delivered to your plate the following afternoon. The scallops that are handpicked by divers off the coast of Helgeland are still alive when they arrive on the ship and the cloudberries that are served out on deck in the autumn are handpicked and delivered by a little old lady in Finnmark. The cured leg of lamb served at lunchtime in the Torget dining room is brought aboard in Hellesylt, a pretty town near the stunning Geirangerfjord, whilst the berries in the evening’s sea-buckthorn desert are collected when the ship docks in Trondheim. Red King Crab were first introduced into the Murmansk Fjord in the 1960s and have since become a vital part of local fishing culture in the Barents Sea. On Hurtigruten’s ships, it is eaten sometimes just minutes after being caught, delivered direct to the ship by the boats of Finnmark’s fishermen. On occasion you can even join the local fishermen on a rafting safari, heading out into the fjords to catch the crab, which can weigh up to 8kg, before returning it to the ship and having the chef cook it to your liking.
Photo credit: Hurtigruten. Trym Ivar Bergsmo
For those who are keen to sample a taste of the Norwegian coastline and everything it has to offer, Hurtigruten is offering a new ‘Flavour of Norway’ package. This five-day coastal voyage will show you some of the country’s most scenic fjords, mountains and islands, whilst at the same time providing an opportunity to tuck into some of Scandinavia’s freshest foods and even sail aboard the newly refurbished MS Kong Harald. Described by Hurtigruten as a ‘short polar adventure’ and with daily departures available from 7 April to 4 October 2016, the itinerary is perfect for those who are desperate to experience the Norwegian Fjords but don’t have the free time to embark on a Classic Coastal Expedition.
Photo credit: Hurtigruten. Ørjan Bertelsen
Photo credit: Hurtigruten. Simon Skreddernes
Photo credit: Hurtigruten. Ørjan Bertelsen
You’ll whet your appetite for Nordic cuisine with a three course meal at the Scandic Ishavshotel in Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic Circle, before boarding MS Kong Harald and heading south towards Bergen. Along the way, you’ll encounter scenery including the spectacular Seven Sisters waterfall, Norway’s renowned curved Atlantic Road and the dramatic landscape of the Lofoten Islands, where you will be invited to join local fishermen on their hunt for the catch of the day. Back on board, you will enjoy the finest in local cuisine, with delicacies, produce and recipes inspired by your route along the coast. After five delicious days, you will arrive into the colourful harbour of Bergen; the historic wharfs of UNESCO-listed Bryggen on your left, a thriving cityscape on your right and the imposing hillsides of Mount Fløyen directly ahead.
Fares start at £745 per person with a choice of dates, based on two sharing an inside cabin on a full board basis. Flights, transfers and a 3-course meal at the Scandic Ishavshotel in Tromsø are also included.