Gladmaten is an annual food festival in Stavanger; the locals all get really excited for this one and now I see why! It ran from Wednesday to Sunday and I headed there 3 times over its duration. It was a great place to take some photos, so I had my Pentax out and hope to get the film developed this week. For now, I’ve posted a couple of iPhone snaps and an overview of all the lovely things we ate!
The harbour in Stavanger was transformed into a Mediterranean-feeling walkway last week, lined with lots of small – and some larger – stalls and tents selling every kind of food you can imagine. With everything from traditional Norwegian bakeries and fish restaurants to Indian, Italian and French cuisine, there was almost too much to choose from! The smells were incredible, the food visually appealing too, and the atmosphere happy and relaxed (despite the ongoing terror threat from Syria).
On Thursday I headed along with a couple of ladies from work. We sat in the sun and drank pink wine and champagne before enjoying some of the more traditional Norwegian food. I had a lamb fricasse which was absolutely beautiful, and one of my colleagues had a seafood platter. Mike joined us for a drink later and was nearly dribbling over Anita’s lobster, so we decided to head back again the next day.
After work on Friday Mike and I had a lovely meal (and a couple of cold beers) at Fisketorget, Stavanger’s fish market, which has a lovely restaurant attached to it. Mike ordered the shellfish platter, which came with crab, king crab, lobster, oysters and prawns. It was an order-by-weight dish, so he missed out the oysters and just took 200g of everything else… Which turned out to be quite a lot! He thoroughly enjoyed it, though. I had the “catch of the day”; a salmon dish that was quite frankly the best salmon I’ve ever eaten. Two beautiful pink fillets sitting atop boiled waxy potatoes, parsnips and a lovely seafood sauce, with salmon roe sprinkled over the top. I’m not usually a fan of caviar – my marine biology degree being the main reason I don’t like eating fish very much – but this was absolutely fantastic. I even tried a bit of Mike’s shellfish (crab: yuck, lobster: OK, prawns: surprisingly tasty but not worth the hassle of peeling).
Despite two lovely meals on Thursday and Friday, I was desperate to go round all the smaller stalls and have some of the little tasters they were selling for a few NOK. Saturday turned out to be yet another gorgeous day of sun – the 7th in a row with a temperature of 30-31 degrees C. We had a bit of a wander round the town, then back along the stalls. We tried a slice of pizza from Al Forno which was lovely (one of their restaurants is right by our apartment so we’ll have to try it one day), then a couple of dishes from one of the Indian stalls. I had green garlic chicken and Mike had a tandoori spiced chicken, then we shared a vegetarian samosa. All delicious, but Mike’s was definitely the winner – and the garlicky raita and salad that was served on the side deserved a spoon to ensure every last drop was demolished.
Stavanger is such a lovely city to host festivals in; the harbour is a brilliant central point and affords lovely views out to the mountains and North Sea, too. The city itself is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen and incredibly arty and cultural. There are sculptures everywhere you look, and local graffiti artists have been allowed to spray huge murals on lots of the blank walls in the centre. One day I’ll do a post about them and take photos of my favourites, but for now, this one of a colourful lady caught my eye (and the eye of the little girl who is trying to copy her stance underneath).
The locals here really dive into events like Gladmaten and I lost count of how many Norwegians at my work encouraged me to attend. I’m so glad that the “concrete” but “unspecified” threat from Syrian extremists on Norway that is forecast over the next couple of days did nothing to dampen the spirits of everyone who enjoyed the festival. That would be letting the terrorists win, and we can’t have that.