Next on our trip was Norway’s highest train station Finse, which sits at 1,222m above sea level. The Oslo-Bergen railway cuts across Norway’s impressive and sparesly populated landscape and Finse is a beautiful tiny hamlet along its route. Here we were relying on the full-board of the tourist lodge and the food was basic but interesting to compare with the British version.
Breakfast comprised a buffet of foods from which you could also make lunch in advance of a day’s walking. It included cold meats, cheeses, porridge, jams and spreads, bread, buns and waffles. The Norzola cheese was okay and I learnt that Jarlesberg I a Norwegian cheese. Another ‘interesting’ cheese was the Undredal, a crumbly brown goat’s cheese which had a bitter caramel taste. Not very nice. The explanation comes from the cheese’s production. In the 18th century, there was an economic downturn (as we call it these days) and a goat farmer decided to make use of the usually-discarded whey. It is boiled down and concentrated for 6 hours to make the cheese. Not one I’d recommend, unless you need a solution to an economic crisis.
The dinners were probably our first glimpse of traditional Norwegian food. First we had a red vegetable soup with half a just-hard boiled egg in, followed by slices of warm ham served with boiled carrot, potato and swede; the sauce was a vinegary yellow concoction which was not unpleasant. Second night, we had a very nice smooth cauliflower soup with a few bits of whole cauliflower in, followed by salted, smoked lamb, which had been boiled with dumplings and potatoes and carrot and swede. The dumplings were surprisingly disgusting, while the vegetables were undercooked and pretty uncomfortable for several hours afterward.
Once again, breakfast was the clear winner.