Introducing: Experiential Dining With Purpose in The Nordics

The Nordics, a coalition of the seven Nordic tourism boards of Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, is elevating culinary travel by offering visitors a multi-sensory gastronomic experience. For travelers looking to experience a new level of culinary travel where sustainability and creativity intertwine, a range of epicurean experiences await in The Nordics.

One of the best ways to support sustainable tourism in Denmark is by venturing off-the-beaten path to its lesser-traveled areas, such as North Jutland. Two examples of sustainable dining found here are the newly appointed Michelin-starred restaurants, Tri and Villa Vest, at the latter of which guests can even spend the night. Travelers can also embark on an oyster safari in Limfjorden.

In the Faroe Islands, local cuisine takes center stage. In Heimablídni, travelers can share a meal with local families. Among the families leading the charge are Harriet av Gørðum, a young farmer reinventing traditional farming practices, and Anna and Óli, sheep farmers turned hosts. The destination is also home to the Faer Isles Distillery, which produces whisky and other spirits based on local botanicals and culinary traditions. Lastly, for a dining experience born out of the age-old Faroese tradition of fermentation, Restaurant Ræst is a must; it has a menu consisting solely of fermented dishes.

Visit Finland Karjalanpiirakka_Nimisuojakuvat_Karelian Pies_by_Julia_Kivela
In Finland, visitors can try their hand at making Karelian pies, a traditional delicacy using old family recipes (Julia Kivela/Visit Finland)

In Finland, travelers can dine at the newest Michelin-starred outlet, Restaurant Vår in Porvoo, which works with local farmers, fishermen, hunters and producers of all kinds. Immersive experiences include “Wine in the Woods” in Nuuksio National Park, and an archipelago dinner cruise on a traditional steamship to Loistokari Island with Ukkopekka. Up north in Finnish Lapland, Restaurant Aanaar creates dishes using everything from lichen and the traditional Sami herbal plant angelica, to reindeer and Lake Inari’s fish. While in the countryside, visitors can try their hand at making traditional Karelian pies at Okkola Holiday Cottages.

Greenland also offers a number of sustainable dining experiences that go beyond traditional restaurants, from outdoor nature excursions to homestays with South Greenlandic sheep farmers. While in Nuuk, the world’s first certified sustainable capital, visitors can indulge in a Greenlandic BBQ offered by Inuk Hostels. For those seeking adventure and a fresh catch, the “Fish & Dish” boat tour takes guests to a remote restaurant in the middle of the Qooqqut fjord. For 2023 only, KOKS, the Faroe Islands’ two-Michelin-starred restaurant, has temporarily relocated to Ilimanaq Lodge where Head Chef Poul Andrias Ziska showcases locally sourced ingredients on the shores of the UNESCO World Heritage Ilulissat Icefjord.

In Iceland, guests can savor cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants, including the newly appointed Moss Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon; Óx Restaurant, Reykjavík's smallest restaurant; and the trailblazing Dill Restaurant. Each of Iceland’s seven regions showcases unique food traditions. From innovative pioneers in North Iceland, to the family-owned organic farmers at Mother Earth in Vallanes in the East, to the culinary treasures of South Iceland, including Slippurinn in the Westman Islands, each region offers distinct flavors. The goat farming heritage of West Iceland and the coastal delights of Reykjanes Peninsula such as Bryggjan Grindavík, a fisherman’s café meets net-making shop, further enrich Iceland’s gastronomic landscape.

Visit Greenland Catching Cod, Arctic Boat Charter. Photo - Peter Lindstrom , Visit Greenland
Those seeking adventure and a fresh catch can try the “Fish & Dish” boat tour in Greenland. (Peter Lindstrom/Visit Greenland)

In Norway, travelers can join local chefs on a foraging and cooking adventure along the western fjords. SamiRoots hosts authentic dining experiences that involve foraging and berry-picking. In the Trøndelag region, visitors can go truffle hunting and learn how to create dishes featuring the ingredient. Off the coastal town of Bergen, sea urchin safaris are on offer, allowing guests to catch and prepare them under the guidance of chefs. In Tromsø, Arctic fine dining awaits with chefs preparing locally sourced reindeer, cloudberry and Arctic char.

In Sweden, travelers can enjoy the Swedish fika, a custom for enjoying good company and local treats in picturesque settings. Visitors can head to Swedish Lapland and experience kokkaffe—coffee made over an open fire, paired with smoked reindeer meat. Another option is The Edible Country, a do-it-yourself gourmet dining experience that embraces the country’s “right to roam” policy and seasonal ingredients found in nature. Guests can also dine at restaurants led by esteemed chefs, such as Florencia Abella of the Michelin-starred Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt, who puts her creative spin on New Nordic cuisine by cooking everything over an open fire.

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