“The Best Scandinavians” according to my mother “are always the ones living outside Scandinavia.”
As an Anglo-American married to a Norwegian for nearly 40 years this has been a common refrain from the long-suffering Mama Johansen. She-who-must-be-obeyed would roll her steely grey eyes at the comedy of my father’s immediate family – most notably Papa Johansen’s charmingly eccentric sisters. It made my mother and I a little uncomfortable listening to their continual exclamations of Norwegian pride and how Norway was the best in absolutely everything.
In hindsight I now see that such hubris was simply emblematic of a small country and quaint to my Mother’s Yankee ears.
Admittedly, the aunts have a point. Norway does have exceptional ski jumps, produces some fine wool sweaters and has figured out a nifty way of managing all that oil wealth. But the ne plus ultra of all things amazing and Norwegian is of course our seafood.
Those who know me will tell you I wax lyrical about the aquatic wonders I grew up with in Norway – from sweet North Sea prawns to buttery smoked salmon, freshly caught mountain trout and sprightly crayfish caught in the Sognefjord – I champion the seafood heritage of Norway in my book and to anyone popping round for Sunday brunch.
So it was with some amusement that I discovered recently I had come under criticism for not promoting Norwegian seafood on this blog. Apparently my heart lies in cake. Well my hips do too let me tell you…
Dear reader, allow me to introduce you to some of the best Norwegian seafood in the world, smoked and cured right here in London – Hansen & Lydersen smoked salmon.
Here’s why I love their salmon:
- it’s delicious, buttery and the smoke/cure flavour is perfectly balanced
- it’s sustainable
- it’s cured according to a traditional recipe dating back to 1923
- it’s hung and slowly cold-smoked in the brick kiln of a Stoke Newington smokehouse, using a blend of juniper and beech wood
- Even the wood shavings are responsibly sourced, with zero chemicals.
- did I mention it’s delicious?
Seriously, these guys know their stuff and Ole Hansen along with his wife Flora Hansen embody the best of go-getting entrepeneurship, taking traditional smoked salmon craftsmanship from Northern Norway and making it with care and to great success here in the heart of London. When I told my mother about their salmon she just looked at me and raised one eyebrow. Mama J has once more, of course, been proven right.
Do have a peek at Hansen & Lydersen, they have an ace website, deliver across London and ship to addresses around the UK. I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of their delicious smoked salmon gracing our plates in the future!