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Norwegian Family Tradition with Rakfisk

Traditions are important to most people. Something taking place regularly and started as a special occasion a long time ago, becoming a yearly event. To me family traditions are even more important and this post will be about one of our more precious ones. Last Saturday my wife and I were at the family’s yearly RakFiskLag (Fermented Fish Dinnerparty). For me it was the 15th in a row and it just gets better and better. The food is important of course and I’ll get back to that later. Sitting around the table with family, talking, discussing and sharing thoughts and ideas is even more special. Some of them you don’t see that often, but of course it is like yesterday when you meet again. Everyone is one year older than the last time and with something interesting or exciting to share and eager to tell about. Listening, talking and exchanging some important things, some not, but always nice to involve our loved ones and bring us even closer together. Some say blood is thicker than water, but also you have to take care of the bones as well and see that it grows. These gathering do this. I often tell you about quality times with my wife – this one was with the family then:-)

Nothing dramatic or strange or whatever was reviled, but what we where talking about stays in the inner circle. What we had to eat – and what we eat every time – I’ll gladly share with you though. A very old and traditional Norwegian food: Rakfisk. So let me invite you to join the party, showing you the table before I go on with the fish:

Welcome to the table!

Plate, glasses and napkin.

The china different from time to time and this year we had some very appropriate for fish: a fish plate and of course with matching napkins. Speaking of that: the hosts said this was the last they had and don’t know where to buy more. Could anyone help them?!?!?
The big glass to the left is for beer. The other one is kind of special: a shot glass on top of a jug who holds the special Norwegian schnapps; aquavit.

Rakfisk; fermented fish and of trout.

To the left you see it on the service plate (even that shaped as a fish) and also with all that goes with it (except potatoes): sour cream, butter as well as onion and eggs.
To the right you see my dish – are you tempted to dig inn?

After sitting around the table for more than three hours enjoying each others company and not to mention the fish, we where invited into the living room for some refreshments and after a while the dessert:

The dessert served on traditional Porsgrund Porcelain of course!

The hosts lives in my home town: Porsgrunn and of course the china is Porsgrund Porcelain (I’ve turned the cup so that you get the proof by their trade mark – the anchor). Like always the dessert is served in this very special kind called ‘Fauna’. There is a different special flower painted on each set. The one on mine is a special mountain flower (sorry I don’t know the name!).
To the right you see the dessert: Cloud berries cream and Krumkake (a waffle kind of biscuits in shape of a cone) and of course I had cognac.

Some of my regular readers might recall that I have talked about this fish and the traditions before. You can read about the last year’s event by clicking here!

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  1. What a nice tradition! Having been away from home for many years, I am especially appreciative of those traditions that survive the test of time. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Oh traditions. I love them and my family is full of tradition. My brother in law’s family is from Denmark so he has introduced our family to the Aquavit…every year at his birthday out comes the Aquavit…oh I can’t stand the stuff…very aquired taste…

    Your tradition looks lovely and seems like you had a wonderful time.

    Thank you for dropping by my blog…cheers!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful reunion and the lovely plates to go along with, that’s wonderful :D

  4. I think the thing which hits me the most is the gathering with family and friends. I just don’t see the same thing here and well my family gatherings were always so meager and boring. However, that changed when I was in Europe. I think this is one main reason why my heart is there and not here!

  5. delicious looking, especially dessert! i am curious what flavor the aquavit has…

    special times with special people are times to be cherished. soi glad you could enjoy this.

  6. I do love fish, (especially wild salmon) but might have to grow used to eating the “fermented” variety. It looks like you had a lovely dinner and of course the best part is sharing a meal with family and good friends.

    I’m curious about the aquavit, what’s it like?

    I’m glad that you had a wonderful time!

  7. I’ve been here in Norway for 8 months now and I still haven’t tasted the (in)famous rakfisk. :-) I guess I’m not ready for it yet. Hehehe. But I like multekrem! So heavenly. :-)

  8. It’s looking absolutely delicious!!!! We ate rakfisk last summer, our friend from Dröbak took it with him to Fårö as he knew we wanted to have some :-)

    To the others: it really is delicious, if you like salmon you probably also will like rakfisk. It’s not like you really feel that it’s fermented in that meaning. And not at all like the icky Swedish surströmming = fermented Baltic herring. That stinks!

    Very nice tradition with the rakfisk dinner. Oh, and that glass plate were available in Sweden a long time ago too, but I haven’t seen it anywhere the recent years. I’ll let you know if I spot it somewhere!

  9. @Hexe: Yes, survive the test of time and live forever:-)

    @Maribeth: Yes, they are!

    @Balou: Glad we feel the same:-)

    @SmalltownRN: Yes, the Danish have gotten taste for it too as well as the Swedish.

    @Shionge: Glad you liked it too.

    @ET: Never to late to start – hope I’ve inspired you to pick up some of your European feelings where you are then:-)

    @Lime: Thanks! Aquavit is distilled from potato and flavored with herbs such as caraway seeds, anise, dill, fennel, coriander, and grains of paradise, among others.

    @DesertDiva: Yes, it took me more than 20 years to get used to it – now I am addicted.

    @Mark: We’ll have to get together and arrange a Rakfisklag next Yule time then!

    @MrsLifecruiser: Thank you so much for taking your time in enriches this post! I doooo agree with you and its good to see that a Swede got a hang to it too:-)

  10. What a lovely gathering, meal and weekend you have had. And the Fish. If the same quality as you served Anna and me in Mariestad, I still feel the taste – mmmm, delicious.

    Best wishes also from Anna to you and Diane.


  11. Oh yum! What a great tradition. And I have always wanted to try cloudberries, the name is so poetic. Perhaps someday!

  12. yipee!! my guess was right about the Rakfisklag that i’ve read about it before and it’s like sushi. hehehe. you should have stepped on the cup to see if it’s original. hehehe.

    it’s really great bonding with your family ;p

  13. @Chase: Come on over and I’ll serve you!

    @TorAa: With that fish and the Aquavit, nothing can go wrong you know:-)

    @TravelItaly: Me too!

    @NancyBea: You can come and pic the berries in the Montains of Norway you know.

    @Teena: Your welcome – it was!

    @Tin-tin: Thanks – I know you are a good visitor and a regular reader!

    @Lws: Good, well it was trout this time but its very close to salmon:-)

  14. You make it sound so very very delicious and so lovely to share such a special time with your family. A True Beautiful Family Tradition!

  15. Your food looks so inviting. You are making me so hungry will have to go and cook dinner, best wishes, The Artist

  16. Very well served! And yummy!

    I still remember the first time I ate rakfisk at a small party. When I took rakfisk from the buffet table, everyone was waiting for me to eat it and see my reaction. I think they were so surprised that I just ate and ate and ate. LOL

  17. Renny…thank you for the hugs on International Women’s Day yesterday :D Appreciate your gesture, have a great weekend.

  18. I remember Aquavit. My norwegian friends brought it to me as a gift from Norway. I tried a shot, and almost passed out. lol.
    Great tradition you have here.

  19. I just LOVE your traditions, Renny, and how lovingly you share them. It’s so sad to know that some people are losing theirs because of too much mobility. But traditions are what make the world go ’round, as you know!

  20. Oh I thought I remembered the Rakfisk from a previous post! I know the Aquavit too. Nice stuff!
    I think I would like this food. I am a bit of a funky fish nut. I love caviar and I like sushi, sashimi and Maaki. I get alot of freshwater fish here in our lakes and I love to cook them.
    I like the pretty plates. I really think it is cool that your friends could find fish plates for Rakfisk. And the serviettes/napkins with the fish on them are a blast!
    I really like the idea that the good feast meals are accompanied by 3 or so hours of conversation and eating. Hail Convivia!
    I wish we had more traditions like this. I like excuses to have a dinner party!

  21. this is the coolest thing in the world like omg i neve thought that something like this was true like omg thats sooo cool

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