Rakfisk is considered to be the “king” of the Norwegian cuisine. Its preparation takes a long time, and it’s not the everyday dish, however, annually about 400 tons of rakfisk are consumed around Norway. Preparation of rakfisk starts with gutting and rinsing the fish. Then its put in a big bucket with a thick layer of salt on the bottom. The layers of fish can be sugared a little bit to enhance the process of fermentation. Then the bucket is closed with a lid and a weight is laid on the top. In a week the fish is opened to see, if it has enough of brine, and then it’s closed again and stored in a cool place for two or three months. Then rakfisk is ready to serve.
Every family has got its own recipe of preparing and serving rakfisk. At some places the fermentation time takes up to one year and the outcome is really hard to call fish at all. And concerning the serving, the fish is always cut into thin slices, sour cream or mustard sauce is poured over and garnished with onion. Its an iconic dish of every family.
The Rakfisk Festival started in Norway only in 1993, arising from the idea of letting the customers try the rakfisk before they buy. And nowadays this festival attracts over 25,000 visitors every year. They all can taste rakfisk prepared in different ways, try local beer and also buy some fresh food from the fishermen and farmers. Also the program of the festival contains music concerts and the award ceremony for the best rakfisk manufacturer.
The Rakfisk Festival is one of those events, that give every tourist an opportunity to know Norway and its traditions much better. And although originally rakfisk was invented with the purpose of long preservation only, which is nowadays is not required at all, the tradition and the iconic dish are still here and they are adored by every Norwegian.