Usually, Storgata already is a beautiful street to casually navigate through the so called “Paris of the North”, all while discovering some of its most interesting sights, but if we add the attraction of (free) food tasting and jolly social interactions in the mix, the charm becomes utmost undeniable. An almost foolish form of excitement is distilled from the very moment you catch the first glimpse of the stands and the tents packing the – these days – especially crowded main artery of the city center.
Text: Marc Legua Mira
Once on foot and facing the beginning of the festival, the vibration is delightfully overwhelming: crowds flock the modest black tents were manufacturers and shops offer a taste of their best with open arms and warm smiles, smells seizing the atmosphere as they exert a magnetic pull towards the kiosks and fill you with a decision making dilemma in which you’ll love to take part. The vast array of sensory stimulus is matched only by the potent contrast between the foods being sold: from candy and fruits to sushi and reindeer dishes, there is a taste of everything sure to satisfy every palate, and all in all makes for a wonderful (albeit short) journey, regardless of whether the weather decides to play along or not.
As you traverse the street and flow through the multitude with no other compass than your instincts, contrasting booths with beautiful decorations, big and small and oftentimes sensationally themed stalls appear in quick succession. But despite the differences there’s common ground being shared, given that regardless of where you look, you’ll always be greeted by free samples of whatever is being sold, along with discounts and a local willing to elaborate about the craftsmanship behind the magic! Certainly no one will reveal the secret means by which their product excels entirely, but listening to the stories and traditions of the Sámi people selling their reindeer meat for instance, is the tastiest way of diving into the culture of the north.
As I write these lines I cannot help but remember the affection with which the people from Hjerttind and their mouth-watering reindeer dishes met me and all the visitors. My insidertip would be to get a bite of their meat for as little as 30 Kroner, along with a beer and live music played on the stage right by their stand was definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss!
All in all, the nordnorsk matfestival in downtown Tromsø was a remarkable expierence, keep your eyes open for similar events in the future!