Lofoten Adventure - Skrei fishing in Norway

Happy Siv-Hilde is standing in her kitchen. As she stirs in bubbling pots, arranging pickled onion peels in deep plates and draping steamed vegetables, she scares one or two happy laughs from her throat. And one or two slightly skewed sound too ...

She warned us with a wink when we were sitting in her restaurant Lofotmat on our first evening in Henningsvær. Together with her husband Geir, she has been cooking typical Norwegian dishes for many years - full of fervor for cooking, serving and singing. It introduces us into the world of Skreis - the typical Norwegian winter cod with the firm and low-fat meat.

Skrei - winter cod from Norway and" The Gold of Lofoten "

Skrei ( Gadus morhua ) has been a registered trademark since 2005 and carries its own seal of quality. The Skrei differs from the normal Atlantic cod by the fact that it is caught only from about mid-January to late April here in northern Norway. Then the fish migrates over 1,000 km from the Arctic Barents Sea to northern Norway to spawn. The Skrei has thus reached sexual maturity, is about 5 to 8 years old and at least 2 kg heavy. The seal guarantees the high quality and regulated catch of the Skreis. Both catching and subsequent processing are subject to strict rules and controls. In the meantime, Norwegian fisheries are also structurally sustainable so that stocks can be maintained over the long term. This includes the gentle fishing with fishing rods, lines and only small honeycomb nets. Skrei is now the largest and most sustainable cod stock worldwide. Only 30 years ago, things looked quite different, but today the stock has recovered completely. In addition, almost all parts of the Skrei are processed here - From Nose to Tail is called here then "From head to tail fin". Especially the liver and roe are considered a special delicacy in Norway.

A trip to Northern Norway - north of the Arctic Circle

In the morning we arrived. We - that is a small group of press representatives from Germany. As a blogger, my dear friend Simone von S-Küche and Stefan from the blog NordicWannabe are also present.

Adventurous was our journey here. In a pretty small plane with quite small propellers. The direct flight from Oslo to Svolvær takes just under 2.5 hours. Simone and I were happy about the place in the first row.The space is almost directly next to the propellers and incredibly loud during the flight. Talks are hard to imagine. A high on noise canceling headphones! And whoever gets on the plane last time has to fly in the last two places against the direction of flight - that's a completely different experience. On the return flight we do it like the locals and see that we can get a back seat.

The landing approach is breathtaking and Svolvær has the loveliest airport I have seen so far. We walk the 10 meters from the machine into the airport building, which is about the size of a normal small animal practice and lies in the middle of the bay. Our suitcases are professionally shipped on a baggage car and then drove the 10 meters in an adjacent garage. A door opens and anyone can grab his suitcase from the car ... = >

In Lofoten or Lofoten?

The drive to Henningsvær reveals the gigantic beauty of Lofoten. In addition a short excursion to the topic Lofoten and naming: Officially Lofoten is a region in Northern Norway. In German usage, the name has prevailed "on the Lofoten", although it is actually not correct in content. This does not mean the small islands and not the archipelago as such, one does not speak of "the Lofoten". Especially since Lofoten is not a plural form. Even the inhabitants of the region are not called Lofoten, but Lofotinger.

Rafting Tour in Floating suits - a wild boat ride through the Vestfjord

We'll take a bus to our Bryggehotell in Henningsvær and marvel at building blocks for the stark beauty of nature. Now, in the middle of March, the streets are icy, the steep mountains snow-capped, the water reflects the blue of the sky and the sun radiates with us.

In the hotel, a warming fish soup with skrei and crabs awaits us - wonderfully creamy, it warms us up directly. Although it is only about -4 degrees, blowing a deceptively icy wind. And it gets even fresher: Thick in full-body floating suits packed (over our regular winter clothes, mind you!) And equipped with life jackets, we drive with a rafting dinghy out to open water. In the process, one or two jokes escapes me as we dash over the water in this emperor's weather, almost flying.Alone or in pairs, the fishermen stand here on their cutters and fish from sunrise to sunset in the traditional way the Skrei. Although there is also net fishing, but much is still done in manual labor, also to maintain the quality and to secure the stocks. Several fishing rods are attached to the boats and are repeatedly lowered into the water. At a depth of about 60 meters they bite like crazy today. In total, over 1,000 fishing boats are registered in Lofoten. There are strict controls and private fishing is also regulated.

One of the fishermen made a great catch with a 20kg skrei and is visibly proud. Followed by seagulls and sea eagles, we explore the area around Henningsvær. In the evening, the freshly caught skrei is taken there directly to the fish factory. Currently these are up to 120 tons on good days. During the day! During the high season from January to April, almost everything revolves around the Skrei.

Typical Norwegian Cuisine with Skrei at Lofotmat

And now we're sitting here after an exciting day at Siv-Hilde listening to their thrilling tales. How she cut skrei tongues out of her head as a little girl in the fish factory. And so that their pocket money could improve considerably, so that it was enough even for a flight to relatives on the mainland. Immediately she serves us breaded and fried Skrei tongues with a Tatar sauce. It has nothing in common with the consistency of beef tongue but is much softer and milder. No wonder this is a specialty. Personally, I did not find it slimy.

In addition to a stockfish casserole, we also get Skrei filet. Gently cooked and served with vegetables of the season. Siv-Hilde cooks very regionally and seasonally, but also down to earth. Their philosophy is based on genuine, honest cooking with good products. On Sundays the fishermen come over for dinner - then they put steaming bowls with strengthening stews on the tables and everyone can help themselves. And there are many fishermen here during the season!

On the way to the hotel, we search in vain for northern lights - the chances are currently not so bad. We are studying various apps and websites and are still becoming Northern Lights hunters. The Canadian tour group, which lives in the same hotel, has been hunting for northern lights for 2 weeks and was fortunate in this region 2 days ago. We do not yet.The MS Symra has been around for over 100 years and many nautical miles. Today she is our fishing boat, because we are allowed to try ourselves in the skrei fishing. Once again we are comfortably warm in thick floating suits packed over three layers of winter clothing and drive out to the open water. Soon the first fish bite, Skrei, as far as the eye can see!

But we'll hardly change places and I'm fishing - nothing. Again and again, I jerkle as shown on the fishing line that hangs 60 feet deep in the icy water. Over and over, I catch up with the fishing rod, then throw it in the water at another point. Twice I realize: Since one bit! But both times, the fish have disappeared again, before I rolled up the fishing line. Not so easy, this skrei fishing. My teammates are even happier for this - so our dinner is secured!

Als If we have caught enough fish (or if I can not catch any more), we head for the crossing to Svolvær. The ride takes just under 2 hours and after the physical work, it is already fresh when doing nothing and nose-in-the-wind. Geir is of course prepared and provides us with warming bacalao stew and sweet currant tea. The screeching gulls are flying around us, the snow-capped mountains are glittering in the sun and it's just a fantastic moment, up here in Northern Norway.

In the fish factory in Svolvær: Fresh Skrei, Stockfisch and Klippfisch

Nora is already waiting for us when we take the Symra fish factory Saga Fisk i n Create Svolvær. She runs the business together with her husband, her sons have moved away from the region. In the factory mainly laborers from Eastern European countries work and there is much to do. Dried and salted fish is packed and shipped mainly to Spain, Italy and Portugal, where it is especially loved.Always two fish are tied together at the caudal fin and hung over a wooden pole. Once the climate is right and it is no longer too cold, the fish is hung up and allowed to dry until about mid-June. This results in the famous Stockfish . Even the heads - without the precious fish tongues - are hung here in bundles of 10 on strings to dry. They are primarily shipped to Nigeria because they are practically indefinitely preserved, can be stored without refrigeration and produce a healthy and rich broth when cooked whole or ground in water.

But dried fish is not the only specialty of the region. The other variant is the salted and thus preserved fish, which can be used after the thorough watering almost like fresh fish. It is known as Klippfisch .

Especially now in the Skrei season, the freshly caught fish is immediately packed and shipped to the factory. Already on the fishing boat, the fish is prepared, completely bled and transported in cold water to the factory, where it is processed within a few hours. That too is part of the strict specifications. In boxes with different sizes the Skrei lands well chilled in German restaurants or fish shops and finally on our plate img src = "/images/image-140420191757Mfnd.jpeg" alt = "Lofoten Adventure - Skrei Fishing in Norway | Press Trip with Seafood from Norway to Northern Norway | moeyskitchen.com #skrei #lofoten #norway #norway #fishing # travel #foodblogger "itemprop =" image ">

Tasty Skrei Menu at Full Steam in Henningsvær

In the afternoon we warm up with delicious Norwegian waffles at the hotel and me notice - the shipping is still in my legs. I'm not really seasick, but it still feels like a few hours after the boat ride, as if I'm standing on the waves. So I use the break to raise my legs again before we drive in the evening to the former cod liver oil factory of Henningsvær, which today is the event location Full Steam.