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Norwegian Food in Philly?


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Just got back from Wisconsin (cheese curds, mmm) and visiting my friend's Norwegian family.

I had gjetost (a caramel-y goat cheese) and lefse (potato bread, sort of like a tortilla). That got me to wondering, are there any Norwegian restaurants/specialty markets in Philly? A preliminary google search didn't turn any up.


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Gjetost can be found at a lot of supermarkets as well as cheesemongers.

As for Norwegian food in particular, and Scandinavian food in general, I've yet to uncover any treasure troves in the area. Like you, effrontery, I rely on importing the stuff on visits to my Norskie wife's family in Wisconsin (though the town she hails from, Racine, is overwhelmingly Danish).

Otherwise, there's mail order or trips to Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood, where some Norwegian stores remain amidst the Arabic-speaking community. Nordic Delicacies at 6909 3rd Avenue is the go-to place for cold cuts and sausages, lefse, cheese, canned and packaged goods, etc., with additional homemade goodies for Christmas. They do mail order, too, so visit the web site. There's also Leske's Bakery at 7612 5th Ave. (no website) for kringle and other pastries.

The only place I can think where you can regularly get some Scandinavian products in the Philadelphia area (and it's not a big selection) would be Ikea.

The American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia at 1900 Pattison Ave. in FDR Park has occasional food events. This Saturday, for example, the museum's Men's Pea Soup Committee is holding (you guessed it!) ärtsoppa och punsch (pea soup and punch) with cocktails beginning at 5:30 pm and supper at 6:30 pm. Ärtsoppa is the traditional Thursday night supper in Sweden. During medieval times when Sweden was a Catholic country and Fridays meant fasting, a hearty and wholesome meal was necessary the preceding night. Punsch is a strong, sweet, arrack-based drink. The ärtsoppa meal at ASHM includes soup, bread, Prästost cheese and dessert.

I know, it's Swedish, not Norwegian, and as any Norwegian (or Swede) knows, there are differencs. But what the hey! The night will feature accordion music, too. According to the website, the cost is $20 for members, $25 for non-members, there will be a cash bar. They wanted RSVPs by this past Monday, but give a call to see if there's space if you're hankering for pea soup. (215) 389-1776.

The vimmenfolk vill serve coffee and semlor, and show a movie, on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 9. Semlor is a rich, cream-topped sweet bun served in the days immediately before Lent, so consider it a Swedish Fat Tuesday treat. Cost is $5/$8, reserve by Feb. 6.

I found these other events on their calendar:

April 12, 5:30 pm: Spring Ting

A "ting" is a gathering. The ASHM's annual spring gathering welcomes friends for a fundraiser featuring a reception, buffet, and silent and live auctions. All proceeds from Spring Ting support the ASHM's exhibits and educational programs.

April 30, 7 pm: Valborgmässoafton

At Walpurgis Night on the last day of April, spring is welcomed and celebrated in the age-old Swedish tradition of singing around a bonfire. Valborgsmässoafton at ASHM features musical entertainment by the Swedish Museum Singers, refreshments, traditional bonfire and more singing in front of the museum in FDR Park.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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