Saturday, January 10, 2015

A "Viking" Restaurant

Readers who were amused by my Christmas posting discussing the fact that the "Viking" diet is apparently becoming the new "healthy" diet fad may also be amused by this article from The Daily Mail, interviewing a chef who has opened a restaurant devoted to serving "Viking" food.

The chef, Jesper Lynge, has opened his restaurant in Aalborg, Denmark.  He has clearly done some reading about Viking cuisine, as one of his dishes is a risotto-like side dish, made from barley.  That idea for a dish reminds me of the rye-based "ryesotto" recipe that appears in A Culinary Journey Through Time, which I reviewed for this blog when the English language edition was published back in 2012.  However, it does not appear that Mr. Lynge has read An Early Meal a more recently published book attempting to reconstruct Viking cuisine, since venison and other game meats appear to be a mainstay of his menu. Game may not be inappropriate for a "Viking" restaurant, though. Restaurants are often places to get a celebratory meal that is more elaborate and substantial than one's daily fare, and Serra and Tunberg's comments that game seems to have rarely been eaten by the Vikings might indicate that a meal with game as the main course would have been rare and celebratory meal for them.

Interestingly, Mr. Lynge is quoted as saying that pork "one of the most festive animals that were present in the Viking time" though archaeological finds suggest that beef was more commonly eaten. Mr. Lynge asserts that he does not use ingredients that were not available to the Vikings, and from my reading of the article that seems to be quite true (though one could argue about whether the proportions in which he uses period ingredients were characteristic of the Vikings' actual diet). The dishes discussed in the article (which included a few of Mr. Lynge's recipes) sound very tasty, though, and if I ever manage to visit Denmark, I will definitely visit his restaurant.

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