Oslo – Grünerløkka – shopping for traditional ingredients in Vulkan

As I mentioned in the previous post, Dan and I stayed in Grünerløkka, the borough just to the north east of the centre (Oslo Sentrum) and east of the river Akerselva. Map of Grünerløkka here. Map of Oslo here.

Formerly quite a working class neighbourhood, Grünerløkka has been gentrified in recent years and has a large student population. It’s a great area to stay as there are lots of cool shops, bars and restuarants to check out, too many for the brief time we were there. In particular the west side of the neighbourhood, around the river Akerselva, has a lot going on. There is the trendy shopping street Markveien but also the subdistrict Vulkan, a former rundown industrial area that is in the process of being transformed into a hip residential and shopping area.

The redevelopment centres on Mathallen, an old warehouse that has been converted into a food hall with twentyfive food shops and street food stalls.

This is where you can pick up your reindeer shanks and Minke whale steaks. (Please don’t hate, Minke aren’t endangered and they are sustainably fished, read this article first if you disagree).

We were here for the cheese though, in particular Ekte Geitost, real goats’ cheese, made using traditional methods which are rapidly dying out. When it comes to jobs, making a fortune working on an oil rig is more attractive than staying at home to stir a vat of caramelising goats’ milk. Here’s an interesting radio programme about it on the BBC’s Ark of Taste. We came away with two chunks of artisanal Geitost from two separate cheese shops; Gutta pa Haugen and Ost & Sant, the latter perhaps having a bit more of a choice and more samples although both were very friendly. Geitost has a relatively sweet caramel flavour which makes it good on waffles as well as buttered Ryvita. In works surprisingly well with strawberry or raspberry jam as well (two other good take home items from the supermarket).

It’s not cheap but then this is a hipster market in one of the most expensive countries in the world. (£18 fish and chips from Vulkanfisk anyone?). It’s still interesting to have a look around though even if you can’t afford to buy. And if you are wanting to buy, there are lots of samples to try so you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

We did find a great place to eat just a short walk away…

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