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Maybe it was the beautiful nature and fresh sea air that lured Norway’s first clipfish entrepreneur, the Dutchman Jappe Ippes, to the Norwegian Nordmøre district at the end of the 17th century, where he would start producing the dried fish’s salty fats. Kristiansund subsequently became Norway’s undisputed capital city for clipfish and remained so until the Second World War. The fish’s extensive export to all parts of the world has left some traces in Kristiansund and inspired local names, such as Tahiti and Marokko (Morocco).

The pier in Kristiansund has been a local hub and gathering place for generations, and was where boats would deliver local food to the city. Food production in Nordmøre is guided by the principles of excellent quality, good animal husbandry and strict requirements for environmentally friendly production. But the most important ingredients are sourced directly from the district’s nature, and the related traditions continue to be developed and maintained by dedicated, knowledgeable locals.


Olav Kåre Jørgensen and Stian Røsand are passionate about creating unforgettable food and taste experiences. The former managers of Håholmen Havstuer hotel continue local food traditions in Kristiansund through their seafood restaurant, Smia. Here they serve genuine, local staple dishes, such as “blandaball” (fish, potato, root vegetables and bacon), clipfish burger, whale stew from Smøla and smoked pepper salmon from Averøya.

Convincing customers to taste things they claim not to like

Stian says that one of the most enjoyable things he does at work is arranging Christmas banquets, called “Julebord” in Norwegian.

“There are so many people who stubbornly proclaim that they do not eat “lutefisk”, “rakfisk”, blue cheese and so on. So, we prepare our guests a nine-course meal, and no one is allowed to say that they don’t like something until they have tasted everything.”

Watch the video below to see Stian recount how his guests react to eating food they think they don’t like.

“ It is a fantastic feeling when the guests come and thank us for their experience." Stian Røsand
© Oddgeir Visnes /

The clipfish expert

Knut Garshol is a fourth-generation trader and the only fishmonger in Norway to sell solely clipfish in his shop, which is located in the Kristiansund town square. He is also probably the only person in the world that knows as much as he does about clipfish and its history.

Clipfish is dried and salted cod, and a Nordmøre delicacy that has been produced and exported to southern countries for centuries. In return, the district has received spices and other multicultural characteristics, which is why the Portuguese bacalhau dish, called “bacalao” in Norwegian, is one of the city’s trademark dishes. No single factor has probably been so significant for the development of Kristiansund and the surrounding coastal communities as the clipfish.

Watch the video below to see Knut give advice about what absolutely not to do with clipfish.

The Nordmørian World Champion

Some of the world’s best cheeses are also made in Nordmøre. It all starts with Gulla, Guri, and the other dairy cows who provide the key ingredient. Kristin Waagen, dairy farmer and co-owner of the Tingvollost dairy farm, which produces the world champion Kraftkar blue cheese, explains that the cheese tastes of the nature around us.

“There’s a connection between happy cows and good cheese. The grass that the animals eat also matters. If the cheese had been made in a completely different part of the country, then the cheese would taste differently. That I am certain of,” she says. Kraftkar was voted the World’s Best Cheese in 2016 and remains in high demand today, with waitlists of orders from the neighbouring village of Torjulvågen.

"There’s a connection between happy cows and good cheese"
Kristin Waa­gen

Traditional food with a twist

The seafood restaurant Smia serves traditional Norwegian dishes with a twist. Combining clipfish and blue cheese might not sound like a successful recipe, but this special dish is only met with enthusiasm from Smia’s guests.

The importance of quality ingredients

“When making good clipfish, you have to start with making sure that the raw fish is properly dried,” states Olav Kåre. “Many people think that clipfish is clipfish but that’s not the case. To make it extra tasty, you also need to use quality ingredients.”

Watch the video below and learn how Olav Kåre makes Smia’s special clipfish meal, using the best blue cheese in the world and carrots from Smøla.

Trained by a world culinary champion

After working for several years as a chef at Statholdergaarden in Oslo alongside the previous winner of the world’s culinary championships, Bent Stiansen, Stian Stensønes Lillehaugn chose to move back to Nordmøre with his family. Today he is a chef and the co-owner of the restaurant Bryggekanten, in the centre of Kristiansund. The brasserie has possibly the best location in the city, right down by the water’s edge, with an outstanding view of Kristiansund’s four islands and the traditional harbour where the clipfish used to be shipped out to the world in days past.

“The place was established to offer the city’s population and visitors a rendezvous point where they could enjoy local cuisine in pleasant surroundings. The quality of the ingredients, not to mention the diversity we have here in Nordmøre, is completely unique. You won’t find a place like it in Norway. Maybe not even in the rest of the world, for all we know.” says Stian.

Watch Stian explain why he thinks Nordmøre is the world’s cornucopia in the video.

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