Norwegian Travels

Heidal is a beautiful conservation village at 600metres in the Norwegian parish of Gudbrandsdalen, Oppland. Heidal Hotel is an exquisitely crafted wooden roadside inn, in the River Sjoa valley. Having been unloved for a wee while, it has been bought by a local farmer who is busy restoring it to its former glory. Not only is it a lovely spot to stay, but he also makes his own delicious sausages from moose, wild reindeer and lamb, that he serves in the restaurant and sells in his farm shop on the premises…so very Slow Food. A real find! We found a diminutive bakery nearby for the local Potetlefser, their tasty flat potato bread.

The following morning we checked out local dairy with delicious artisan brown cheese, Heidal Ysteri and the lovely craft shop adjacent, where, needless to say, I bought (another) cheeseboard. No home of ours can have too many!!

Onwards to Beitostölen over the mountain pass at 1200metres, above the treeline, where the vistas are phenomenal and the wild reindeer a challenge to spot. Lift your eyes a little and you see higher slopes that rarely lose their snowy mantle. Beito Ysteri has a range of cheese wheels, each in different flavours of herbs and spice.

Returning over the glacial ridge we stopped for a photo opportunity at the kiosk Bosse remembered from his childhood, barely changed! What we call in Scotland a ‘Johnny a’ things’ – a catch-all in the country for everything from flour to fishing flies; jigsaws to jam!…and this one did not disappoint!

Next stop Brimi Saeter …is amazing! Climbing through the treeline and upwards through breathtaking scenery, up a twisty road and out onto the high valley floor. Bogs, burns, lakes, sand, bare rock… and among it all, old breeds of cattle heading in for milking and the wonderful wooden buildings of Brimi Saeter. We loved every bit of it… the converted buildings with ground floor café at one end and the dairy beside. Seating, eating and sleeping on the upper deck. The large observation windows worked a treat to view the cheesemaking from above and the freshly made waffles with home made jam and rømme were delicious. We bought a selection of their world class cheeses and back home they were the first finished – that says it all.

We reluctantly left Heidal Hotel after saying our goodbyes to Chef Marek and his fine breakfasts and travelled homewards, our palates tingling from a wonderful food travel experience.


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