Ica Norway’s purchasing deal clears admin hurdle

The Norwegian government has given a preliminary green light to a deal between supermarkets Ica Norway and NorgesGruppen, pending the final verdict of Norway's Anti-Trust Authority.

Ica Norway's purchasing deal clears admin hurdle
Ica Maxi in Oslo. File photo: Ørn E. Borgen/Scanpix

Supermarket chain Ica has claimed that a deal with NorgesGruppen will secure the future survival of its stores across Norway, saving jobs in the process. 

"We are very happy and not least thankful that the ministry has given us the possibility to start a purchasing cooperation with NorgesGruppen," Ica managing director Thorbjørn Theie told the NTB news agency. 

"This is about Ica's and our staff's future, and this deal will be an important factor in turning the company around." 

Theie said he interpreted the decision from the State Administration Ministry as a positive signal, hoping the deal would get final approval in the near future. The final word, however, lies with Norway's Anti-Trust Authority (Konkurransetilsynet), which will come to its final conclusion on the purchasing deal this autumn. 

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Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

The last Thursday of September marks 'fårikålens dag', a day to celebrate Norway's beloved national dish - an autumn meal-time staple for most Norwegians. 

Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

In 1972, fårikål was first named the national dish of Norway, and despite a brief flirtation with the possibility of replacing it in 2014 has remained the top dog ever since. 

Some of the meals that fårikål beat out to remain the national dish are kjøttkaker, a type of meatballs, raspeball, a potato dumpling, and pinnekjøtt, the lamb’s ribs traditionally served at Christmas. 

The dish’s name is a compound, meaning “mutton in cabbage”. It consists of pieces of mutton or lamb on the bone, whole peppercorns, and layers of green cabbage. The name draws its roots from the Danish language originally. 

For many, fårikål is the quintessential autumn dish as its typically only served during this time, potatoes are in season and sheep are typically brought down from mountain farms during this time. It is normally accompanied with crispy, paper-thin flatbread and boiled potatoes.  

Many Norwegians will associate the taste, and smell, of the dish with the changing of the seasons and auburn leaves. Other classic autumn dishes are lapskaus, or “stew”, baked root vegetables, mushroom soups, and blueberry muffins. 

READ MORE: Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Fårikål first rose to prominence in the 19th century and is believed to have originated in urban areas. One of the first original recipes was in the Fuldstænd Norsk Kogebog by Karen Dorothea. That early recipe suggested that mutton could act as a substitute for a goose. 

If you wish to make the dish yourself, there is no need to fear as it is a relatively easy meal to make. However, it will take some time to prepare it. Depending on the recipe you use, it could take anywhere between an hour or three to make. As with most stew or casserole type dishes, longer normally delivers the best results. 

Recipes for the meal are available in both English and Norwegian. Below you can see a video of the dish being prepared. 

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