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FOOD & DRINK

Where to find international foods in Norway

There's nothing quite like the taste of home, and there are plenty of places to find international food in Norway if you know where to look.

Pictured is a fruit and vegetable market.
Fruit and vegetable groceries are normally great places to find international food. Pictured is the fruit stall of a green grocers. Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

Living in another country brings the excitement of embracing a new cuisine and finding your favourite local dishes, delicacies and snacks.

However, sometimes the thing we can crave the most is a small slice of home or a creature comfort you can’t find in Norway.

Whether it’s Brits looking for “proper” cheddar, other international residents looking for key ingredients to make dishes that remind them of home, either way we all eventually end up looking for something from back home.

Do you have any suggestions or hidden gems on where to source international food in Norway that we’ve missed? Get in touch and let us know!  

Iceland

The British supermarket chain has slowly grown a foothold in Norway since opening its first supermarket in 2018 and now has five stores. Four of those are based in and around Oslo, with a fifth recently opening in Kristiansand.

Thankfully, for those who don’t live near the capital, you can also order online, but the selection may not be as comprehensive on the web as it is in stores.

The online product range has everything from salad cream and marmite to teabags, chocolate and stock cubes.

One tongue in cheek complaint that residents tend to have about Iceland is that despite some of the packaging having UK prices on them, they are still required to pay the full Norwegian price.

Some Europris stores have also been known to stock items from Iceland’s product range, and other UK favourites. However, this is more of a lucky dip, and there are no guarantees.

Mega Candy

The Mega Candy website boasts a wide array of primarily American confectionary, and is based in Norway, meaning there are no tolls to pay on any orders.

The store stocks all-American classics such as Twinkies, Reese’s and Hershey’s. Deliveries are shipped within 1-3 days, and delivery can take between 2-6 working days.

Matmarket

An online store that delivers around the country and boasts items from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Macedonia, Russia and more.

The store offers home delivery if you live in Oslo but sends other orders from across the country as orders via the postal service.

Coopers Candy

Another store that mainly focuses on candy, but with a growing product range. The store stocks a mix of UK, American and Japanese confectionary.

Among the drinks it stocks are Irn Bru and root beer. Unfortunately, both of these can be tricky to find regularly in Norway, so Coopers Candy may provide a more reliable source of securing yourself some bright orange fizz.

The store also offers plenty of dried goods, as well as soups. For American readers, you’ll be pleased to know they stock tins of Campbells, and for readers from the UK, they stock Cup A Soups.

Also among the selection of dried foods are ramens. Coopers Candy also has a wide range of teas on offer to from Tetley to Yorkshire Tea.

Interestingly, the site has started stocking products from Mexico, meaning that if you wanted to add a bit of authenticity to your taco Fredag (taco Friday) you could order some spices and marinades.  

Coopers Candy’s products are shipped from Sweden, but VAT and tolls are included in the price.Deliveries are shipped within 1-3 days, and delivery takes 2-6 working days.

‘Smak Av’ stores

If you are after a taste of something a bit more Mediterranean, then the Smak Av (taste of) stores could have something for you. They have stores in Lillogard and Vulkan in Oslo. 

Firstly, Smak Av Italia stocks Italian specialities and is an excellent place for finding high-quality cheeses, meats, and olive oils.

They stock meat too, perfect if you are after some guanciale to make an authentic carbonara or cured meats.

There’s Smak Av Spania, which includes everything from tapas and paella kits to Serrano ham.

Both stores allow for online orders, so it doesn’t matter where in Norway you are.

Vinmonopolet

Norway’s state-owned wine monopoly is an excellent source of finding alcoholic drinks from back home. However, if you live in a small town, then you’ll know polet’s selection can be pretty limited.

Fortunately, you can order drinks from all over the world online and have them shipped to your local wine monopoly.

International stores

Generally speaking, small independent grocery stores are some of the best sources for finding international food in Norway. 

Most big towns, some smaller ones too, and cities in Norway will have at least one supermarket specialising in foods imported from all over the world. Typically, these stores will be mostly stocked with speciality products and produce from Africa and Asia. However, they are also a good source of Mediterranean and eastern European foods. 

The imported and international products found in these stores are typically cheaper than in larger supermarkets. Unfortunately, most of these stores don’t have websites, so you’ll have to see for yourself what they have to offer and which items they’ve stocked that remind you of home. 

UK Corner Shop 

The site has been a go-to spot for UK nationals all over Europe for a while, and they do deliver to Norway. Although it may be advisable to try and order from other places first, as while residents complement the site’s wide range of products, they have warned of tolls and long delivery times.  

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CHRISTMAS

When can you buy alcohol in Norway over the 2021 Christmas holidays?

Due to Norway's tight alcohol laws, a trip to Vinmonopolet, to stock up the drinks cabinet can require a bit of planning all year round, let alone over the Christmas holidays. 

Pictured are bottles of wine on a shelf.
This is when you will be able to buy alcohol in Norway this Christmas. Pictured are bottles of wine on a shelf. Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Picking up a bottle of wine to go with dinner or an aperitif for the starter in Norway isn’t a straightforward process and requires more planning than you might think. 

You can’t just go to the nearest shop or supermarket and pick up a beverage of your choosing because the sale of all alcohol 4.75 percent or stronger is prohibited and restricted to Vinmonopolet or the wine monopoly. 

Additionally, you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays and public holidays and depending on where you purchase your booze, the opening hours will be different. 

This means that you shouldn’t leave it until the last minute to stock up for Christmas; otherwise, you might get a nasty shock or be met with head-dizzying queues. 

And as we are sure you are fully aware by now, there is a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants, meaning the only places you can buy alcohol are at supermarkets or wine monopolies. 

Spirits and wines

If you are planning on buying wine and spirits, then you’ll need to be aware of the state-owned wine monopoly’s Christmas opening times

READ ALSO: Why the Norwegian government controls the sale of most alcohol

Until December 23rd or what the Norwegians call lille juleaften (little Christmas eve), the wine monopoly’s opening hours will be the same, meaning it will open at 10am and close at 6pm. 

The 23rd will be the last day you can visit the wine monopoly before Christmas, although it is advisable to go before this if you can. Typically, the last possible day before closing for a holiday spells queues and chaos at wine monopolies up and down the country. 

After the 23rd, polet, as the wine monopoly is called for short, will be closed until Monday, December 28th, due to a combination of public holidays and the 27th being a Sunday. 

After that, the business hours will return to normal until New Year’s Eve, when it will close at 3pm. Then on New Year’s Day, the wine monopoly will be closed until January the 3rd, due the 2nd being a Sunday. 

 Beers, ciders and other drinks with less than 4.75 alcohol 

You can only buy weaker alcohol from supermarkets, but on the plus side, they are open for longer than the wine monopoly. On weekdays you can purchase alcohol up until 8pm from supermarkets. On weekends, it’s 6pm.

Opening hours may vary in other parts of the country. Generally, the last normal day of buying alcohol from supermarkets will be the 23rd. However, in some parts of Norway, like Oslo, you will be able to buy alcohol on Christmas eve until 6pm in stores that are open. 

There won’t be any alcohol sales on Christmas day. In addition, alcohol sales won’t be allowed in supermarkets until Monday, December 28th. 

On New Year’s Eve, the sale of alcohol will be restricted until 6pm despite it being a weekday. On New Year’s day, you won’t be able to buy any beer or cider. January 2nd falls on a Sunday meaning you will be unable to buy any alcohol until January 3rd.  

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