03 March 2012

The ubiquity of paprika

Just returned from a couple of weeks in Arctic Norway. There was lots of snow, of course. And ice. And I have hundreds of photos of snow, but I won't bore you with those, cos you know what snow looks like. (It's white.)

What I do have for you is a photo of some packets of crisps.

There you go, Paprika flavour crisps, the ultimate expression of the Nordic potato-based snack. This brand, Potetgull ("Potato Gold") is pretty good. Nice crunch. Slightly old-fashioned, too: none of this artisan stuff, just a big family-sized bag of thin crisps. Great if, like us, you face a seven-hour drive with uncertain dining prospects en route.

The photo was actually taken in a little grocery shop on the small island of Bjarkøya, which is reached by means of two ferries from the mainland (not actually the mainland, but a large island joined to the mainland by a bridge... such is Norwegian geography): the first to another island called Grytøya, followed by (in our case) a frenzied half-hour drive on and through heavy snow to just catch the second ferry with a couple of minutes to spare. It was exceptionally well worth it, as the clouds parted and we were blessed with beautiful sunshine when we got to Bjarkøya. We celebrated by ordering chips ("pommes frites", as they are known in Norway, remarkably) and various accompaniments in the cosy café next door to the aforementioned island shop. Said chips were served with a generous shake of grillkrydder, a reddy-pink granulated national-trademark condiment composed of salt, paprika and various other spices. Fab. Here's the café (on the right), and the shop. (Click on the photo to enlarge, as always. )

Sorry, a bit of snow crept into shot. My apologies.