Guest Post: Ostehuset, An Intolerant-Friendly Stop in Stavanger (Norway)
I enjoy reading about other people’s adventures around the world and the lovely Jay – a fellow Canadian, writing talent and wandering expat – who blogs at From There to Here was kind enough to share a post with For The Intolerants regarding a restaurant in Norway any food savvy person in Stavanger must check out.
When I was young, I was allergic to, what seemed like, everything. My poor mother had 3 children with 3 very different intolerances, however we all ended up allergic to milk products. I’d watch the kids line up for milk at elementary school and secretly pine away wishing I could have one of those cool cartons on my desk too. At Halloween all chocolate was forfeited from my bag and replaced with non-dairy treats and instead of ice cream on a hot day, we had sherbert. Luckily, as I aged I slowly grew out of my allergies and while I still get an upset stomach with too much dairy, I’ll gladly enjoy a daily latte or cheese on my hamburger. These days, all I’m intolerant to are olives, raw fish & raisins, albeit only because of taste and texture.
With that being said, I appreciate places that cater to all different sorts of eaters and one of the best parts of arriving in a new place is exploring the options. Stavanger is a small city but has a surprising number of restaurants to try. It’s also home to the Gastronomic Institute of Norway and Gladmat, Scandinavia’s biggest food festival attracting 200,000 guests each year.
Among the local & expat population alike, there are eating establishments that are favourites and Ostehuset happens to be one of mine. The name Ostehuset means cheese house though it’s more of a café, bakery, boutique & cheese shop combined. There are 3 locations in Stavanger, each with their own take on Scandinavian design. The central location is the largest and most colourful. Ostehuset Øst is in an up and coming neighbourhood and the location feels more industrial, while the newly opened spot in Hinna is the smallest and most commercial of all the siblings. I appreciate the simple Norwegian esthetics in each with long, family style tables, candles, clean lines and muted colours.
The menu is varied with sandwiches (all of which can be made with gluten free bread,) salads, pizzas and more substantial main dishes. There are also daily specials and the deli counter with a variety of options to dine on either in restaurant or to take home. The fresh ingredients and inspired combinations in the classic lunch fare keep me returning regularly.
Aside from specialty cheeses, it’s possible to buy imported oils and vinegars, pastas, jams, tea and coffee as well as decorative items. In fact, many of the products and brands aren’t carried elsewhere, which makes it a great place to find that special something. Lamentably, it’s all a bit pricey – we are in Norway after all.
Ostehuset is a pretty common stop for me often for lunch, sometimes a latte to catch up with a friend and occasionally a glass of wine in the late afternoon. With the new location opening up in my neighbourhood, it’s sure to put a dent in my wallet.