Regional Spotlight: Scandinavian Inspired Minnesota

“Minnesota nice” may be widely used to describe the people of Scandinavian and Nordic heritage who call Minnesota home, but until recently their cuisine didn’t have as positive a reputation. When Scandinavian immigrants found their way to America after food shortages in the 1800’s, the upper Midwest wasn’t heavily populated, so many immigrants settled there.

Until recent years, Minnesota hasn’t reflected its roots in the culinary world. The state has opened many new restaurants and bakeries in the last decade, and began taking pride in a cuisine that was once viewed as bland and unexciting. Americans are realizing that these types of foods are delicious and should be embraced. By using local ingredients like fish, dairy and wild rice, Minnesota has been able to put a positive spin on the traditional cuisine.

These simple flavors are being appreciated with a movement for simpler food. With Nordic staples like popovers, meatballs and fish dishes, great chefs have taken the inspiration and run with it. Celebrated restaurants like Bachelor Farmer, Fika at the Swedish American Institute, and Heartland have taken the “New-Nordic” trend to the next level. These chic restaurants are recognized across the states and President Obama even visited The Bachelor Farmer to celebrate the quintessential Minnesota.

While you may not start craving lutefisk (an aged white fish that has a gelatinous texture) any time soon, the clean, unpretentious flavors of the inspired “New-Nordic” cuisine will delight your palate. Next time you find yourself in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, be sure to try the food inspired by the strong Nordic and Scandinavian heritage. You may be surprised how delicious something so simple can be.

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