New Nordic Food Movement: What We Can Learn

31/03/2016 8:21 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Denmark, Copenhagen, feature: Gourmet mood in the Danish capital

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Contrary to what IKEA would have us believe, Scandinavian cuisine is so much more than meatballs and strawberry jam.

It’s also having a major moment thanks to a little behemoth movement called the New Nordic.

Never heard of it? Well, you might have heard of the award-winning restaurant, Noma.

In 2003, Noma-head chefs Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer led the makings of the movement with their book, a manifesto dedicated to improving food culture in Nordic countries through making use of ingredients from the local region.

Within two years of being released, the book saw governments and businesses taking leadership in their approach to changing food habits across Scandinavia with the ultimate goal of eating more sustainably.

It saw a new wave of restaurants pop up where the focus was on seasonality (veggies weren’t simply an afterthought, either) and change was present right down through to the school cafeteria.

New SBS foodie series, “Destination Flavour” explores the vast effect of the New Nordic Movement, as host Adam Liaw spends two months eating his way through Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

“Eating organic is huge over there but it’s not out of snobbery, it’s completely affordable. In Malung, Sweden, they are trying to make 100 percent of the food that children eat in schools organic by 2020,” Adam Liaw told The Huffington Post Australia.

Something they believe is fully achievable -- and just another example of how they are changing behaviours through food advocacy (evidently, it’s not that hard).

Here, HuffPost Australia asks Adam Liaw to sum up the top three things we can take from the New Nordic Movement.

The movement itself isn’t preachy

“You never actually here Claus Meyer say ‘this is bad’ -- whether it’s gluten, sugar or meat. In Australia, sadly it always starts with that. In this model of food advocacy however, it’s ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could do this as well,’” Liaw said.

While you can’t lump all of the Nordic countries together, Liaw said there’s not really as much backlash to eating organic as there is in Australia. “Organic food in Australia is much more expensive, so there is a skepticism around it and it almost becomes like this class struggle based around food -- that doesn’t happen in Scandinavia,” Liaw said.

It’s all about what’s in season

“The Nordic way of thinking looks at what they produce locally, and what they can do with it -- whether it’s carrots, artichokes or brown crabs -- and they aren’t afraid to see a potato as the hero of their dish!”

Vegetables are celebrated

“It’s not so much about being vegetarian -- I hardly met any vegetarians over there -- but a lot of the meals were vegetable and seafood driven. There was less of focus on meat -- of course it was still there -- but the cuisine was very vegetable focused.

“Really, veggies should be the main aspect of our diet health wise, sustainability wise and flavour wise,” Liaw said.

Destination Flavour Scandinavia premieres on SBS on Thursday 7.30pm

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