We will gather together at Sevletunet in upper Numedal, which will be our base for the whole tour. Sevletunet is a family farm from the 1600s consisting of several listed buildings, including the wooden barn and Sevleloftet, a "stabbur" for storing food and other items, and is nestled at the end of the deep Norefjord, surrounded by mighty mountains and a rich cultural landscape. The farm takes its name from the Saga of Sevleguten, from the first half of the 1800s. Sevleguten, or as he was known at the time, Ola Olsson Sevle, was a notorious wild man and traditional Halling (“folk dancer”) from Nore. We will hear more about the saga from our hosts during our stay.
In the evening, we will meet Nevada Berg, and enjoy a welcome dinner in the old "stova", in the main building from 1850, where Margun and Gro Sevle, the hostesses at the farm, will have lit the fire and candles. As we relax in this warm and welcoming atmosphere, we will be served a stew made from game hunted in the local area, with rustic mashed potatoes from the farm’s own produce: genuine and locally-sourced ingredients that are prepared with love. For dessert, we will be served cloudberry cream in “krumkaker”, traditional Norwegian cakes, and this will, of course, be accompanied by a cup of coffee.
After a hearty breakfast, we will begin the day with a talk, in which Nevada will tell us her story about life here in Numedal, and the driving force behind her website, cookbook, and the many collaborative projects she is involved in. It is fun and inspiring to hear how Nevada and her husband from Bergen bought a small farm without even seeing it beforehand and moved their little family to this remote valley. Nevada’s talk and the activities afterwards will be in English.
After this inspiring introduction to the day, we will take the coach to Veggli mountain, where we will go on an easily paced walking tour with Nevada in stunning natural surroundings. If the weather is just right, we will have a view all the way to Gaustatoppen, a beautiful mountain peak. At lunchtime, we will sit down to enjoy our packed lunches from Sevletunet, while we relax and drink in the peace and tranquility of the mountains with our new friends.
An exciting taste experience awaits us in the evening. The coach will take us back to Sevletunet for beer tasting of the local brewery, Numedal Stasjons Bryggeri, often abbreviated to NSB. Local beer enthusiasts established the brewery in the old waiting room at the Rollag railway station in 2014, hence the wordplay on NSB (Norges Statsbaner), and it has remained there ever since. We will sample four different types of beer with a tasty complementary snack menu to bring out the individual flavours of the beers. All of NSB’s different beers have been named after railway stations along the Numedal track. On our beer tasting journey, we will follow the tracks from the southernmost station and taste beers as we pass the different stations to our final destination at Hardangervidda.
After the beer tasting session, it will be time for our main course with inspiration from Nevada: Sevlegutens elgburger, a mooseburger. You will also have the opportunity to buy the type of beer that you feel best accompanies this dish.
Today, we have a full day of Numedal culture in store, something Nevada writes so warmly about on her website, North Wild Kitchen. We will start off with a good breakfast at Sevletunet and then travel by coach to Rollag stave church. Numedal is home to 4 of the remaining 28 stave churches in Norway, which is one of the reasons why it is referred to as The Medieval Valley. What awaits us there is a quaint and beautiful church full of history and tales on a small hill right next to Numedalslågen, the river flowing through Numedal.
After visiting the stave church, the guided tour will continue in the little cluster of historical buildings only a stone’s throw away. This hamlet is built in the style of a typical Numedal farm with a large farmyard surrounded by many buildings. After looking around this hamlet, we will be served rømmegraut, traditional sour cream porridge, with dry cured meats and a a tradtional drink of blackcurrant juice.
After eating one’s fill of sour cream porridge, it is always good to get moving again. So, we will move on to the next item on the programme: a visit to the Medieval Centre. The walking tour begins at the suspension bridge over Numedalslågen and continues over easy terrain for approximately 20 minutes. If anyone does not wish to participate in the walking tour, it is possible to travel to the Medieval Centre on the coach.
The Medieval Centre is an area of approximately 25,000 square meters which is owned and managed by a charity organisation. The centre is used to promote knowledge about old crafts and techniques. Several old timber buildings have been moved to the centre and reconstructed, and the oldest one is a courtroom from Rollag which was built before 1590. In addition to the old buildings, the centre also has a 35-foot-long traditional Viking boat. It is a copy of an archaeological find from a bog in Fjørtoft and was dated as being from the year 850. There was room for 15 adults at a time on board this boat, ten of whom had to be active rowers. If you wish, you can go on a short trip on Numedalslågen river (this can be purchased for an extra fee, and there must be a minimum of 10 people on the trip).
We will gather around the fire where Nevada will invite us to participate in a cooking course using seasonal and local ingredients. She will tell us all about each dish and the stories behind them, while showing us how we are going to prepare everything outside in the open air (weather permitting). Nevada has been interested in food and the history of food for a long time. In her book, she writes that when she first came to Norway, she was happily surprised at the many ingredients she could harvest from nature right outside her front door. She was astonished that the Norwegian cuisine, including everything from smoked salmon to rhubarb juice sweetened with birch sap, had not received more attention. As she met more people with a passion for food and traditions, and was fortunate enough to learn from them, she began to write down everything they taught her. These people gave her inspiration, and this in turn led to her creating her own recipes from local ingredients. She started North Wild Kitchen as a way to share this deep enthusiasm with others.
Together, we will make a three-course menu, and everyone will be involved in preparing the food. When the food is ready, we will sit together at a long table out in the open air and enjoy our meal. If the weather is not on our side, we will move indoors so that we can feast while we warm ourselves next to the fire.
The coach will take us back to Sevletunet in the evening.
(B, L, D)
The last day of our trip has arrived and we will enjoy a final breakfast together. Afterwards, we will pack our bags and say goodbye to Sevletunet and Numedal.