History and Tradition
Innovative Vikings. More than 1000 years ago, the people of Northern Norway discovered how they could preserve the natural wonders of their cold and clear waters. In addition by letting the fish dry outside on wooden racks, they developed a product that is today considered a world-class delicacy. In short Norway is proud to continue this piece of 9th-century Viking innovation that still delights us today.
Throughout history, stockfish has played an essential role for the coastal communities of Northern Norway. Firstly, it has helped them through hard times and was one their richest sources of protein. Secondly, they soon discovered it had an economic value, and stockfish became an important export product. Today, stockfish is enjoyed in many different cultures, its nutritional value and exquisite taste are highly valued.
Consequently Stockfish has always played an important part in Norwegian history and was one of Norway’s first export products. Production processes and methods have not changed much since it all started centuries ago. After the fish is caught, it is gutted and hung on wooden racks outdoors to dry for up to three months. The maturing process then continues indoors for another 4-12 months. To secure the best quality, the space where the fish is stored must always be kept dry and have fresh air circulating. This will develop the unique flavour of the fish and preserve all its nutrients.
Stockfish is a natural product, produced without any kind of additives. Importantly the weather in winter and spring, with its combination of sun, wind and rain, is the only ingredient necessary to perfect this unique product. As a result each production year creates its own unique taste and flavour.
The geographical position of Northern Norway, with its clear, cold water and world-class raw materials, is the key to why Norway is the only place where authentic stockfish is produced.
Stockfish production is carefully managed by Norwegian producers who have developed strict control policies to ensure the absolute top quality of the final product. During the drying season, the stockfish is inspected regularly to make sure these high standards are maintained. The sorted stockfish is graded by quality and size, its then classified into over 20 different categories. The sorting process is traditional craftsmanship done by hand, ensuring a selection to suit every need.