What's cooking: Celebrating Nordic food, a buffalo council and three cheers for Taste

  • Updated: September 26, 2013 - 2:39 PM
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Minnesotans enjoy some of the best Scandinavian cuisine around, thanks to Fika at the American Swedish Insitute.

Photo: RICH TSONG-TAATARII • rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com,

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Yah shure, we’re cool

Gode nyheter, or good news, coming from New York City, which is hosting its first Nordic Food Festival Oct. 2-7. Scandinavian food is hotter than ever, according to an item in Metro, a free daily paper “designed for young and ambitious professionals” in 100 major cities worldwide. As gastronomic festivals go, this is big. It features NYC chefs who hail from Scandinavian countries, but also chefs being flown in from their native fjords. Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef Marcus Samuelsson, whose Aquavit restaurant got rave reviews here for almost five years before closing in 2003, is quoted as saying that Scandi food has overcome being considered a trend and is here to stay.

“Good food is good food,” he says. “We will pickle and preserve, we will smoke, we will always have good seafood. Trends come and go, but if it’s good quality and the technique and products are great, people start to incorporate it in their food. The food of Scandinavia has a point of view and it has always been unique.” The next step will be getting Scandinavian food items in stores, similar to how we expect olive oil from Italy or kimchi from Korea, he said.

Lingonberries and reindeer in the grocery aisles? Stay tuned. And for all the details on the Nordic Food Festival, visit www.honestcooking.com and click on the North Festival.

Make-A-Wish goes foodie

Two fundraisers for Make-A-Wish Minnesota (www.mn.wish.org) are on tap in October in each of the Twin Towns. “Delicious Wishes” is Oct. 10 in the ALL Inc. showroom in St. Paul and will feature food and wine from some of the region’s best chefs and specialty foods shops including Mill Valley Kitchen and Marin Restaurant and Bar, Patisserie 46, Cupcake and more, with wines from local vineyards such as Chankaska Creek Ranch and Parley Lake Winery. Each chef putting their skills on display may be partnered with a Make-A-Wish child for the event. Tickets are $70 through http://bit.ly/16Ld2EE.

On Oct. 17 at the Crystal Kitchen Center, “Wine, Women and Wishes” takes place, with cooking demonstrations by chef David Fhima of FACES, exercise demonstrations by Steele Fitness, fashion by the Shops at West End, cocktails by 2 Gingers Whiskey, and more. Tickets are $50 through http://bit.ly/133U3qp.

Where the buffalo counsel

The energy around eating bison came together this month with the launch of the Bison Council, whose goal is to promote the health, safety and taste of bison meat, primarily in place of beef. The council touts bison as being up to 84 percent lower in fat than beef, with about half the calories. As a spokesman put it: “There are misperceptions that it is a wild food, that it’s hard to find or that it’s expensive.” Bison is in many Byerly’s, Lunds and Kowalski stores here. The website features expert tips and recipes, such as grilled bison sliders with blueberry BBQ sauce. To learn more, visit www.thebisoncouncil.com.

Save the date

The third annual Charlie Awards, which honor the Twin Cities restaurant, food and beverage industry, will be held Nov. 17 at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the main show and after-party are $35; add a VIP dinner and it’s $125. They’ll be available online at www.charliesexceptionale.com, which also has all the event details. (Tickets also are available at the box offices of the State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres or at any Ticketmaster outlet.)

Three cheers!

The Taste section won two out of three awards in its category by the Association of Food Journalists, both in the “special projects” category. The three-part series “Letters from France” by freelance writer Steve Hoffman, with photos by Mary Jo Hoffman, won second place. The Taste team won third place for its Taste 50 special section, a presentation of 50 people who had made a difference in our local food world.

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