On Tuesday my Norsk Høstfest hosts Suzanne and Larry invited me, Chef Stig, and his wife for a pre-Abbacadabra concert dinner. Chef Stig contributed a wheel of his blue sheep cheese, one of many cheeses he makes in Montana.
I come from the Dairyland. We take for granted artisan producers and grassfed cows. Our cheese mongers carry all manner of fresh and aged cheeses in cow, sheep, and goat. They import cheese from every corner of the earth. My cheese drawer overflows onto the shelf. We are never without good and great cheese. Yes Stig's rich creamy brie dotted with blue ash was life changing. This is the best cheese I have ever tasted.
Back at Norsk Høstfest the hall smelled of the lutfisk that had been cooking all day. We took our seats for the ABBA tribute band concert. Now, where I come from we tease about the intense reserve of our Scandinavian roots. There is a comfortable stand-offishness that we consider to be good manners. But Minnesota has nothing on our North Dakota friends! While I could hardly control myself, dancing in my seat and singing along, the rest of the audience sat stoically as the performers pranced across the stage and belted out a perfect ABBA performance. By the "Dancing Queen" encore the crowd stood, although possibly to stretch rather than to dance. We had a blast.
I woke up Wednesday morning wondering if it had all been a dream. I trudged down to breakfast and there on the buffet were lefse rolls and flatbread. If this is a dream, please don't wake me.
Clicking my heels and heading back to Høstfest, this time the Fairgrounds smelled of meatballs and cinnamon almonds. Accordion players in costume greeted me with folk music. On the Nordic Kitchen stage we prepared Scandinavian treats and cajoled the crowds. Vikings, trolls, and a troop of singing children wandered in and out of Hellsinki Hall. I met Ms. Norsk Høstfest and purchased an entire round of lefse for only ONE DOLLAR!
The best way to describe Høstfest is it is as if the Minnesota State Fair and Midsommar at American Swedish Institute had a beautiful baby, and I get to hold her all week long.