March 22, 2010 § 49 Comments
You know how some foods, with one bite or even sniff, can plunge you instantly into a different time and place, immersing you in memories and a flood of sensations beyond just the surface sensory experience of eating that food? More than any other food, boller do that for me. The spicy smell of cardamom as I break one open, the pillowy soft texture, the mild sweetness and the bursts of plump raisins as I eat one, conjures up granite rocks warm from the sun under foot and the salty cold north sea splashing up into my face. I’m a little girl, scrambling in the mountains of Norway and playing on the beach, swimming and fishing for crabs. My mom, sitting with an ever present cup of coffee, has just called to us that she has brought boller with her, and we can have a snack if we’re hungry.
Boller are one of the most common and beloved snacks in Norway. Kind of as chocolate chip cookies are to Americans, boller are to Norwegians. But, given the choice between a bolle and a chocolate cookie, I’d take the bolle any day! They are a milk based bread, so they are very soft and chewy. They’re slightly sweet, but not overly sweet like so many American baked goods are. And, they are lightly scented with cardamom, the most delicious spice in the whole world, so how can you go wrong? You can find them fresh baked daily in any bakery and even any gas station. You can also buy bags of them in the grocery store, which is very convenient for taking to the beach. (Yes, there are beaches in Norway, and as soon as it’s sunny and above 65F it’s a national duty to start tanning!)