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Svalbard, - Pure enjoyment of experiences!

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Nature, darkness, snowmobiles, dog sledding, dining experiences and entertainment on a continuous basis. We must not forget all the nice people who lives here and the moon that gives us that little something extra!

It's a beautiful winter's day when the alarm clock rings at 06:30, and at Gardermoen airport, Norwegian is waiting to take us to Svalbard. Now we will enjoy some wonderful culinary days with good food, organized by PopUp Norge, in addition to several outdoor experiences together with Svalbard Adventures. This should be fun!

The food festival in itself sounds exciting and I can already tell that this is something to look forward to. Not only that, but there are several exciting experiences that await, e.g. snowmobiling, dog sledding and mine visits. PopUp Norway is organized every week from the end of January until 18 March, so it's not too late to make the trip to Svalbard. Not just snow and ice! As I said, Svalbard is not just snow and ice, there are also events on an ongoing basis. This first week in February, the city is also filled with Polar Jazz enthusiasts. The sideman on the flight up said that this was an annual event that had become a success. He went on to say that most were sold out, but I am strong in my faith, so I will probably get a ticket. Otherwise, the plane was full of both Norwegians and foreign tourists, all of whom were filled with expectations for the experiences Svalbard and Longyearbyen have to offer! Remember to plan your own stay so that you have a wonderful and content-rich long weekend. If you want a little help, Svalbard Adventures offers complete package tours, which include everything you are likely to want.

We have booked into Polarfareren Hotell and are ready for the first activity on the agenda, an exciting dinner at Gruvelagret. Gruvelagert was voted the city's best restaurant in 2019, the year before the pandemic. Now it will be exciting to see if they still manage to stay at the very top. Tonight we will enjoy ourselves in this unique restaurant. If you want, you can read a bit about the story, just click on the link below here.

Let's cover some history of the Gruvelagert first.

They say themselves: We are proud to have restored the Mine Warehouse in Sverdrupbyen and converted it into a unique and new function room and restaurant. The venue has a long history and is themed with a focus on early coal extraction and mining in Svalbard. The kitchen bears the stamp of rustic elegance, and real, honest and arctic food is our signature. Mine warehouse, a unique dining experience. Imagine that you have been on an adventurous trip with a snowmobile or dog sled. You will have time to relax a bit at the hotel before heading up to Gruvelagret, to enjoy a wonderful atmosphere and atmosphere and, not least, a wonderful meal of food and drink. This was my first visit to this restaurant that everyone raves about, so I have to admit that my expectations were high. The first expectations are confirmed when we get out of the taxi and look in through a large window. It looked really nice here.

We are received by a smiling serving staff and the butler, with the catchy name of Sebastian Bach. You can actually see in him that he is proud of what he will present and serve us. There is always something about the welcome itself, it sort of sets the tone, and so did our Bach.

Bio Vegan Asolo Prosecco with notes of pear, apple and citrus was served as an aperitif. The welcome and aperitif often top the list in terms of what we can look forward to and this just has to be good. So let's "throw" ourselves over the food that was now served. For starters, we were served a Sancerre Comte Lafond de Ladoucette. This is a dry Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, Loire, France. Mineral, round and powerful in the mouth with good acids and a long aftertaste.

With this wonderful wine, the appetizer was a completely new experience. We had never before been served cod in this way and with this taste. Our Svalbard cod was served with charcoal-grilled heart salad, pickled Jerusalem artichoke and beurre blanc, a butter sauce with flying fish caviar. Wow, this was a wonderful experience!

Around us, the other guests were enjoying themselves and it was clear that the experience had begun, and the expectations were looking forward to the rest of the meal. Sebastian presented a bottle of Philipp Kuhn Pinot Noir. This is a medium-bodied Pinot Noir from the Palatinate region in Germany. We had a taste, and the palate encountered an elegant aroma of dried plums, almonds, and cherries as well as chocolate and leather. Or to put it more simply - it tasted fantastic. The main course was presented by Sebastian who happily told us that we got a Pigwings, which is part of the pork knuckle. It was served with traditional potato cream, roasted root vegetables, and a kimchi based sauce, another wow. This was so tender and tasty that it was hard not to let out "sounds" of satisfaction. This was just lovely. Together with the wine selection, this was almost better than expected. Wow! The conversation is flowing and the atmosphere is very good. What they should also be praised for is the adjusted time between dishes, which meant that we had time to enjoy those flavors to the fullest!

Then it was time for dessert. We were excited to see what they would conjure up to end this delightful meal. That it was a tart shell filled with mullet fluid gel, cardamom and browned butter ice cream, creme anglaise with almonds and lemon zest was a good choice. Not too much, not too little, just good! The wine was the same that we were served as avec, i.e. a Sancerre Comte Lafond de Ladoucett!

Then all you have to do is say thank you for a wonderful meal and then I hope that our recommendation of this great restaurant makes you want to try it out for yourself. When you leave the restaurant, you may have the same experience as us. Then the road goes back to Hotell Polfareren and a good night's sleep on the wonderful mattresses you get here. Good night.

Today it's snowmobiling. After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, it is ready for a new day of adventures. YR says that it will be a great winter's day and then you can just look forward to snowmobiling with skilled guides from Svalbard Adventures.

What time of year you are up here, your experience varies in relation to the light. We were here in the first week of February and it was quite dark then, but wow. Imagine all this magical nature and then the full moon appears! Yes, it makes everything even more beautiful. It is ten o'clock and we are picked up at the hotel. Around eleven o'clock we were ready to leave, after an important information review and distribution of equipment and clothes. Remember, you must have your driver's license with you to be able to drive a scooter.

My tips for clothing on a snowmobile trip

If you have not driven a scooter before, you will get a good introduction to snowmobile driving before the trip starts, and remember that all drivers must have a valid driving licence. Svalbard Adventures recommends that guests drive their own snowmobiles because it is easier and safer. Some choose to book the trip as a driver with a passenger and that is of course fine. If - have a valid driver's license, you can switch to driving. license Now we are ready and our trip goes from Longyearbyen in varied terrain towards Elveneset, a lookout point at the end of De Geerdalen. We had several stops on the way to look out over Sassenfjorden, Tempelfjorden, and Billefjorden. Once there we got a hot cup of drink and some biscuits. New tip: If you pack a couple of slices of bread with you and put them in a pocket, you probably won't regret it.

What is so exciting about these trips is the experience of darkness, light and nature. You can look at great pictures, but experiencing this for yourself is just amazing. I want to mention the moon again because it helps make the experience something extra. After all, this will never end, like on the headland where we are surrounded by wild fjords and mountain scenery. On the other side of the fjord, we can glimpse the mountain Templet, which has been called "the world's most beautiful mountain" by local trappers. The mountain sounds its name. The lines and shape of the mountain tell us about Svalbard's climate history and can remind us of a colossal temple. The fjord arms we see around us are the roads to important historic land areas for Svalbard.

If you're lucky, you can explore the terrain at Elveneset and perhaps visit a frozen waterfall before heading back to Longyearbyen. I absolutely recommend this and or other trips during your stay in Svalbard. Good trip!

Thank you for a wonderful trip After a long day on tour, it's always good to come back to Hotel Polfareren and maybe sit down to relax in front of the fireplace with something to drink, before showering to get ready for the evening's great dining experience in Gruve 3.

Peiskos på Svalbard Hotell (C) Ingar Næss

PopUp Norway in Svalbard for the second time! We are looking forward to it, because we have heard a lot about this. Now we are going on a completely unique dining experience, as I said in Gruve 3 on Svalbard. PopUp Norway will repeat last year's success. Imagine that it is only these eight weeks that this restaurant exists, all so that you as a food enthusiast will get something extra!

PopUp Norge i Gruve 3 (c) Ingar Næss

If you have now fancied a spontaneous trip to Svalbard, you should know that every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the period 26 January 2023 - 18 March 2023 you are hereby invited.(Klikk her for alle)

Our team was at the opening weekend with Team Ciderhuset - welcome! We are ready and walk the few meters from the hotel down to the bus that will take us up to Mine 3. The trip takes a few minutes and we are guided into the mine itself, for a short historical lecture and a welcome drink. This will be exciting and we are looking forward to it. It doesn't take long before we get a presentation and some singing as an aperitif, an exquisite Champagne Brut Numero 3 Philizot, from France. Then the delights can just flow, we're ready. The evening's PopUp chefs are from Team Ciderhuset, which consists of Gard, Tuba and Alis. They have traveled all the way from the little fjord pearl in Sogn up to Longyearbyen to serve us!

The first starter is, Sigarbörek, which is served with goat's cheese from Skjerdal Stølsysteri, and red cabbage salad and arugula. This dish is visited by a Vestland cider Ca N'Estruc Bi Muscat 2021, Catalonia, Spain.

Here you can read the entire menu and all the wines

When we've eaten our way through all the dishes, including dessert and coffee, we're in for a treat. It has been a true experience to enjoy this wonderful menu inside Gruve 3, together with Gard and Tuba. Great and different concept! There is a good atmosphere in the venue and the guests are enjoying themselves and several people are sitting around chatting, so the bus has to wait for the last guests. After another evening, it's enough to say thank you very much for the food and drink, this was a wonderful experience. When we leave Gruve 3, we encounter the polar night and Svalbard's wonderful darkness and nature.

Then it's down to the hotel Polfareren and tomorrow dog sledding is on the agenda. Today it's out for a walk with Svalbard Husky It is exciting to see what kind of weather we will have today, when we are going out to enjoy ourselves with the dogs from Svalbard Husky. It is possible that I am repeating myself, but I am really looking forward to this. First, we will get to meet close to 100 Alaskan Huskies, all of whom just want to greet you and have a little cuddle. Then it is the case that some of them, maybe one, you become a little extra concerned with. The breed they use is very family friendly and there is no reason to be anxious if you are afraid of dogs.

Kelsey og Michael fra Svalbard Husky

We are picked up at the hotel by our guides Kelsey and Michael. You notice it right away, these are good people. They love dogs, especially Huskies and enjoy new visitors every day. This is their life. Afraid of dog! Back to the dogs. We had a person with us who was a bit reserved towards dogs, but after some guarantees and advice about the way she should meet the dogs, - she took the plunge. I just have to say it like it is. Seeing someone who is afraid or reserved of dogs become happy and able to enjoy themselves with them - yes, that is one of the nicest things I know.

All you have to do is say good luck, now it probably won't be long before there will be a dog on your lap at home too. Now the start of this sleigh ride got even better and it was absolutely top notch. Part of the scheme is that you yourself have to help put the dogs in the pack and it went like clockwork. We had good helpers and got tips and advice, so a few minutes later we were in our sleds. Everyone had put on their warm clothes and equipment. I repeat everything I wrote regarding the scooter ride and clothes. The same applies here as well. Remember to bring heating soles/insoles.

Then we are ready and the beautiful nature of Svalbard embraces us. We are again very lucky with the weather and when the moon rises behind one of the majestic mountains in Adventdalen, it becomes absolutely heavenly. Adventdalen's name comes from adveture / adventure! And as I said part became an adventure. You can only look forward to the fact that you too will get to experience this adventure up close. Enjoy!

When we are back at the camp, the dogs are happy, rolling in the snow and you can see that they are happy with the day. So are we. Thank you very much for a great experience, here you just have to book a trip. We are transported back to the hotel and it is lovely to meet the lovely mattress at Hotel Polfareren, it is really good. At least for my back. Before I got that far, I met an English couple, Martin and Debbie, who had just got married here in Svalbard. When I asked why here, they say; There are probably not many places in the world that are more beautiful than Svalbard. Here it is just a matter of wishing it luck and welcome back.

Nygifte og lykkelige Martin og Debbie fra Surry i England.

Always exciting activities! When you are going to Svalbard, it is important that you also check which activities you want to take part in. I'm not talking about nature experiences, but about everything else they have to offer. For example, Polar Jazz, which starts tonight, i.e. Thursday of the first week in February. In addition, they have several great offers throughout the year, such as the Arctic Chamber Music Festival, Solfestuka, Spitsbergen Marathon, Oktoberfest and Smak Svalbard and Dark Season Blues to name a few. Polar Jazz I got to see several great concerts with e.g. Silje Nergaard with Espen Berg, Gisle Børge Styve's Orchestra, Tora, Thomas Dybdahl, Pitsj and Thea Wang.

I will post some samples on several Facebook and Instagram profiles and groups "We should have been here," writes one of those who have followed e.g. Facebook, well what are you waiting for, I say. I will post some samples on several Facebook and Instagram profiles and groups "We should have been here," writes one of those who have followed e.g. Facebook, well what are you waiting for, I say. Polfareren hotel, a small food mecca! When you get here and choose a place to stay, you can make it easy to check in at the Polfareren hotel. The advantage is that you then stay at the hotel that has the best food. I will enjoy it on the last evening in Svalbard, for this time. The restaurant has been recognized several times for its food and expectations are high, but they manage to surpass Gruvelagert. I can't wait, again! Let's just get one thing out of the way right away, they are two completely different premises, that's all. This should only be about the food. Now I have decided to go a little extra in detail on this presentation. The menu is based on seasonal produce and they say that the team has drawn inspiration from Norwegian and local produce. The chefs are good at modern techniques to give us both a pleasant, but not least exciting dining experience. Regardless of the season, the short-traveled ingredients and home-produced food are the keys to a good taste experience. The kitchen team works closely with local fishermen and harvests seaweed, kelp and mushrooms from the beautiful Svalbard landscape. The serving staff is two girls in their twenties, who both love the Norwegian climate and not least the nature of Svalbard.

Eyoanan is from Nigeria and Dagmar comes from Slovakia. The chef, Håkon Johansen, comes from Henningsvær and he is also looking forward to this evening. Since I am early, in order to make it to one of the concerts, I have the restaurant almost to myself. I am greeted by the two pleasant and cheerful waiters. They show me to the table and serve me a glass of A.D. Coutelas Cuvee, Champagne as an aperitif. It is perfectly tempered and tastes absolutely delicious. I get time to calm down before the first starter arrives. It's cod from Svalbard with horseradish and potato cream, roe roe, nori flakes and fried leeks.

Since I had an amazing Svalbard cod a few days ago, I thought I would compare these two against each other, but no. Since there were two completely different preparation methods and garnishes, it didn't work, but just note that this dish, too, was absolutely fantastic. Wow! The wine for the first appetizer was the same as the aperitif, a full-bodied and balanced Champagne, with flavors of green apple, citrus and minerals with a hint of vanilla This was actually better than expected. As I sat there enjoying the aftertaste, I took a bit of the bread to soak up all the flavors that were left. There is something about food that can be enjoyed, it is like a symphony. I won't exaggerate, but that fish, that spice, where will this end? When I sit and philosophize, wine number two comes with the second starter. This is a Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay from 2020. A semi-dry white wine with a medium body. It has a somewhat surprising taste of vanilla, pear, and a little citrus, which actually melts on the tongue like butter. This will be exciting.

The dish is presented, and I am asked if I have tasted seal tartare before. The answer is no and the expectation increases a little further. The dish looks very exciting, great presentation. Then I'll taste ringed seal tartar from Svalbard, with wasabi cream, fried soba noodles, pickled yellow beetroot and ponzu foam. I taste the wine, take a small bite with all the flavors and let it wander in my mouth. There I felt the wasabi cream, it stung a bit. I took another sip from the wine glass and dove into this slightly foreign appetizer, which just got better and better. It's amazing how much short-distance food can provide pleasure, when the chef knows his job. This was something for both the eyes and the palate, and I thought of the last time I used that expression. It was when I wrote an article from Tuscany. Yes, why not. This is at least as good. A new wine presentation was underway that would suit one of my favorites, namely reindeer. The main course was Svalbard reindeer, served with a brand new and very exciting black garlic and celery root puree, fondant potato and demiglace. It was a tenderloin, with a bit of chewing resistance, but incredibly good.

I am tasting the wine which is a red wine from 2019, Zenato Valpolicella Superiore. It fit perfectly. I took another small bite and made sure to include the puree, then tasted the wine again. Wow, here there was a very good balance, medium body. Believe it or not, but the nose smells of dark blue plums, a little pepper and dark chocolate. For those who are not fond of too many tannins, this is a good choice, in addition, it is actually quite dry. Now I'm enjoying myself, this is a hit for my palate. I ask for a little extra of this red wine to allow all the flavors to fall into place. I sit and think about where I'm going to eat next to find something that tastes just as good. I had almost forgotten that there was going to be dessert too. I had got a couple on the neighboring table, and they wondered how it tasted. Yes say it, what could I say but the truth? Perfect.and It is the case that food often tastes better in good company, but I probably wouldn't have been able to concentrate as much on the food as I did. In any case, we easily got started with the conversation and there is no doubt that the dessert tasted absolutely delicious, together with this nice couple who visited Svalbard for the first time.

I got a brown ice cream with cranberry jelly and shortbread biscuits. Ice cream is always good, and with a cup of coffee and a Beerenauslese Exquisite, sweet, fresh dessert wine, it was an absolutely lovely ending before I went to a concert at Polar Jazz with Silje Nergård. This was a fantastic end to four days here on Svalbard. If you are in doubt, there is only one way to find out if you regret it, and that is to go up and experience it for yourself. There are still several weeks left of the PopUp Norway food festival and all the other experiences that are just waiting for you and or you. Must see, must do! Book a ticket here- Norwegian when you are going to Svalbard.

Norwegian landing in the summer time (c) Ingar Naess

Always nice to fly with Norwegian. I hope you also will have a great trip.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


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