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Authentic Arctic Smoked Salmon à la Hegelund

When Morten C. Hegelund arrived in Karlsøy in 1635, he brought much more than his own person and possessions; he took with him his familial culture of Danish refinement encompassing, among other things, traditional knowledge of smoked salmon, cooking and food preparation.

By the 17th century, smoked salmon was already a well-established fare, both in Scandinavia and further south on the continent. Traditionally laid in a salt bath, rinsed, and smoked for a period ranging from a few hours to several days, smoked salmon first became a staple food of the high society in France, before becoming popular throughout Northern Europe as well.

Now living right by the outstanding salmon-lakes of Ringvatnet and Skogsfjordvatnet, once owned of the powerful bishop of Trondheim, the Hegelunds were able, through trial and error, to fuse this aristocratic tradition with unique local knowledge.

Cold-smoking the fish over a juniper fire, adding various spirits to the filets during the smoking process, and other similar innovations ultimately resulted in some of the most-celebrated gourmet dishes on this side of the Arctic Circle.

Fueled by their customary passion for everything food-related and an uncommon pioneering spirit, the family slowly developed their own recipes and gastronomical traditions; traditions that survive to this day through the works of the House of Hegelund.


  • Fjelde Larsen, Marion (2014). Næringsmangfoldet ved kysten i middelalderen. In Nils Kolle and Alf Ragnar Nielsen (Eds): Norges fiskeri- og kysthistorie, Fangstmenn, fiskerbønder og værfolk, fram til 1720. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget Vigmostad & Bjørke AS (233-260).
  • Johnsen, Henry (2005). Røking av mat, fra hobby til lidenskap. Oslo: Landbruksforlaget.
  • Kaspersen, Ardis (1990). Havgodt fra Nord-Norge. Oslo: Cappelen.
  • Waldenström, Victor (2001). Laks!. Trans. Mette-Cathrine Jahr. Oslo: Cappelen

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