The 8 Best Norwegian Gifts to Buy in 2018

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Norway, like other Scandinavian countries, is well-known for its craftsmanship and design—as well as for products that both nod to tradition and indulge in a little modern flair. Sadly, we're not all lucky enough to be able to visit the country and bring back gifts for family and friends. But that said, there is another way to buy Norwegian gifts: from the comfort of your own home.  

Read on for some of the best gifts from Norway, from beautifully woven sweaters that'll last a lifetime to body lotions with a mountain-inspired scent that lingers all day. We’ve also included a cookbook—one of the New York Times’ best picks this year—focusing on Norwegian homestyle recipes sure to inspire foodies everywhere. 

Our Top Picks

01 of 08

North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Heart of Norway

North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Heart of Norway

Amazon

In recent years, Nordic cooking has hit the international food scene in a big way, and this cookbook is a great introduction to some of the country's best dishes. The New York Times selected this volume as one of Fall 2018’s best new cookbooks, and it lives up to its title: the author behind the recipes, Nevada Berg, is a Norwegian food blogger who’s something of a star in the Nordic foodie world, and she knows how to prepare great food without much fuss. She taught herself how to cook, and continues to develop recipes and write from her 17th-century farm located on a mountain in the heart of the Norwegian countryside. With such a background, her writing is meant for passionate home cooks—there’s no pretense here. But it’s not just about the recipes in this book — Berg also shares anecdotes from life on the farm, reinforcing the connection to the land that traditional Nordic cuisine emphasizes. 

02 of 08

Gjetost

You might not have heard of this unique cheese before, but if you have a foodie friend, they’re certainly in for a treat when you gift them this delicacy that hails straight from Norway. Known casually as “brown cheese,” it’s not technically cheese at all — instead, brunost is a byproduct of goat’s milk whey. During the production process, the water is boiled down to caramelize the sugar and give a somewhat sweet caramel-y taste that’s unlike any other cheese your jetsetting friend has tried. Suggest that they serve it the Norwegian way by slicing a thin peel off and laying it on a piece of toast or crispbread (some also add strawberry jam on top). Like Marmite, ​they’ll either love it or hate it—but frankly, that’s all the more reason to keep one of the two included packages back for your own Nordic-inspired snacking.

03 of 08

Dale of Norway Men’s Sweater

Dale of Norway Men’s Sweater

Backcountry

One of Norway’s best outputs is their traditional wool knitwear—which makes sense, due to the country’s freezing cold winters and generally chilly temps. Dale of Norway has been making some of the best you can buy for almost 150 years and it’s one of the few companies left that still produces all their sweaters in Norway, from the knit itself down to the last details like leather patches and pewter clasps. This sweater takes traditional Norwegian knit motifs and reinterprets them in a modern way, making it a great pick for a recipient of practically any age—and one that will last for years to come. The sweater is so good, in fact, that Dale of Norway is the company behind the Norwegian ski team’s sweaters at the World Championships and Winter Olympic Games.

04 of 08

Moon Norway Guide

One of the best Norwegian gifts you can give is a guidebook to inspire a trip to the country itself. Norway is a gorgeous place, with dramatic landscapes, charming cities, and an incredible food culture that’s been taking the world by storm. But it’s also quite a pricey country to visit, so if you know your recipient is thinking about going, it can be helpful for them to have some ideas about the places to stay, eat, drink, and visit that are going to be the best value for their money. We love that author David Nikel, who lives in Trondheim, Norway, has years of experience exploring the country and very much knows what he’s talking about (he can even give details like exactly where to stand to best capture the Geirangerfjord waterfalls). There are a few different itineraries for various timelines and budgets—and tips for different types of travelers, including LGBTQ+, seniors, and parents with kids in tow. 

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Helly Hansen Men's Crew Midlayer Sailing Coat

Helly Hansen is one of the best outerwear brands out there, and it happens to be headquartered in Norway’s capital city, Oslo. Since 1877, it's has been focusing on well-made, heavy-duty clothing and gear for working on boats or in the mountains—but you don’t need to fall into either category to be able to appreciate the brand’s quality clothing. This sailing jacket is an excellent value at under $200, with classic style, durable water repellency treatment, fleece lining, and windproof, breathable HellyTech protection. Wearers report that the jacket tends to run on the small side, so we recommend going up a size if your recipient is on the edge or might want to wear a bulkier sweater underneath. The coat is available in white, black, bright nautical blue, and red

06 of 08

Design Basics for Telemark Rosmaling

If you're shopping for someone who loves painting or crafts, then a book about the art of Telemark rosmaling—a traditional folk art hailing from Norway, might be just the thing for them. This art form isn’t as well-known as many other folk arts, and this book by working artist and rosmaling teacher Diane Edwards gently introduces curious artists to the basics. She explains the best ways to mix colors, how to execute the 19 pieces she includes, and how to design patterns yourself—and gives tips about little but crucial details like brush strokes. Once your giftee masters the initial steps, they can still refer to this book: It also includes projects appropriate for intermediate artists. Although there aren’t that many books on the craft out there, readers reported that they found the book extraordinarily helpful and encouraging as they began learning.

07 of 08

Freia Milk Chocolate Kvikk Lunsj Bars

The Freia chocolate brand is practically an institution in Norway, and these bars are ideal stocking stuffers. Out of all of the brand's offerings, Freia’s Kvikk Lunsj — established two years after Kit-Kat in 1937 —are one of the most well-loved. The chocolate-covered wafers are almost identical to Kit-Kats—so similar, in fact, Kit-Kat tried to trademark its four-fingered design, which the Kvikk Lunsj shares, but an EU court denied Kit-Kat’s appeal for exclusivity. Taste tests indicate that the Norwegian bar is superior in terms of taste, with creamier chocolate and an endearing stork motif instead of a corporate logo stamped into the chocolate. Kvikk Lunsj bars are also a little bigger than Kit-Kats, a fact born from its history as a replenishing snack for intrepid Norwegians tackling the great outdoors. 

08 of 08

Laila Hand and Body Cream

Laila Hand and Body Cream

Courtesy of Nordstrom

This Norwegian cosmetic and skincare brand delivers deeply moisturizing body cream that combats the effects of even the harshest Scandinavian winters. We love how quickly it absorbs into skin—there’s no greasy-feeling film left on the surface—and the mountain- and fjord-inspired scent that’s the brand’s signature (think clean and floral, like a flower field on the side of a mountain). Best for those with sensitive and dry skin, this lotion is paraben-free, too. Although you can find the brand’s body washes on Amazon, this lotion is exclusive to Nordstrom, where the Laila scent is one of the department store’s best-selling specialty fragrances (you can also buy the Laila perfume here).