When Norwegian foodies travel abroad, we drool. When in Florence, the central food market is just as impressive as any works of Renaissance art. In London the main attraction is Borough Market. We envy our Swedish friends in Stockholm and Gothenburg who have well established food halls where they can stock up for the weekend.
There have been loose plans for several years to set up something in Oslo, but the question is how realistic this is. There is one butcher’s shop left in Oslo, and the fishmongers are few and far between. To my knowledge there are two cheese shops in what passes for a European capital.
There is good new, then that there are two food Emporia under construction on opposite sides of town.
Mathallen Vulkan is on the Eastern side of Oslo, but within walking distance of downtown. This is a recycled industrial building, and the sketches look really attractive. Due to open in the autumn of 2012. They are obviously aware of the present market trends, so beer will be prominently featured. 3500 square meters, according to the brochure.
On the other edge of town, at Skøyen, there is a new building rising, due to be finished in early 2012. This is also on an old industrial estate, filling in one of the last pieces of land wedged between the railway station and the main road to the West. They aim for 1500 square meters of food, spread over a dozen smaller shops and restaurants. The owners estimate that 100 000 people either live in the area or pass by on their way to and from work. They have invited one of the established Norwegian micro breweries to open a beer bar in the complex.
It seems to me that the concepts are quite similar. They aim for professionals and amateurs, for local shoppers and tourists. They will have conventional shops, take away and sit down dining. There will be product launches and events.
I wish both of them the best of luck, I hope the market is mature and ready enough. But two at the same time is possibly one too many.
As for the beery side of things, Norwegian legislation stops any take away sales for beer above 4.7%. The same goes for wine and cider. I think an outlet for the state Vinmonopolet stores is necessary for this concept to work.