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I’m not here long, and so won’t see very much…but Norway seems to be a very cool country. (And not just the weather.)

Driving around the outskirts of Oslo yesterday, visiting a warehouse and store as a guest of Spar International – I’m here speaking at its annul LogIT Conference, where I’ve found in the attendees a remarkable sense of fellowship – there was the opportunity to get a sense of the gorgeous environment: the expansive waters, the beautiful city of steel and wood and enormous glass windows that reflect the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. We went to the terrific Maritime Museum for dinner this evening, and had a chance to get some perspective on how closely this country’s fortunes and history have been tied to the sea.

During the afternoon yesterday, we had a chance to visit Jacob’s, a gourmet grocery store that dates back to 1926, but remains a remarkable and vibrant retailing endeavor. Two things I liked a lot – its use of an upstairs kitchen, where a local celebrity chef was teaching cooking classes, creating a real sense of community with the half-dozen people attending. Hardly a unique idea, but I liked the intimacy of this particular venture – it was small enough to have the patina of a gathering of friends. And, the chilled cases had these wonderful plexiglass doors that managed to save money on energy while actually making the product look better – the plexiglass actually made the chilled products glisten. And, the doors were thin enough that they didn’t resemble the bulky freezer doors we’re all used to.

By the way, the Norwegian beer is great. I had two Pilsners – one by Hansa, which was cold and refreshing, and a Ringnes, which came in this bizarre misshapen bottle but would have tasted good out of a paper cup.

The conference has been held at a terrific hotel in the mountains above Oslo – the Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica, which resembles a country lodge, but has a wonderful gourmet restaurant, De Fem Steur, on the premises. Two nights ago, I enjoyed a simple meal: starting out with a lovely and delicate carpaccio of ocean crayfish served with Iranian caviar and quail egg, followed by a flavorful filet of roe deer with grilled game sausage and cream of Jerusalem artichokes. We washed this down with a delicious 2003 Cote du Rhone Rasteau, and followed the whole thing with a dessert of Norwegian Cloudberry mousse served with Lakka-coulis and cacao sorbet.

Tough life, eh?

(Don’t tell Mrs. Content Guy. She thinks I’m working.)

Back home this afternoon…and then out to Oregon, where I’ll be attending and speaking at the annual Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Conference. That’s just the beginning…then I have to fly to Barcelona to speak at the always provocative CIES Future Leaders Conference, and then back to Las Vegas to speak at GEMCON.

This is sort of like my version of the latest Rolling Stones tour, except without the groupies and I look marginally better than Keith Richards.

And I’ll betcha I can find good stuff to eat and drink in all those places.

What can I say? I have a gift.

Have a great weekend.

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