One of the participants was Eve Kay, acclaimed Emmy-winning producer of documentaries, specialist factual and factual entertainment. Recent productions include Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy series about Italian culinary culture, screened on CNN. Eve was recently awarded Producers Guild of America Award, and nominated for seven and awarded two Emmys, including one for Outstanding Hosted Non-Fiction Series.

It was an amazing trip! My overall feeling was that Norway is like a fantastic neighbor that the British people next door literally have not a single clue about. We know nothing about this incredible country on our doorstep!
Eve Kay

Travelling back in time

The trip started at the traditional mountain village of Røros, known for its mining industry. Today, the village, located in Trøndelag, features one of the largest collections of wooden buildings in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

When they first arrived, the group spotted an albino reindeer sitting in a field with some other reindeer. “It was explained by our guides Solveig and Rune that this was good luck, and so it was. I felt like the luckiest producer in the UK to be on that trip through Norway. We had such a fantastic time.”

In Røros they had the chance to visit old copper mines, dating back to 1644. “The copper mine was vast and well-preserved and helped build a vivid picture of how hard life must have been 50-200 years ago and even further back.”

The producers were also impressed by the local cuisine. “We had supper by the side of the local lake with a food producer who introduced us to his free-range pork, handpicked chanterelles, mountain potatoes and spring cabbage. We had local cloud berries with panna cotta for dessert. This meal is one of the best I’ve eaten anywhere in the world, and I’ll never forget it. The setting in a cabin by the lakeside was also stunning,” she says.

Savouring Norwegian seafood

From Røros the group travelled by westward across the mountains to Ansnes on the coast. “On the ride, which was visually magnificent, we spotted a herd of reindeer on the hilltops. I was struck by how much water there was everywhere and how the region is blessed by plentiful rainfall. At Ansnes we suited up, signed away our rights and took a crazy rib boat at top speed to Sula. We learnt about Sula’s fishing history and drove past fish farms and old boat wrecks.”

Bogøya, Frøya. Photographer: Marius Rua

They returned by speedboat on the bumpy waves to Ansnes Brygger, a restaurant located at Hitra that is famous for serving delicious seafood. “The magnetic Magnus who had deputized on the boat suddenly turned into our waiter and showed us how to eat the crab and shell the langoustines. At the end of this incredible shellfish feast, Magnus suddenly reappeared as the entertainer with a guitar and sang his heart out. What a guy, what a feast and what a day!”

Eve Kay with dried cod on Bogøya
Bogøya. Photographer: Rune Karlsen

And the trip was far from over! On day three, they explored the island of Frøya and learnt how it’s geographic position in the Gulf stream had turned it into a fishing mecca and how the fishing farms had developed the island in recent years. “We had lunch at Hurran Spiseri and were served by Sarah, one of the sisters who set up the sheep farm and restaurant. She was such a gorgeous, lovely person and the food was delicious and beautifully presented.”

Iconic hotel

Later that day, the group travelled by car through the coastal region to Trondheim, staying at the recently renovated 5-star hotel Britannia (a member of The Leading Hotels of the World) where they also have the MICHELIN Star restaurant Speilsalen. They relaxed at the 1,400m² Brittania Spa before a speed dating event with a group of local Norwegian producers in the hotel bar.

In the evening, the group went to To Rom og Kjøkken, one of Trondheim’s top restaurants. “We had reindeer which was surprisingly tender and melted in the mouth with flavor.”

On day four, they walked around the town and visited the Nidaros Cathedral – an ornate Gothic masterpiece. The building’s construction was started in 1070, is Norway’s national shrine and northern Europe’s most important pilgrimage site. The group climbed to the top to see the stunning views of the city and the port. “The lighting in the cathedral had recently been replaced and updated and it really gave the place the most beautiful and atmospheric aura.”

Road along Andøya island
Andøya island. Photographer: Steffen Fossbakk

From Trondheim the group travelled north, to Andøya island located in the Vesterålen district of Nordland County. The film commissioner in Northern Norway, Hilde Korsæth, took them on a magical mystery tour of the island where they climbed an amazing lighthouse, visited the beautiful sandy beach of Bleik and drove past the new space and military installations at Andøya Space. “The sharp contrast of these installations amidst all the beauty of the landscape struck me as super interesting. They share a border with Russia, so Norway’s geopolitical and strategic importance in NATO and the world has suddenly become heightened.”

Eyes opened to Norway

Looking back on the trip, Kay says she made many new friends from both the UK and Norway as she discovered Norway. “I have had my eyes opened to the massive beauty and potential of Britain’s northern neighbor. Off the back of the trip my goal is to develop a food travelogue that I would then go on to produce. Norway is in my blood now. It was an unforgettable experience and one I’d like to share with viewers, be they American, British or Norwegian. I would also like to add a huge thank you to Solveig Sigmond Ræstad, Rune, Meghan, Stine and Hilde. They were such fun. so informative, so helpful and just great company!”

The FAM trip across Trøndelag and Northern Norway for producers from the UK was arranged by Midgard Film Commission, Northern Norway Film Commission, and the Norwegian Film Commission with the generous support of Innovation Norway, Frøya kommune, Explore Trøndelag, and Destination Røros.

Eve Kay is an award-winning British producer with 25 years of experience across a wide range of factual genres. Coming from the BBC Multicultural Programmes Unit, she joined RDF in 1997 where she helped co-create the hit series Scrapheap Challenge and made other hit shows like Shipwrecked, working her way up to series producer. Kay left to become a freelance producer in 2005 and in 2008 won her first RTS for the campaigning documentary series, Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, followed by her second RTS for executive producing a Panorama special access documentary, Kids in Care. In 2018 Kay joined Raw Productions and a year later executive produced two series of the food documentary travelogue, Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy, winning the Producers Guild of America Award, two Emmys, as well as a Realscreen and Critic’s Choice award. Her most recent series, Eva Longoria Searching for Mexico, airs on CNN.