Little yellow squidgy thing in the long grass: I almost stood on it before I realised what it was. And yet, insignificant though it may look, it is one of the most desirable and sought after food commodities: the cloudberry.
The cloudberry: it goes under many different names, depending where in the world it is found. In Norway, it is molte; in North America it is known as the salmonberry and the bakeapple; some people simply call it the yellowberry; others the knotberry; in fancy textbooks of flora it is Rubus chamaemorus.
It is typically found in high northerly latitudes, and this is one of the things, which makes it special. It is one of the few fruits, which grow above the Arctic Circle, making it particularly popular in the countries of Scandinavia.
To discover a patch of cloudberries is like discovering the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Disputes are common between landowners over the rights to particular berry-patches, and the price of cloudberries is formidable. But are they really worth it?
Cloudberries tend to be too acerbic to eat straight from picking, so they are more commonly used in jams and as flavourings in things like yoghurt or alcoholic drinks. The flavour is quite subtle––a foody term for bland––and the flesh of the fruit rather gritty. Perhaps they are an acquired taste?––another foody term meaning ‘not very nice’.
I stumbled across my cloudberry, in a small area of common pasture on the outskirts of Reine in the Lofoten Islands, close to the sea. I could give you the exact GPS co-ordinates, but it might start a stampede and so, instead, I am keeping the location a closely-guarded secret.
© E. C. Glendenny
Travel writer E. C. Glendenny is not sure all the stooping and bending is worth it.