Matpakka - A piece of Norwegian tradition


Get up at 6 am. Stumble in the kitchen to find the bread and slice three slices. Get the toppings from the fridge, two with cheese and one with salami. Then the bread slices stack on top of each other with a piece of paper in between. The stack also gets rapped in parchment paper, and you are ready for work.

This is a typical morning for large portions of the Norwegian population. The day begins with making todays lunch. This is the Norwegian phenomenon of packed lunch, called “matpakke”. Because yes, this is something we Norwegian has come up with. The rest of the world looks strange at us when we at noon starts rustling in the paper to get our open sandwich with cheese that now has become slightly sweaty from laying in the bag.

If you live in Norway, matpakke is something you know whether you are 7 or 70 years old. Already in the kindergarten you start bringing your packed lunch from home. And when it’s time to eat, all the little ones run to their bag to see if they’re lucky enough to get chocolate spread today. This is how it is throughout schooling and turns into such a strong habit that when you start working, you just as easily continue to get up early in the morning to make you matpakke. That way you can still enjoy your sweaty cheese for lunch.


Why do we have matpakker (packed lunch)?

Matpakka is a tradition in Norway that dates back to the 1930s. Because of a government program that wanted to give all schoolchildren a free meal each day. Later, the parents took over the responsibility and the whole thing gradually evolved into the matpakke we know today. Matpakka – which still are the most common way to have lunch in the kindergarten, school, workplace and on hikes, consist of a stack of three or four slices of bread with a layer of meat, fish or cheese on each. But today matpakke is so much more than just a simple package of bread slices, it is a national institution and source of cultural pride.

Another argument is that it is effective. On average, the Norwegian working life has a half-hour lunch break. Therefore, it is only a plus to be able to eat through that half-hour instead of making food or stand in line to buy food.


More than just a few slices of bread.

Our packed lunch, matpakka, has become something more than just bread with cheese. Now we make both healthy buns, salads and various types of porridge that we bring to work. There are constantly new articles on how to make matpakka more appetizing and more nutritious.

Explore Hitra has taken this phenomenon and made our own Matpakka – the taste of Hitra. This is a brochure with the most fantastic food experiences from Hitra. With focus on traditions and local produce. This is food that has roots far back in time and are a part of the history. The produce has traveled so short that it may not even have been in a car. The food is some of the most important part of experiencing Hitra.

Below you will find the brochure Matpakka – The taste of Hitra. Feel free to contact us if you want more information or to book a trip. You can find our contact page here.


Bread with some sweaty cheese.

Food with roots far back in time.

This post is also available in: Norsk bokmål (Norwegian Bokmål)