Lefse: A Minnesota Holiday Favorite
No true Minnesotan can let a holiday season go by without a piece of homemade lefse, the potato based Norwegian flatbread traditionally spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon, or used in place of bread to wrap ham and eggs, fish, peanut butter or just about anything else you can imagine.
In the Midwest, lefse is available in many supermarkets, but a homemade slice can be found in numerous bakeries and stores around the state.
For the so-called “World’s Best Lefse,” visit The House of Jacobs in Central Minnesota. The store offers wholesale and mail-order lefse, mixes and cooking tools out of its Spicer, Minn., location, or purchased at Cornerstone Coffee in Willmar
Other Minnesota-made lefse includes:
- Lena’s Lefse, from Ulen, Minnesota near Moorehead. Made from Red River Valley-grown potatoes. The store also operates a lefse “Emergency Hotline.”
- Mrs. Olson’s Lefse has been making its homemade lefse in Gonvick, MN since 1959.
- In bluff country, try Norsland Lefse, open six days a week in Rushford. Visitors can tour the lefse factory and shop in the bakery and gift shop, offering lefse, cookies and other sweets, and Scandinavian gifts.
- Just west of Alexandria in Oaskis, Jacobs Lefse Bakeri offers lefse, Scandanavian gifts and lefse pastry boards.
Looking for a place to celebrate the potato treat? Barnesville, Minnesota’s annual Potato Days festival hosts the National Lefse Cookoff in late August. Participants are judged on appearance, taste and texture. While you’re there, watch the Potato Cookoff and potato pealing contest, and sample mashed potatoes, French fries and baked potatoes. There’s even a mashed potato art competition.
If you don’t take home the prize at the National Lefse Cookoff, try again the first weekend in December at the Beltrami County Lefse Festival Cookoff, an annual fundraiser for the Beltrami County Historical Society. The juried competition takes place at the Hampton Inn, and includes music, food and of course, lefse.
Those who can’t get enough of the potato treat can head to the town of Starbuck in May for the Lefse Dagen (Lefse Days) festival. The annual festival commemorates the town’s enduring record of making the World’s Largest Lefse. The record was set in 1983 by residents who baked a 9 foot 8 inch and 70 pound piece of lefse to mark the town’s centennial.
But don’t just enjoy the tasty Norwegian treat, make your own. Pick up supplies and recipes at the Uffda Shop in Red Wing, Minnesota, or a Twin Cities favorite, Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis, to enjoy year round.
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