Holidays a time to discover North Dakota treats, says state tourism office: List touts tasty ethnic fare

Haga, Chuck. "Holidays a time to discover North Dakota treats, says state tourism office: List touts tasty ethnic fare." The Forum, Fargo, 25 December 2011, C1 & C5.

CAVALIER, N.D. – If Swedish meatballs show up on the menu at Thompson’s Café in Cavalier over the holidays, don’t dawdle about getting your order in.

“When we run them, we usually run out,” says Daryl Thompson, the café owner. “They’re tasty.”
Thompson’s Swedish meatballs apparently caught the attention of someone at the North Dakota Tourism office, which includes the café in a list of places to find “North Dakota food, fun, outdoor activities and cultural celebrations” for the holidays.

Especially food. Especially ethnic food.

“You know it’s the holiday season when you see varenyky, lefse, kuchen, pfeffernusse, springerle cookies and krumkake on the table.

“These North Dakota favorites remind us of celebrations growing up and can be found locally without doing all the work,” the tourism folks declared in a news release.

Acknowledging that any such listing will leave out some local or regional favorites, they recommend Freddy’s Lefse in Fargo, Lapp’s Bakery in Hebron, the Ukrainian Culture Institute in Dickinson, Magic Morsels in Minot or Patisserie on Fourth in Bismarck.

“Obviously, there are a lot more options,” Sara Otte Coleman, state tourism director, said in an interview. “This is just to give a sampling and get people headed down the road.”

German favorites

The guide also cites places where one may find “German cuisines,” including varenyky, or “cheese buttons,” at the Four Corners Café in Belfield, “a mean fleischkuechle” at Frieds Family Restaurant in Mandan, and “knoephla soup and fried dough” at Kroll’s Diner in Fargo and Bismarck.

“The fried dough is pretty much what it says – dough that’s fried,” said Rick Jaeger, manager of the Fargo Kroll’s Diner. “It’s sort of like elephant ears, and it’s served with cinnamon or sugar, or some people like it with honey.”

Knoephla soup is “a few onions, a few potatoes and a lot of dumplings in a creamed chicken broth,” Jaeger said. “We sell gallons and gallons of it.”

For the “just gimme a burger” crowd, varenyky – also called perogies – are half-moons of dough filled with a variety of fruit, meat, cheese or vegetables.

The “ideas” release from the tourism office also offers suggestions for entertaining the kids, a list of museums and interpretive centers, places to ice fish and places for “one of a kind gifts” with a North Dakota touch, such as Badman Designs in Grand Forks.

Coleman said her office, (701) 328-2525, would happily take suggestions for places or products to be included in future themed promotions.

“If we don’t know about it, we’re thrilled when people call and enlighten us,” she said.

Reprinted with permission of The Forum.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller