Nfld. & Labrador

Botwood woman offers taste of Norway with food tours

Botwood native Cheyanne Smart says she is bringing a little bit of Newfoundland attitude with her — as she kick-starts a business almost 4,000 kilometres away.

Cheyanne Smart is the creator of Bergen Food Tours

Cheyanne Smart decided to create Bergen Food Tours after finding a similar tour in Stockholm, and falling in love with food tourism. (Submitted by Cheyanne Smart)

Botwood native Cheyanne Smart says she is bringing a little bit of Newfoundland attitude with her as she kick-starts a business almost 4,000 kilometres away.

Smart has just entered her second year running Bergen Food Tours, which promises to take curious tourists behind the scenes to authentic local restaurants and bars in the Norwegian city.

It's a business that started after Smart took her very first tour on a trip to Stockholm in 2012.

"As time went on, and we travelled more, I wanted to experience different cultures, but not in the way as a normal tourist would. But instead through food, and this is where it all blossomed."

Visitors on the Bergen Food Tours could get a bite of reindeer sausage hotdogs — or stop in at a number of other local diners or craft breweries. (Submitted by Reindeer Sausage)

The Newfoundlander moved to Bergen, Norway, with her boyfriend, as he relocated to work. A job in the tourism industry was ideal for her, as an English speaker in a town with a lot of tourists.

Smart advertises the opportunity to become a "Bergen insider" on the tours, which she said feature up to 30 local restaurants and businesses.

A Norwegian cheesecake and a cup of coffee featured on one of Smart's Bergen Food Tours. (Submitted by Cheyanne Smart)

"I'm actually taking my guests to restaurants that I would eat at, and bars that I would normally go to," she said.

"We're trying to connect our guests with the individuals that work there, whether they're cutting the vegetables or they're just cleaning the dishes at the end of the night."

Smart said she tries to build meaningful relationships with the local restaurants, especially because she's the first in her city to offer a food tour experience. 

"What I've taken from my time in Botwood, or even Newfoundland, is I still have the values," she said. "I'm trying to bring income and recognition and highlight all of these different local restaurants and farmers and so on. I'm still trying to help a neighbour in a sense, that you know I would have normally had in Botwood."

Smart promises to bring her tourists behind the scenes on her food tours, to build a connection between the workers and the visitors. (Submitted by Cheyanne Smart)

Smart said she's also been influenced by her family, particularly her grandmother, who was a baker at a local supermarket.

"My entire life, I was tasting different baked goods …The funniest part of it all was my mom doesn't know how to cook, so in fact I was actually raised on chicken nuggets, fries, those microwave pizzas."

The Bergen Food Tours brings people to restaurants, food stands, craft breweries and street artists. (Submitted by Cheyanne Smart)

As an entrepreneur, Smart is looking now to expand her business to other parts of Europe, and maybe some destinations closer to her home.

"You need someone who's going to understand the food history and appreciate the food history, and if you have the right connections … whether it be homes or restaurants or what have you, I believe that rural Newfoundland has a very rich food history."

About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.