10 minute read

Made in Norway


Hyllest produces different types of elderflower drinks.

Meant to be?

A Danish teacher moved to a small Norwegian valley and is producing one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages on the market.

By Eva-Kristin U. Pedersen | Photos: Hilde Mork

For Mie Dahlman Jensen, back in Denmark, elderflowers grew everywhere. Almost regardless of where you went, you could go out and fetch some of the characteristic white flowers, and it was custom to make elderflower juice in the summer. You’d just go out, pick the flower and go home and cook them.

Dahlman Jensen was surprised, therefore, when she realised that elderflowers are not nearly as common in Norway as they are in Denmark. Although the wild plant with the strongly-scented white flowers grows just as easily in Norway as it does in Denmark, and indeed in most of the rest of the world, few if anyone made much use of it. That’s why Dahlman Jensen was so thrilled to find elderflowers growing on her neighbours’ land when she moved to a small, tucked-away place in Telemark, Norway. She went and knocked on their door and asked if they would let her take some.

“I never expected success. I started and thought, ‘let’s see how it goes’,” she says. That was in 2013, and Dahlman Jensen produced a timid volume of 500 bottles. Today, her company Hyllest produces some 15,000 bottles a year of various variants of elderflower juices. They deliver to several Michelin-star restaurants and even to The Royal Palace. “When I look back, I can’t help but ask myself if it was meant to be,” she smiles.

The harvest is on.

The jasmine of the north Elderflower is a plant that grows in most parts of the world, though it’s not neces-

sarily harvested. Blooming in June, the burgeoning white flowers produce a very characteristic scent, a bit like jasmine.

The same plant also produces small, black berries that are edible once cooked. They are rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants, making them a cherished ingredient in folk medicine.

Nevertheless, it’s the flower, not the berry, that is the most treasured part of the plant. It has long been used in different recipes and elderflower juice is made in homes around the world. A well-known commercial success utilising the plant is the Italian liquor Sambuca, which was originally made with elderflowers. In fact, the very name comes from the Latin name for the flower, ‘sambucus’.

For Dahlman Jensen, however, her business took off from 2016 onwards. She won an agricultural business development award (Bedriftsutviklingsprisen i landbruket) from Innovation Norway, an institution set up to support Norwegian entrepreneurs and start-ups across different sectors and markets, then planted new plants and increased production tenfold.

Demand for non-alcoholic alternatives on the rise Dahlman Jensen has been helped along by an increased demand for alternatives to alcoholic beverages. “The interest in our product has grown along with the demand for alternatives to wine and beer in restaurants. People want to be able to avoid alcohol, and our elderflower drinks fit the description perfectly. It is a natural product, organic from the very start, and full of taste,” the entrepreneur explains, adding that products like hers are increasingly appreciated as refined products, and that imagery and marketing techniques are becoming more and more similar to those used in the wine industry.

In addition to restaurants, Hyllest products are sold in selected grocery shops in the Norwegian regions of Telemark, Vestfold and Oslo, as well as online. Their assortment includes several versions of the original drinks, including in a summery blend with rhubarb, a plant typical in the Nordic countries, as well as a warming concoction with ginger – perfect for cold winter evenings. Moreover, they produce beverages in which they mix the flowers and the berries – which, when heated, are perfectly safe to eat.

Most of the products come in two forms. There’s the juice, which is an extract of the flower and other ingredients for flavour, with added water and a little bit of cane sugar. The juice can be enjoyed as it is. Then there’s a syrup – a concentrate that is sweeter and should be diluted in water. The syrup is also a popular ingredient in several cocktails.

From Telemark with love A common denominator for all of Hyllest’s products is that they are produced with love. Dahlman Jensen lives in a small but tight-knit community known for apple production, with many people, including the landowner and a local apple juice producer, contributing to the production of Hyllest’s range.

Dahlman Jensen believes that the collaborative spirit boosts the quality of the final product. “When it’s time to harvest, we go to work with joy. You can’t hurry among these flowers. We harvest between sunrise and 10 or 11 in the morning, and only when the sun is out – that’s when the aroma of these flowers is the strongest,” she asserts, adding: “We love what we do, and the name of our product is so fitting – ‘hyllest’ means ‘tribute’, and this product really is a tribute to nature.”

Elderflower juice has gained a status similar to that of wine.

Mie Dahlman Jensen surrounded by elderflowers.

New elderflower plants are sown in Telemark. Web: hylleblomstsaft.no Facebook: Hyllest Instagram: @hyllest_hylleblomst

In the pursuit of a sustainable wardrobe

With a minimalist, pragmatic approach that unites the beautiful with the functional, Pierre Robert strives towards creating enduring garments.

By Åsa H. Aaberge | Photos: Pierre Robert

For over 15 years, Norwegian brand Pierre Robert has been consistent in its pursuit of a more sustainable and timeless wardrobe, to be worn and treasured for years, through comfortable, classic, well-cut designs with an emphasis on climate-friendly materials.

Having started out as a lingerie brand, Pierre Robert has over the years expanded its repertoire to include base attire like wool garments, sports wear and versatile capsule collections. “We aim to facilitate an accessible opportunity for people to dress and feel better,” says Bettina Johnsen, head of communications at Pierre Robert. Timeless, accessible design By the word ‘better’, the brand means clothes of a higher quality with a lower carbon footprint, a never-wavering emphasis on comfort, all wrapped up in sharp designs. Pierre Robert builds on archetypical Scandinavian design values in that pieces are made to be worn by anyone, anywhere, and with a goal not to harm neither people nor nature. Comfortable, seasonless attire that can live on year after year is essential for Pierre Robert, as it embodies the pursuit of sustainability.

“A timeless design, quality materials with a smaller carbon footprint and good handicrafts – these are all vital to creating long-lasting clothes. We have a clear desire to stay away from over-consumption and fast fashion and therefore work with rigid criteria for what garments get a place in our assortment,” explains Patricia Nazareno, head designer at Pierre Robert.

Head designer Patricia Nazareno.

Pierre Robert is among Norway’s leading underwear manufacturers. With points of sale primarily being supermarkets, the brand has gained a distinctive position to reach a diverse audience in all corners of Norway. Pierre Robert is also sold in Finland, online in Sweden, and at selected retailers and e-retailers.

“What is unique is the accessibility of our clothing. This accessibility has made us highly conscious of our social and environmental impact, and the influence we have on how all kinds of people dress in their daily lives, and the responsibility that comes with it,” says Johnsen.

Pierre Robert offers base clothing for women, men and children alike. The assortment ranges from underwear, socks and stockings to essential workout clothes and versatile wardrobe staples. All products are designed in Norway and made in materials like eco-certified wool, certified organic cotton or recirculated fabrics.

Sustainability and an end to overconsumption A sustainable philosophy is essential for the brand. The goal is to consider people, animals and the environment in every aspect of the production cycle. According to Johnsen, both consumers and the industry are becoming increasingly aware of ethical principles such as working conditions and sustainability when buying and making clothes.

Still, there is a long way to go and room for improvements regarding sustainability in the clothing industry – but it is a journey Pierre Robert proudly partakes in. “While we need to continue to focus on social and environmental standards and advancement, we see an acute need to reduce the enormous clothing consumption in our society. We believe Pierre Robert can be a positive force in this endeavour, though we acknowledge the contradiction in encouraging frugality while also trying to sell clothes,” says Johnsen.

To overcome these over-consumption issues, Pierre Robert is unafraid to ask difficult questions. Does the garment they sell cover a real need for the consumers? Or are they constructing and amplifying an artificial need by focusing on short-lived trends? “The goal is to offer garments people need and will wear regularly – and to make sustainable choices available to everyone. Anyone buying a pair of Pierre Robert boxers in the supermarket, whether they are making a conscious effort or not, will be taking home something with a smaller environmental footprint than they otherwise might have,” says Johnsen.

Nazareno and her team aim to design items that fit a wardrobe with fewer but better pieces. It entails versatility: clothes to be worn in different ways, and clothes that will still look contemporary well into the future. “Our apparel should feel just as fashionable in three years as it does today. Of course, we explore current trends, but we still strive to be innovative and different, to be first and best with longerlasting classics and uncompromising comfort,” says Nazareno.

At the heart of it, Pierre Robert wishes to provide the public with those staple pieces they can always rely on, hitting the magic sweet spot of comfort, style, fit and sustainability. “The aim is to give people a feeling of having and owning enough, of being enough – ultimately, a feeling of satisfaction,” Nazareno concludes.

Web: www.pierrerobert.no

A source of health

By Eva-Kristin U. Pedersen | Photos: Helsekjelda AS

A product originally intended for adults and the elderly has now become a musthave for Norwegian sportsmen and women.

One of the most basic food supplements you need to take when doing sports regularly at a certain intensity is magnesium. This fundamental mineral is your best bet against sore muscles and cramps.

Most, however, take magnesium as a food supplement, even though it is best absorbed through the skin. Helsekjelda was born out of the idea to change that.

“Most people have insufficient magnesium levels,” explains Irene Bjotveit Sæbø, general manager at Helsekjelda, stressing how important magnesium is in the treatment of sore and painful muscle fibre and leg cramps. “Our magnesium cream shortens the time it takes for your body to recover after working out.”

Helsekjelda’s products were developed by a medical practitioner in collaboration with a small producer of natural cosmetics. Several patients had been asking for a natural product that could help them with leg and muscle pain, but there was no such alternative on the market.

Helsekjelda’s first product, the original Magnesium Cream, was born to fill the gap and, aided by that success, the small company expanded its selection to include a Magnesium Cream with lavender. Lavender is calming and promotes healthy sleep, thereby reinforcing the effect of the magnesium, which is in itself relaxing. The latter cream is also available in a magnesiumginger combination, which is very effective in treating pain and muscle inflammation.

“Our products almost immediately became popular in sport and athletic environments, even though we had originally aimed at a different customer segment. Customer feedback has been incredibly positive, and most clients return and ask for more,” Sæbø says.

So if you plan to run a marathon soon –or just want an efficient way to deal with sore muscles – Helsekjelda might be a good pit-stop.

Web: helsekjelda.no Facebook: helsekjelda Instagram: @helsekjelda

‘Rett på’ means ‘straight on’ and sums up the philosophy of Helsekjelda; magnesium is best absorbed when applied straight onto the skin.