Hrogn AS started with Dr. Jonas Juselius and his lifelong interest in food and
cuisine. After reading about bottarga (salted and dried fish roe) in a cooking forum, he decided to experiment with
local ingredients to make his version. Since skrei (Gadus Morhua) was locally available and is considered one of the most exquisite cod species in the world, he chose
to try with that. His first attempt saw good results, and the decision to transform this
experiment into something more seemed only natural.
Jonas shared his idea with Joakim Wikstrom, a Swede with an extensive background in
the food and hospitality sectors. They both saw the potential of bottarga made with skrei,
and Joakim enrolled at Tromsø University to develop the idea into a
viable business venture.
Three years later, Joakim met Lia Berti, an Italian student with a strong interest in food.
They were both at the beginning of their master's studies in Business Creation and
Entrepreneurship. Because of her interest in the culinary scene and her Italian cultural
background, Lia was asked to write her master thesis on Hrogn AS, the company that
Joakim and Jonas had established. The goal was to set up a business plan and to conduct
market research. The results showed a strong potential for skrei bottarga, especially
within the Italian market. The company then attracted both public and private investors,
and Lia formally joined the venture shortly after.
In January 2017 the first real “big scale” production began, with the goal of producing
skrei bottarga and presenting it on the international market - in particular, the high-end
Italian Ho.Re.Ca market.
In preparing for production, Joakim spent several years researching the use of bottarga
all over the world. He studied Sardinian bottarga, which is a source of great inspiration for
Bottarga Borealis and was a starting point for later investigations. Different production
techniques (for example, the Greek beeswax method) and types of bottarga (for example,
Japanese karasumi) were also analyzed, with the aim being to understand the differences
and peculiarities of each product. Results showed that the ideal drying conditions for skrei
bottarga are found in the coastal area of Tromsø, which boasts specific climate conditions
perfect for production. The cold and dry winter of northern Norway, mitigated by the
presence of the Gulf Stream, allows the bottarga to dry slowly and naturally in the open
air. This replicates the ancient techniques Vikings and Norway's indigenous Saami people
used to preserve cod and to transform it into stockfish.
Combining a culinary delicacy like bottarga with the celebrated quality of skrei and
ancient Scandinavian drying methods allows Hrogn AS to create a product that differs
from all others currently on the market. New and innovative products are constantly under development, all with the same goal of creating high-quality delicacies starting from what is traditionally considered to be a by-product.