Icelandic cuisine is unique and often draws inspiration from the country’s natural resources and harsh climate. Here are a six of the most famous foods in Iceland:
- Þorramatur: Þorramatur refers to a selection of traditional Icelandic foods typically enjoyed during the midwinter festival known as Þorrablót. This platter consists of various preserved and fermented dishes, including hákarl (fermented shark), svið (boiled sheep’s head), harðfiskur (dried fish), and pickled ram’s testicles. Þorramatur provides an adventurous exploration of Icelandic culinary traditions.
- Skyr: Skyr is a traditional Icelandic dairy product that resembles yogurt but has a thicker and creamier texture. It is made from pasteurized skimmed milk and is high in protein while being low in fat. Skyr is commonly enjoyed as a breakfast item or dessert, often served with fresh berries, honey, or granola.
- Pylsur: Pylsur, or Icelandic hot dogs, are a popular street food in Iceland. They are made from a blend of lamb, pork, and beef, giving them a unique flavor. Pylsur are typically served in a bun and topped with crispy fried onions, raw onions, ketchup, mustard, and remoulade, a tangy sauce.
- Hangikjöt: Hangikjöt is a traditional Icelandic smoked lamb dish. It is prepared by smoking a leg of lamb over birch wood, giving it a distinct smoky flavor. Hangikjöt is often served sliced, either cold or gently heated, and accompanied by boiled potatoes, peas, and béchamel sauce.
- Kleinur: Kleinur are traditional Icelandic pastries similar to twisted doughnuts. They are made by deep-frying dough that is flavored with cardamom. Kleinur have a crispy exterior and a soft, doughy interior. They are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or as a sweet treat.
- Brennivín: While not a food, Brennivín is a notable Icelandic spirit. Also known as “Black Death,” it is a clear, unsweetened schnapps made from fermented potatoes and flavored with caraway seeds. Brennivín is often enjoyed as an accompaniment to traditional Icelandic dishes or as a shot to toast special occasions.
These are just a few examples of the unique and iconic foods in Icelandic cuisine. Exploring Icelandic gastronomy offers a glimpse into the country’s cultural heritage and the resourcefulness of its people in adapting to the challenging environment.