Icelandic restaurants enjoy some of the purest materials available, grown and caught in a pure and unpolluted natural environment. The
Icelandic fish is renowned for its quality, harvested in a responsible manner, and produced to the highest industry standards.
Icelandic lamb is also a source of national pride, known
for its tender meat. Icelandic sheep spend the summers grazing in the Icelandic highlands, and mountain herbs add richness to its delicate flavour.
Organic vegetables are grown in geothermal greenhouses around Iceland, and supply much of the country’s demand. Skyr – a tasty,
low-fat, high-protein dairy product similar to yoghurt – is another unique delicacy special to Iceland. These, and other, fresh ingredients serve as the basis for a rich Icelandic food culture.
In Iceland, food, culture and tradition are
closely intertwined. In order to survive under harsh conditions, Icelanders preserved food by means of either fermen- tation, typically
in whey or brine, or in some cases drying or smoking. These traditional ways of preserving and preparing food are celebrated at midwinter festivals during the ancient month of Þorri in January/February each year.
As the country absorbed foreign influences in the 20th century, so did Icelandic cuisine and dietary culture, adding international flavours. The rise of the New Nordic Cuisine culinary movement has promoted the diversity of Nordic regional ingredients, and stressed the quality of the region; purity, simplicity and ethical production. This helps ensure that Iceland will meet your expectations for quality taste and a healthy dining experience.
Six ideas for Icelandic dishes to try:
A cultured dairy product, similar to yogurt in texture,
but technically a soft cheese. Skyr is popular for its low level of fat and high level of protein, delicious with blueberries and a dash of cream. Known as the Icelandic superfood.
Icelandic sheep traditionally spend summers grazing wild in the Icelandic highlands, mostly subsisting on mountain herbs, especially thyme, which gives this lean gourmet meat its delicate flavour.
Fish stew, made from boiled fish, potatoes and onions, served in white sauce with Rúgbrauð and Icelandic butter. Traditionally a way to treat leftovers, this is now considered an original Icelandic delicacy.
Icelandic straight rye bread, dark and dense, usually rather sweet, traditionally baked in a pot or steamed in special wooden casks buried in the ground near a hot spring. Often served with fish. Very healthy.
Dried fish, usually made from haddock or cod. Another Icelandic superfood, since this is almost a pure source of protein. A popular snack for children and adults alike, delicious with a small layer of butter on top.
6. Íslenskt Brennivín
While strictly not a “dish”, Icelandic schnapps, commonly known as Black Death, is very much a part of Icelandic food culture. It is made from fermented potatoes and flavored with caraway seeds. Usually served chilled. Exercise caution.
This article appears courtesy of Promote Iceland and appears in their Promote Iceland UK brochure