I guess some of you have seen videos and pictures online of visitors to Iceland tasting something terrifying as rotten shark, or fish that smells like ammonia.
It might seem that Icelanders walk around in wool sweaters all day, while eating challenging parts of animals and slaying each other with axes.
But don´t worry. In fact, Iceland is a very developed place to visit if you like to explore great trends in food.
Of course, you can choose to swallow a bit of rotten shark along with a good cold schnapps, followed by a bit of dried fish covered in wonderful Icelandic butter, or even a tongue from a sheep that once jumped around the beautiful nature of Iceland. This is possible in many restaurants around the country. In February the Icelanders celebrate “Þorri (pronounced thori)”, an old Viking traditional feast where the main theme is to eat whatever possible from any given local beast.
But despite being a nation of only 333,000 people with a fairly primitive and limited culinary history, Iceland has managed to develop a very appealing restaurant scene that proudly can be presented to those visiting our little rock in the North Atlantic.
The reason for this is that the Icelanders are not afraid of seeking knowledge elsewhere, whether in gastronomy or in other fields. Many Icelanders have gone abroad for inspiration and then returned with knowledge and appetites that have fused with local traditions and unleashed the potential of local ingredients. The possibilities are endless both with fresh ingredients and often with using nature to make a terrific meal.
That leaves the Icelandic restaurants scene very diverse, noted by fresh ingredients, humor and professionalism all over Iceland, sometimes with unbelievable views included in the experience.
Even visiting a gas/petrol station in Iceland for picking up ingredients for a picnic or to taste the “pylsa med ollu” (Icelandic Hot dog with everything), is an experience that I recommend at least once or even twice on your trip.
If you would like to connect to the locals in terms of tasting their own food inspirations, you have the amazing possibility of visiting the locals and have a wonderful home cooked meal. Sometimes included with musical experiences and of course beautiful views and nature. My aim with offering Dining with the Icelanders is to present to the visitor to how Icelanders choose to have their dinner at home with fresh ingredients and in wonderful and inspiring company.
Furthermore, being adventurous in trying out what Iceland has to offer around the country in all kinds of locations, is something I would recommend. The food scene is very interesting no matter if you are a vegetarian, meat fan, vegan or have any intolerance’s, Icelandic restaurants are known for accommodating you and your wishes, and as the ingredients are fresh and simple I know you will find what you need and maybe have a little adventure while you are at it.
For more info on all kinds of food experiences in Iceland contact Iceland Unwrapped by helgastina
Photos by Frida Hjaltested and Helga Stina