Thursday, June 20, 2024

Tasting Iceland: Must-Try Foods On Your Culinary Adventure

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Iceland is known for its diverse and delectable cuisine crafted from the abundance of the country’s natural ingredients. From the famed fish delicacy, hákarl, to the heavenly skyr, Iceland offers a unique range of foods to tantalize your taste buds. On your culinary journey, here are the must-try foods in Iceland for an unforgettable, deliciously-authentic culinary adventure.

Seafood: Ranging from Hákarl to Plokkfiskur

Iceland is known for its abundance of delicious seafood – and it all starts with the unique Hákarl. Hákarl is a national delicacy made from Greenland sharks that have been buried in the sand and aged for up to four months. The strong, salty fish has a distinctive, taste and is served in small cubes. For a less adventuresome dish, be sure to try kelp dried and frozen to become “Icelandic jerky” or plokkfiskur – a hearty fish stew consisting of cod, potatoes, onions, and butter – an absolute favorite amongst locals.

Tender Game Meat – from Horse to Reindeer

Seafood isn’t the only delicacy that Iceland offers. If you’re in for an adventure on the more savory side, then Iceland’s game meat is the perfect choice. Horse meat is the least intimidating of the specialty dishes and is identical in taste to beef. However, if you’re really feeling daring, then reindeer and ptarmigan — a local type of grouse — are available on some menus.

Middle Eastern Delights: Shakshuka and Kebabs

Iceland also has a plethora of Middle Eastern delicacies. Dishes such as shakshuka, made with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and poached eggs, and kebabs, grilled meat served in pita bread, are perfect for brunch on the go and make perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner options.

Fresh and unusual Dairy Products

Icelandic dairy products are of excellent quality. The dairy products variety in Iceland include:

• Skyr – this thick, yoghurt-like dairy product is one of Iceland’s most famous ingredients. Skyr usually has some sugar, but don’t let that fool you as it’s also high in protein and low in fat.

• Laufabrauð – a traditional, traditional thin and crispy bread made for special occasions. It’s made from rye flour, margarine, and buttermilk, then fried in lard until crispy.

• Kæstur hákarl – a type of cheese made from a skyr-like base and cured in a mix of yogurt and fish entrails. Kæstur hákarl is often served as an appetizer or snack with an Icelandic beer.

• Mysost – also called “whey cheese”, this sliceable cheese is made from whey and flavoured with cumin and other spices.

Traditional Icelandic Dishes: Kjötsupa and Hardfiskur

Just like any other nation, Icelanders have their own unique traditional dishes. Two of the most popular traditional dishes include Kjötsupa, a lamb soup made with vegetables and dumplings, and hardfiskur, which is dried haddock that is served with butter and is often served as a snack.

Unique Confections: Runeberg Cake and Harðfiskur

When searching for that classic Icelandic treat, it’s impossible to miss out on the Runeberg cake, an almond cake with a raspberry and liquor syrup glaze. Almost two centuries old, the Runeberg cake has held its pulse in the Icelandic culture from generation to generation. The other is harðfiskur, the dried fish snacks that are prominent in Iceland. The fish is dried and pounded flat and served either cold or warm.

Finding the Perfect Drink to Go with your Meal

Like any perfect meal, drinks are essential to making the experience complete. As with its food, Icelandic drinks differ greatly from other alcohol and non-alcoholic varieties not found elsewhere in the world.

Alcoholic Drinks

• Beer – craft brewing is slowly becoming popular in Iceland and microbreweries such as GAIA and Kaldi are getting a firm place in the hearts and minds of the locals.

• Brennivín – a spirit made from potatoes and flavoured with caraway, Brennivín is considered as Iceland’s national liquor and is popular with locals year-round.

• Malt og Appelsín – a classic Icelandic soft drink, Malt og Appelsín is a mix of beer with either soda or orange soda.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

• Appelsín – a light, refreshing soft drink, Appelsín is made from orange concentrate, carbonated water, and sweetener.

• Kókómjólk – a popular Icelandic milk drink, Kókómjólk is slightly carbonated and has a creamy, slightly sweet flavour.

• Icelandic Water – spring water from Iceland’s glacial rivers is considered some of the purest and cleanest water on earth.

Iceland has a vast array of delicious and unique dishes and drinks that will give you a complete, authentic culinary experience. From the quintessential fish delicacy, hákarl, to the classic Runeberg Cake, it is worth exploring the lovely and varied cuisine of Iceland for a different kind of culinary adventure. With the range of local specialties and drinks, you will never lack something to eat and drink in Iceland.

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