Iceland: Food & Drink
Heavily guided by both Scandinavian and European influences, Icelandic cuisine has come a long way in recent decades and has begun to truly develop its own style. An island nation, it is not surprising that Iceland is renowned for its fresh seafood and in particular, its fish. An incredibly environmentally conscious country, it has been said that Iceland offers some of the healthiest meat and fish in the world. Animals are allowed to roam free and they graze naturally on grass, plants and herbs that many believe add to their taste.
Popular dishes include:
Skyr: This is a snack commonly associated with Iceland. While many people believe it is yoghurt, it is actually a soft cheese. It is smooth and creamy like yoghurt and is a very healthy snack. Skyr has been part of Icelandic cuisine since medieval times.
Haroifiskur: This is another popular snack amongst locals and is essentially fish jerky. It consists of wind-dried haddock or cod. It is often eaten by just tearing pieces off, however, some people like to put butter on it.
Hákari: This dish is certainly an acquired taste as it is made up of putrefied shark. Usually served in cube form on toothpicks, Hákari is often eaten with a shot of brennivín, a local spirit. While this dish is found throughout Iceland, it is not for the faint of heart.
Pylsur: These are Icelandic hotdogs. They are made with lamb meat as well as pork and beef and are a favourite amongst the local population.
Pönnukökur: These are Icelandic pancakes. Similar to crepes, they are thin and sweet and traditionally served rolled, with jam, powdered sugar of cinnamon for flavouring.
Fresh fish: The most commonly enjoyed fish served in Iceland are haddock, plaice, halibut and herring. Fresh fish is available all year.
Porramatur: This is a selection of traditional Icelandic food often served in buffet form. It is typically eaten during January and February and contains mainly meet and fish that have been cured. It is served with a dark rye bread and butter. Porramatur can include svid, which is a singed and boiled sheep’s head.
There is an incredibly rich café culture emerging in many of Iceland’s cities and good coffee can be found in even the most rural of areas. As a result, coffees, as well as tea, are very popular drinks. Bottled water and soft drinks are also readily available. Prohibition existed in Iceland from 1915 until 1989 and so wine and spirits are imported. With that being said, there is brennivín, a local spirit distilled from potatoes. Known as “black death”, this spirit is very powerful and is flavoured with caraway seeds. Iceland now boasts many natively brewed beers and the major breweries include Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson and Vífilfell.
Things to know:
Service charges are usually already included in most bills, so patrons do not need to tip more.
Iceland Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Iceland.
Learn about the history and culture of Iceland, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Iceland's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Iceland for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Iceland tours today!
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