Although primarily known as one of the best locations for viewing the Northern Lights, Iceland offers many other, more surprising adventures. Given the country’s geography, seafood features frequently on many menus. However, a few more unexpected delicacies are produced here as well and are worth sampling.
The bountiful Arctic waters surrounding the country provide an endless supply of delicious monkfish, haddock, salmon, herring and lobster. If you are visiting to see the Northern Lights, Iceland’s amazing cuisine will give you another reason for a truly memorable holiday. The country offers some more adventurous culinary delights that you may not have heard of! Minke whale is a local delicacy, but although this species of whale is not endangered, some visitors may have qualms about the ethics of consuming it. Minke can be prepared in a variety of ways and it is frequently seen on menus in the form of skewered kebabs or in steak form. The texture and flavour of Minke depends entirely on its preparation and can vary from a tougher, chewier texture like beef or tuna to a mellow more delicate flavour if it has been lightly seared.
Beyond the Sea
Beyond delicious fresh fish and the Northern Lights, Iceland is famous for many other food items as well. Skyr is a very popular yogurt-type food that both visitors and locals adore. The thick, silky substance is made rich and creamy by pasteurizing skimmed milk and adding bacteria cultures. The result is a healthy, creamy and spoonable texture that is similar in tartness to Greek yogurt or crème fraiche. Skyr is used for almost any and every purpose here: it can be a savoury condiment similar to mayonnaise or a sweet topping for desserts.
While visiting Iceland in search of the Aurora Borealis, it becomes obvious that the vast landscape is both beautiful and perfect for farming and grazing livestock. Consequently, most Icelandic people proudly proclaim that the country produces the finest lamb meat in the world. The wide-open ranges and clean fresh air the sheep roam and enjoy does indeed create some very tender and flavourful lamb. Along with lamb, the country is famous for many other meat delicacies, including fermented shark. However it is lamb meat that is considered the island’s secret ingredient in one of its other famous local specialties – hotdogs.
Not Just for America
Hotdogs are a beloved and iconic specialty here, which takes many visitors by surprise! Icelandic hotdogs are still made with the typical beef and pork components, but the addition of lamb meat truly does deepen the flavour. A hotdog here is usually topped with sweet brown mustard, raw onions, deep-fried onions, a slightly tangy remoulade and, finally, ketchup.
On the Sweeter Side
The country is also well known for its liquorice, salt liquorice, chocolate and pancakes. Those with a sweet tooth are well catered for, and it can be huge fun sampling the different, often unexpected, flavour combinations in the sweet dishes.
While the majority of people, naturally, visit to enjoy the spectacle of the Northern Lights, Iceland also offers a host of other attractions – including the opportunity for an exciting culinary adventure.