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Icelandic Cuisine

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Iceland

Icelandic Landscape

Iceland - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Icelandic Cuisine History Edit

Though Iceland has a very harsh climate, its cuisine is diverse. The fish and the Lamb which live in an unpolluted environment represent the base of the Icelandic cuisine. Due to these ingredients, the cuisine of Iceland is considered very healthy. People consider the traditions to be very important, and therefore they consume Þorramatur very often. This is the national dish of the Icelanders. It is usually consumed in January and February. These two months formed the Nordic month of þorri in the old times. Þorramatur is prepared in many ways and contains a great variety of ingredients that range from rotten shark and dried fish to ram’s testicles and fried sheep heads.

As the country is based on an island, the seafood has a very important role for the Icelandic cuisine. Lobster and ocean Perch, and also many types of fish, such as Trout, Cod, Haddock, Herring and salmon, are the main ingredients of many Icelandic recipes. The fish is dried, smoked, salted or baked. It is commonly prepared with garlic. Hákarl represents putrefied shark meat. The preparation of this dish involves burying the meat for three months.

The dishes that are based on Lamb are also popular in this country. The meat is either served with a mustard sauce or cut in filets. These dishes, too, are prepared in a specific manner, which may be considered unusual by the foreigners. Most of the Icelandic dishes are consistent. This helps the local people to endure the cold climate of the country, during the winters. The dairy products have an important role. milk is used in many recipes and cheese is very popular, all over the country. There are more than 80 types of cheese produced in Iceland.

The beverages that are consumed in Iceland are in most cases strong alcoholic drinks. Brennivin and various types of vodka are usually the most consumed beverages in Iceland.

Cuisines of Iceland Edit

Map of Iceland

Map of Iceland - Click to enlarge

The cuisine of Iceland is rather homogeneous. The country did not incorporate many influences and therefore, people had the chance to develop a unique cooking style, based on the ingredients that could be found locally. People use the same ingredients, mostly. These resume to seafood, fish and Lamb meat. Game meat is also utilized in some recipes.

Preparation Methods for Icelandic Cooking Edit

People of Iceland use cooking techniques that are used in other countries. However, due to the ingredients that are used, the resulting dishes are unique. Fish is widely used across the country and the great number of dishes based on this ingredient is determined by the many ways in which it can be prepared. Icelanders mostly prepare fish by smoking or drying it. There are also some special dishes based on shark meat. The meat has to be buried for a long period of time, until it putrefies. People also use spices and sauces and therefore, seasoning and salting are other techniques that are common in Iceland. Besides these, other frequently used techniques may include baking, boiling, frying and grinding.

Special Equipment for Icelandic Cooking Edit

Most Icelandic dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. The cooking utensils that are used in Iceland did not change very much in time. Although in restaurants the equipment that is used for preparing, storing and serving foods is modern, the traditional tools have only been developed a little. The modern utensils are: forks, knives, teaspoons, tablespoons, pans, trays, pots, scoops, graters, food containers, portioning tools, cutlery, glasses, bowls and cups and even equipment for measuring the temperature and the weight of the foods.


Icelandic Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Icelanders take advantage of many occasions to promote their national foods and beverages. People enjoy supporting their culture and therefore, they organize many festivals. One of the most important affairs is the Food and Fun Festival, which is planned each year in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. This festival blends the promotion of the traditional dishes with various competitions and outdoor activities. A contest that features the most talented chefs is also organized on this occasion. Each of them must display a unique manner of cooking and they achieve that by either using special preparation methods or by adding certain ingredients to the traditional foods, in order to obtain dishes with unique identities.

Other popular events are Beer and Food Festival, which is held in March and lasts for a week, and Þorrablót, which is celebrated in February and lasts for a whole month. The latter takes place in both restaurants and people’s home.

People in Icelandic Food Edit

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