Relishing Iceland’s Aromatic Food Culture
Icelandic food offers an amazing mix of flavors and textures that are both relishing and easily available all over the country. Whether you’re traveling there or looking to try it at home, here are 10 aromatic Icelandic foods you won’t want to miss out on.
Understanding Icelandic cuisine
Icelandic cuisine is delicious, healthy, and fresh. The country’s food culture is also very cheap, making it easy for travelers to enjoy Icelandic dishes without breaking the bank. One of the most appealing aspects of Icelandic cuisine is its focus on using local ingredients. This means that meals are often incredibly aromatic, as fresh herbs and spices are used to flavor dishes. If you’re looking to experience a truly unique culinary culture, then be sure to add Iceland to your travel list!
The fresh, simple food is both cheap and delicious. In fact, most of it is prepared in large cauldrons or pots (called hangikjöt) over an open fire. Some popular dishes include lamb stew with potatoes and carrots, whale blubber (mixed with butter), and rye bread with skier cheese. Vegetables are also important parts of Icelandic cuisine, as most meals are served with a side of cucumber, cooked spinach or beetroot.
Spices are very important
Spices are not only important for adding flavor to food, but they also have many health benefits. For example, cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels, while turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. When used in combination with other healthy ingredients, spices can help boost your immune system, improve digestion, and even fight cancer. So next time you’re feeling under the weather, reach for the spice cabinet instead of the medicine cabinet.
In your pantry, have some favorite spices handy. If you need some more ideas on what to buy next, these are my recommendations. For warm and earthy, consider adding ground coriander, cardamom pods, or dried tarragon to your food. Smoky paprika is also a popular addition that’s great for chicken dishes or roasted vegetables. Looking for something fresh?
Fish is abundant
In a country where the waters are so clean you can drink from them, it’s no surprise that fish is a big part of the Icelandic diet. And not just any fish—the seafood here is some of the freshest and most delicious in the world. From succulent lobster to line-caught salmon, there’s an endless variety of seafood to be enjoyed in Iceland. But it’s not just the seafood that’s noteworthy—the meats are also worth writing home about. Icelandic lamb is some of the tastiest you’ll ever have, and the beef is no slouch either. With such an abundance of fresh, local ingredients, it’s no wonder that the food here is so incredibly flavorful.
The secret to all that flavor is simple: it’s all in how you cook it. The Icelandic chefs take advantage of their country’s rich culinary traditions, and combine them with modern techniques to create some of the most distinctive and innovative cuisine around.
Culinary influences from other countries
Iceland’s food culture has been shaped by a number of other countries over the years. France, Denmark, and Italy have all had a hand in influencing the way that Icelandic people eat. This can be seen in the popularity of dishes like Icelandic lamb stew, which is a direct result of French influence. Danish pastries are also popular in Iceland, as are Italian-style pizzas.
In the 17th century, Norwegian sailors brought coffee to Iceland, but it was not typically eaten for breakfast. It is now so integral to daily life that it features on the Icelandic coat of arms! The major influences from other countries on Icelandic cuisine show how diverse this country truly is – and how there are many delicious things to try when visiting. When you’re planning your trip, make sure to visit these restaurants: Café Noma and Fiskfélagið Djúpið.
The best places to eat in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland
Reykjavik offers a plethora of unique dining experiences that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. From traditional Icelandic cuisine to international fare, there is something for everyone in Reykjavik. The following are some of the best places to eat in the city:
- Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – This iconic hot dog stand has been serving up delicious hot dogs since 1937. Make sure to try the special sauce!
- Glo – This restaurant specializes in healthy, organic, and locally sourced food. They have a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options as well.
- Fiskfelagid Fish Company – For a truly authentic Icelandic experience, head to this seafood restaurant located in an old fish market. You can even buy fresh-caught fish to take home with you!
- Kaffi Hlutur – An excellent choice for those looking for a more upscale dining experience, Kaffi Hlutur serves modern Nordic cuisine from chefs who are trained at culinary schools around the world. 5. Sushiðan Tróndur Óskarsson – If you’re craving sushi and don’t want to venture too far from downtown Reykjavik, then Sushiðan Tróndur Óskarsson is the place for you. Known for their excellent service and diverse menu selections, it doesn’t get much better than this little gem on Laugavegur Street!
Meat consumption was high in past centuries
In the past, Icelanders had to import most of their food due to the harsh climate. This meant that meat was a rare and expensive commodity. As a result, people tended to eat a lot of it when they could get their hands on it. Over time, this led to the development of a strong meat culture in Iceland. The Icelandic word for to eat is eða which literally means to chew or bite. The word for food is matarbeiða which literally means something to chew with.
Today, although Icelanders are no longer limited by imports and can enjoy a wide variety of food, traditional Icelandic dishes still contain a lot of meat. In fact, according to data from 2016 only 1% of food products in grocery stores were vegetarian-friendly. So, if you’re visiting Iceland and looking for some healthy meals, you may need to look a little harder than elsewhere. Don’t worry though—the country is small so even just going out for a long walk could get you some good exercise and hopefully some great scenery!
Icelandic Ice Cream – How it’s made: If you do want to give your taste buds something sweet while on holiday in Iceland then there are plenty of places to find it.