Seafood - Iceland’s top pride
Local fish of the day is a must for any foodie.
A staple of Icelandic cuisine is freshly caught fish, as fishing has been an essential part of Icelandic history and culture for centuries. Fish is the main export product of Iceland, and sustainable fishing and optimal treatment of the cath are a priority. Try one of the many Icelandic fish restaurants, and you will understand why the locals will have you believe they invented the thing.
The Icelandic “lobster,” or langoustine, is also delicious and many Icelanders’ favorite food. Most restaurants offer langoustine, either in soup or roasted in garlic butter - a strongly recommended option for seafood lovers.
Icelandic fish cannot be discussed without mentioning the traditional dried fish “harðfiskur.” It is usually made from cod, haddock, or wolf-fish fillets, and the only other ingredient is salt. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, perfect for snacks, and great to take along when backpacking. Note that the ideal match for dried fish is butter, and the more, the better.
Icelandic lamb meat - the best in the world?
The Icelandic lamb has a game-like taste from ranging free in highland pastures.
Ever since the first settlers brought sheep to the island over a thousand years ago, Icelandic lamb has been an important element of Icelandic food tradition. It is Icelanders’ favorite meat by far, and they will tell you with pride and conviction that it is absolutely the best meat in the world.
The lamb meat is tender and contains an unusually high amount of omega-3, most likely because sheep are primarily grass-fed. The lambs roam free with their mothers in highland pastures during the summer, feeding on wild herbs and grasses. That gives the meat a particular game-like taste. The sheep are rounded up on horseback in the fall, as has been done since the time of settlement.
The most traditional cuisines are lamb meat soup, lamb chops, and a roasted leg of lamb. The latter being an ideal early Sunday dinner at the grandparents, served with glazed potatoes, rhubarb jam, red cabbage, canned green beans, and creamy brown sauce. Of course, a big part of the tradition is to discuss how excellent the meat is and grandmother’s gravy heavenly good.
Other traditional dishes include cured lamb, especially around the holiday season, and it is also the perfect topping on your Icelandic “flatkaka” (flatbread).
Icelandic vegetables - clean, fresh and environmentally friendly
It may come as a surprise to learn that Icelanders grow vegetables year-round using geothermal water and green energy in greenhouse farming. Therefore, chefs throughout the country can use locally grown vegetables and herbs year-round, making sure you enjoy the best quality products available each season. In addition, veganism is rapidly growing in Iceland, leading to an increasing selection of vegan food options, and you can also find exclusive vegan stores and restaurants.