The Icelandic cuisine, native to Iceland, consists of a wide variety of traditional food items. Many recipes prepared in the country have been adapted from other cuisines, such as Danish, French, Italian and American as well. However, there are numerous dishes that are specifically Icelandic only. In their recipes, Icelanders make use of fish, lamb, dairy products and a wide variety of cheese. In the following lines we have provided some interesting information on the traditional food of Iceland.
Since Iceland is a country with abundant supply of fish, lamb and dairy products, the inhabitants prepare a variety of dishes using them. Dishes made of haddock, plaice, herring, trout, salmon, lobster, halibut and shrimp fish are also quite popular there. Fish recipes are generally smoked, salted, baked or dried, with garlic as the key ingredient. Lamb is the preferred meat for Icelanders. Most of the lamb dishes in Iceland are served with mustard sauce.
Icelanders also eat horse, beef and reindeer meat. People in the country are fond of Skyr (dairy product similar to strained yoghurt), Smoked Lamb and Kleinur (twisted doughnuts). The traditional Icelandic buffet, served during midwinter festivals, typically consists of fish products and cured meat, served with dense dark rye bread. Heavy steaks, with cream sauce and caramelized potatoes, are also native to the country.
Some of the most popular dishes of Icelandic cuisine are Bread Soup (made by using rye bread), Fish Pate (ground fish in a shrimp sauce with heavy cream) Lamb Pate, Meat Soup with Lamb, Icelandic Shrimp, Lamb Fricassee with Vegetables, lightly smoked Puffins and Cod Stew with Cod Fillets. To satisfy the sweet tooth, Icelanders eat Rice Pudding with Raisins and Kleina (traditional pastry). Cinnamon Roll, Rotten Shark Meat and Herring with Lemon Sauce and Potato Ring are also popular in Iceland.
Some More Information
Icelanders use dairy products in majority of the traditional recipes. They rely on the local ingredients, such as seabirds and waterfowl (including their eggs), salmon and trout, crowberry, blueberry, rhubarb, lichens, wild mushrooms, wild thyme, lovage, angelica and dried seaweed, to prepare the food. Over 80 types of cheese are manufactured in the country. Vegetables, including rutabaga, turnips, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and cucumber, are widely available in the Iceland, while fruits (except wild berries) are imported to the country.
Since animal products dominate Icelandic cuisine, it is very difficult to follow a vegetarian lifestyle in the country, without the import of food. The vegans may have to compromise on food, because dairy products are used almost in every recipe of the Icelandic cuisine. However, the consumption of vegetables has increased significantly, over the last few decades, which proves that the country is well suited for the vegetarians as well. Fresh lamb continues to be the dominant meat of Iceland. The traditional meat products, such as sausages, have lost their appeal. They are seldom found in the Icelandic cuisine now.