FOOD & DRINK
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The most important ingredient in Icelandic cuisine is location. Iceland is blessed with an abundance of fresh water, clean nature and fertile fishing grounds, while geothermal energy makes it possible to supply a year-round offering of fresh vegetables, grown locally in organic greenhouses.
Due to the rough climate and the poor fertile soil, crops have always been meager, therefore sheep, fish, seabirds and their eggs were on the meal plan and every part of an animal was eaten.
The basics of Icelandic cuisine haven’t changed much since and you will still find a lot of lamb, fish, seafood, bread and simple vegetables in typical cooking. It has become more creative and experimental over the years with international and exotic flavors added into traditional meals. The slow and local cooking trend has also made its way into Icelandic gastronomy.
Dining out is expensive, but worth it. Lower priced options often don’t go further than chips, burgers, hot dogs and pizza. Those willing to spend a little bit more are met with a delightful choice of fresh local fish and shellfish, lamb and beef. Horse meat is common and known as a delicacy. You may also find reindeer on the menu in Eastern Iceland between July and September and a selection of seabirds, including puffins or guillemots.
Skyr, a yoghurt-like dessert often served with fruit and sugar, has made
its way to international supermarket shelves in recent years and is a popular snack for adults and kids alike. Further pancakes, crullers or sweet Danishes remain popular desserts while local ice-cream has become a recent favorite, some of it with interesting flavors like beer or licorice.
Life without coffee would be unthinkable in Iceland. You will find a pot of fresh coffee in petrol stations and cafes, many shops serve free coffee to customers. Over recent years, more cafes emerged offering a larger variety of coffee including espresso, cappuccino or macchiato. Caffeine is important and Iceland has the world’s highest consumption of coke per capita. As tab water is taken from the next local glacier, it is as clean as hardly anywhere else and it is Alcohol can only be purchased in
licensed restaurants, bars or shops and the minimum age to buy beer, wine or spirits is 20. In smaller villages the licensed shop might only open for a few hours a day and you might encounter long cues at peak times like Friday or Saturday afternoon. A low percent beer is available in petrol stations, but is not hugely popular.
Three main breweries - Egils, Thule and Viking - brew local beers which are available in supermarkets and bars. Popular imports like Carlsberg or Guinness are also served in bars and pubs. If you are looking for a traditional drink, you should try Brennívín, a traditional strong spirit made from potatoes and caraway seeds.
Food & Drink