Dining with Icelanders in Reykjavik, Iceland

Penni Schewe

No matter whether it’s geyseros, glaciers or guillemots, Iceland is a region bursting with natural miracles and one particular that you really ought to attempt to check out at minimum when. With any luck , my posts from our latest trip have demonstrated just how a lot there is to see and do – the landscapes and waterfalls, the geothermal wonders and the prosperity of special experiences. But potentially you found a single factor missing? While we have fulfilled a lot of men and women on the way, a great deal of what we did was pretty considerably geared in direction of tourists and, apart from the occasional guideline, most of our interactions were also with other travelers.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could knowledge the real Iceland for a working day, or even just a few hrs? A extra reliable practical experience where you get to meet up with local Icelandic persons and understand a small about their society and day-to-working day lives, maybe above a classic Icelandic food. This is in which Dining with Icelanders arrives in.

Eating with Icelanders is the brainchild of Helga Kristin Fridjonsdottir, herself an Icelander, and operator of journey advisory Iceland Unwrapped. Iceland Unwrapped is all about connecting folks with Helga’s homeland in a additional immersive way, bringing the interactions in between men and women more to the fore than may well be probable with a traditional tour knowledge, for case in point.

Dining with Icelanders is a absolutely distinct way to get to know Iceland and Icelanders. Helga is an knowledgeable traveller herself – obtaining lived in Brazil, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands, as well as Iceland of training course – and connects people to Iceland with regional people today, above a eating face, for a genuinely special experience.  In our scenario, we ended up blessed ample that Helga invited our family members to be part of her personal family members for meal at her dwelling on a single of our past evenings in Iceland, though this would not normally be the circumstance given that Helga has a quantity of distinct hosts with which she connects her journey purchasers at a wide range of diverse venues.

We have been incredibly warmly welcomed into Helga’s property. She is fluent in Icelandic, English, Danish and Portuguese, and returned from the Netherlands (from where she had now began her company some years before) in 2020 to dwell in Reykjavik with her husband, Mike, a communications consultant from Chicago, and teenage son, Gabriel.

We were really substantially built to really feel at house and inspired to enable ourselves to some appetisers that bundled scrumptious smoked lamb and smoked salmon on buttered rúgbrauð. This rye bread would usually be produced in the ground, with the dough frequently put into a container these types of as a milk carton and left in the geothermally heated earth for 24 hours, and then it is completely ready.

I was also fascinated to try the harðfiskur – dried fish (in this scenario, haddock) with salted butter as I experienced study about this becoming a common Icelandic snack. It is Iceland’s solution to fish jerky and has been common in the nation for centuries… and is of class also packed with protein, vitamins and Omega 3 so quite a nutritious snack, also. As soon as you have tasted it, you will see why it is a staple in Iceland!

It was wonderful to get to know Helga and her family members, and we experienced an pleasurable chat about a entire assortment of subjects, from studying about how Icelanders live and the Icelandic training procedure, to the country’s impressive vitality assignments and living with earthquakes. We even chatted about elves and street diversions, the Katla sequence on Netflix, and Gabby and Mike’s appreciate of Tottenham Hotspur.

For our primary, we had cod that was simply just cooked in butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. This is a excellent example of how not attempting to over-complicate a dish pays massive dividends as the cod was so tasty that it did not need anything much more.

It was served with potatoes and greens, as the conversation moved on to Icelandic cuisine, our Arctic rafting working experience, the pandemic, politics, ground breaking companies in Iceland and extra. I was genuinely intrigued to listen to how the latest growth in vacation to Iceland was viewing the tourism industry overtake the fishing marketplace, and still Iceland could survive from fishing by yourself due to the fact this was established for the duration of the COVID pandemic.


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For dessert, we experienced pönnukökur served with jam – wonderfully sensitive Icelandic pancakes that are substantially like crêpes. They were served with rhubarb jam and whipped product and we have been shown how they ended up historically stuffed, folded in 50 percent and then folded once again into quarters.

I afterwards found that these golden pancakes, which resemble the sun, are frequently designed to welcome the initially sunshine in late January in a celebration referred to as “Sólarkaffi” when the sun rises superior ample higher than the mountains to shine its rays over the locals.

Right before we knew it, 3 several hours experienced flown by. We’d experienced a definitely pleasant evening and had been produced to feel extremely welcome we’d loved an encounter that extremely number of visitors going to Iceland would ever get to working experience. If this sounds like anything you’d take pleasure in, be positive to call Helga. She is pretty approachable (in simple fact, I spoke to her on line prior to our personal pay a visit to to Iceland and picked up all sorts of practical suggestions), and will be only too joyful to enable you, regardless of whether it is with scheduling a Eating with Icelanders encounter or creating a little something which is unique and bespoke, custom tailor-made just for you.

Setting up a trip to Iceland you? You can look at a video from our trip to Iceland in this article:

https://www.youtube.com/enjoy?v=KNcJZYAzftk

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Iceland Unwrapped. Our trip to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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