Whether it’s geyseros, glaciers or guillemots, Iceland is a rustic bursting with pure wonders and one that you just actually should attempt to go to a minimum of as soon as. Hopefully my posts from our current journey have demonstrated simply how a lot there may be to see and do – the landscapes and waterfalls, the geothermal wonders and the wealth of distinctive experiences. But maybe you seen one factor lacking? Whilst we now have met a lot of individuals on the way in which, a lot of what we did was very a lot geared in direction of vacationers and, apart from the occasional information, most of our interactions had been additionally with different vacationers.
Wouldn’t it’s good in case you might expertise the true Iceland for a day, and even only a few hours? A extra genuine expertise the place you get to fulfill native Icelandic individuals and be taught a bit about their tradition and day-to-day lives, maybe over a conventional Icelandic meal. This is the place Dining with Icelanders is available in.
Dining with Icelanders is the brainchild of Helga Kristin Fridjonsdottir, herself an Icelander, and proprietor of journey advisory Iceland Unwrapped. Iceland Unwrapped is all about connecting individuals with Helga’s homeland in a extra immersive means, bringing the interactions between individuals extra to the fore than may be doable with a conventional tour expertise, for instance.
Dining with Icelanders is a totally totally different solution to get to know Iceland and Icelanders. Helga is an skilled traveller herself – having lived in Brazil, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands, in addition to Iceland after all – and connects guests to Iceland with native individuals, over a eating encounter, for a really distinctive expertise. In our case, we had been fortunate sufficient that Helga invited our household to hitch her family for dinner at her home on certainly one of our final evenings in Iceland, though this wouldn’t at all times be the case since Helga has various totally different hosts with which she connects her journey purchasers at quite a lot of totally different venues.
We had been very warmly welcomed into Helga’s house. She is fluent in Icelandic, English, Danish and Portuguese, and returned from the Netherlands (from the place she had already began her firm some years earlier) in 2020 to reside in Reykjavik along with her husband, Mike, a communications guide from Chicago, and teenage son, Gabriel.
We had been very a lot made to really feel at house and inspired to assist ourselves to some appetisers that included scrumptious smoked lamb and smoked salmon on buttered rúgbrauð. This rye bread would historically be made within the floor, with the dough usually put right into a container similar to a milk carton and left within the geothermally heated earth for twenty-four hours, after which it’s prepared.
I used to be additionally to attempt the harðfiskur – dried fish (on this case, haddock) with salted butter as I had examine this being a well-liked Icelandic snack. It’s Iceland’s reply to fish jerky and has been well-liked within the nation for hundreds of years… and is after all additionally filled with protein, nutritional vitamins and Omega 3 so fairly a wholesome snack, too. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll see why it’s a staple in Iceland!
It was pretty to get to know Helga and her household, and we had an pleasant chat about a complete vary of subjects, from studying about how Icelanders reside and the Icelandic schooling system, to the nation’s modern vitality tasks and dwelling with earthquakes. We even chatted about elves and street diversions, the Katla collection on Netflix, and Gabby and Mike’s love of Tottenham Hotspur.
For our major, we had cod that was merely cooked in butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. This is a superb instance of how not making an attempt to over-complicate a dish pays enormous dividends because the cod was so tasty that it didn’t want something extra.
It was served with potatoes and greens, because the dialog moved on to Icelandic delicacies, our Arctic rafting expertise, the pandemic, politics, modern corporations in Iceland and extra. I used to be actually to listen to how the current increase in journey to Iceland was seeing the tourism trade overtake the fishing trade, and but Iceland might survive from fishing alone since this was confirmed throughout the COVID pandemic.
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For dessert, we had pönnukökur served with jam – splendidly delicate Icelandic pancakes which can be very like crêpes. They had been served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream and we had been proven how they had been historically stuffed, folded in half after which folded once more into quarters.
I later found that these golden pancakes, which resemble the solar, are sometimes made to welcome the primary sunshine in late January in a celebration referred to as “Sólarkaffi” when the solar rises excessive sufficient above the mountains to shine its rays over the locals.
Before we knew it, three hours had flown by. We’d had a very pleasant night and had been made to really feel exceptionally welcome; we’d loved an expertise that only a few vacationers visiting Iceland would ever get to expertise. If this feels like one thing you’d get pleasure from, you’ll want to contact Helga. She may be very approachable (actually, I spoke to her on-line previous to our personal go to to Iceland and picked up all types of helpful suggestions), and shall be solely too blissful that will help you, whether or not it’s with reserving a Dining with Icelanders expertise or creating one thing that’s distinctive and bespoke, customized tailor-made only for you.
Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here: