Icelandic food

Icelandic food

The Shopper´s Guide to Icelandic food
-A product of Nature-

Iceland offers a fine variety of meats: lamb, pork and beef, as well as a limited amount of horse meat and reindeer. Meat display counters are always well stocked with quality fresh meat, handled by top class butchers. Shop refrigerators and freezers carry a wide variety of conveniently packaged meat products. Iceland has strict regulations relating to the handling and storage of meat and the use of hormones is strictly forbidden. Due to the risk of contamination, the import of meat is prohibited. Sheep breeding in Iceland goes back to the time of settlement, which explains the nation's high consumption of lamb. In keeping with tradition, sheep are allowed to graze freely in mountain areas over the summer, feeding on the fresh grass and wild herbs that give Icelandic lamb its distinctive flavour.

The rich fishing grounds around Iceland are the country's most valuable natural resource; marine products in fact account for 70% of the nation's exports. Icelandic fish, caught in the fresh and unpolluted waters of the North Atlantic, has established a reputation for its superb quality and delicious taste world-wide. Fish is the mainstay of the Icelandic diet, and fresh fish can be had all the year round. In Icelandic restaurants, one discovers the astonishing number of ways in which local chefs use fresh fish as the means for creating the most imaginative gourmet dishes. A feature of Iceland are the many small fish shops, though many supermarkets also offer a wide selection of fresh fish. Wild salmon and trout can also be had over the summer months, due to the popularity of angling as a sport.

Birds and Eggs
Poultry farming is considerable in Iceland. The most common types of bird reared are chicken, duck and turkey. National consumption of poultry has been on the increase, no doubt the result of the rapid growth in number of fast-food and oriental restaurants. Over the centuries, Icelanders have acquired a taste for sea birds, in particular guillemot and puffin, which are caught on the steep cliff faces along the coasts. In spring the colourful eggs of these birds are collected for consumption. Slightly larger than a hen's egg, they are considered a delicacy. Needless to say, your ordinary hen's egg is available at any time of the year.

Cheese and butter
The wide selection available is proof that cheeses- and butter- making is now a well-established and thriving art in Iceland. Today there are 80 types of cheese to be had, including Icelandic variations of many internationally famous cheese. The rapid and very successful development of the past decades now mean that the nation's cheeses are equal to, if not better than, foreign cheeses. Some Icelandic cheeses have even gone on to win international acclaim.
Icelandic butter and butter substitutes come in various forms. As well as butter there is the popular "Smjörvi" and "Létt og laggott", which has a mere 40% fat content (not suitable for frying). The success of Icelandic cheese and butter is due no doubt to the high quality standards and the fact that Icelandic milk is produced in a natural environment untouched by pollution

Milk products
Icelandic milk is one of nature's bounties, of which its countrymen are rightly proud. Through the centuries, this delicate product has been handled with respect and now, in recent years, with imaginative flair. The Icelandic dairy industry is subject to strict production control and all products must meet the high level of quality expected by the public. The extensive range of Icelandic dairy products means that every possible taste is catered for. Still popular today are the centuries-old Icelandic specialities skyr and mysa (whey). Classed as a fresh cheese, skyr is made from skimmed milk and is akin to yogurt, and the German "Quark". Whey is a by-product in the making of skyr and is used in the pickling of slátur. Traditionally, mysa was a popular thirst-quencher and still is today. An ideal substitute for wine when cooking fish.
Dairy products that can be stored for a long period are specially marked with the letter "G".

Bread toppings
A visit to any Icelandic bakery reveals the wide range of bread on offer. Selecting something to go with your bread is no great problem either. The range is simply enormous: international salamis and luncheon sausages, patés and marinated herring, smoked salmon, or to mention a few Icelandic specialities, lamb patés, smoked lamb and rolled sausage.

Fruits & vegetables
Icelanders grow a lot of tasty garden vegetables, e.g. potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower and rhubarb. Vegetables and southern fruits are also imported, making for a wide choice all the year round. In the autumn, Icelanders like to gather wild berries, mainly crowberries and blueberries, which are eaten fresh and also used to make jams and juices, in particular the former. Geothermal energy is used to heat greenhouses especially for the growing of cucumbers, tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and beautiful garden flowers.

Traditional Icelandic food
Iceland has age-old food traditions, associated with the autumn slaughtering season and the limited possibilities for preserving the meat. Some of these traditions are still very much alive today. The unique "súrmatur" or whey-pickled foods make up the so-called "þorramatur", relished by Icelanders, especially in the period from January to March. "Seytt rúgbrauð" (cooked rye bread), "harðfiskur" (dried fish) and "slátur" (blood pudding) are common fare, while "hangikjöt" (smoked lamb) on "flatbrauð" (rye pancakes) is delicious at any time. Do try some of these national specialities when in Iceland!

Hangikjöt - Smoked lamb. Smoked lamb, leg or shoulder, can be had on the bone, boned or cooked and sliced as luncheon meat. Raw hangikjöt should be boiled in unsalted water at a low heat for about 1½ hours. In Iceland hangikjöt is traditionally served either hot or cold, with potatoes in a white (béchamel) sauce and green peas (variations according to taste). Popular as a luncheon meat, especially on Icelandic rye pancakes (flatbrauð). A favourite with Icelanders at any time, hangikjöt is traditional Christmas fare.

Harðfiskur - Dried fish. Harðfiskur, dried haddock, cod or catfish, is ready to eat, direct from the package. For extra flavour spread with a little butter. Popular as a snack food, it is also available as freeze-dried titbits.

Svið - Singed sheep heads. Singed sheep head should first be thoroughly rinsed and then boiled in well-salted water for 1½ to 2 hours. Svið can be eaten hot or cold, with either plain boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes or swede turnips. A popular dish in Iceland, svið are an ideal item for a packed lunch. Also available ready-cooked, tinned or pressed and gelled (sviðasulta).

Saltkjöt - Salted lamb/mutton. Salted lamb/mutton needs to be boiled for 1½ hours in unsalted water. It is served either hot or cold with potatoes or swede turnips and is frequently accompanied by split pea soup.

Bjúgu - Smoked minced meat sausage. Cooking directions are given on the package. The sausage can be served either hot or cold with potatoes in a white (béchamel) sauce. An ideally convenient and cheap food for the traveller.

Þorramatur - Traditional Icelandic foods. In addition to smoked and salted lamb, singed sheep heads, dried fish and rye pancakes (flatbrauð), traditional Icelandic food includes shark and various pickled foodstuffs, chiefly meat, that have been allowed to stand in whey for 3-4 months. Þorramatur is particularly associated with the period Jan.-March.

Lax - Salmon. Fresh wild salmon is widely on sale from May to September. Farmed salmon is however available all the year round. Salmon is delicious poached, fried or grilled. Salmon can also be had smoked or pickled ("gravad").

Silungur - Trout. Throughout the country, fresh trout can be bought and permits for trout fishing in lakes and rivers are everywhere available. Smoked trout is also conveniently packed and is delicious on bread.

Niðursoðinn matur - Canned foods. All food stores carry a wide range of canned food, fish/meat balls and puddings, sheep heads (svið), etc. Such food need only be heated before consumption.

Slátur - Blood and liver puddings. Slátur is a traditional Icelandic food, prepared every year in the months of September and October when the slaughtering season is at its peak. There are two types of slátur: blóðmör (blood pudding) and lifrarpylsa (liver pudding). Blóðmör consists of sheep's blood, meal, suet and spices, mixed together and sewn up in sheep stomachs. Lifrapylsa is quite similar, the difference being that instead of blood minced lamb liver is used. The puddings are boiled for 3 hours and generally served with creamed potatoes or mashed swede turnips. Precooked slátur which only needs to be heated and can also be fried is available at all stores.

Skyr - an Icelandic dairy product. Akin to yogurt and the German Quark, skyr is a dairy product with a very low fat content. Usually eaten with milk or cream, sometimes sprinkled with sugar and often berries when in season; it can of course be eaten plain. Varieties of skyr with added berries and fruits are also available.

List of products, Liste de produits, Warenverzeichnis, Produktförteckning

Kjöt: Meat: Viande: Fleisch: Kött:
Lamb Lamb Mouton (Agneau) Lamm Lamm
Naut Beef Boeuf Rindfleisch Nöt
Svín Pork Porc Schwein Gris
Folald Horsemeat (Foal) Cheval (Poulain) Fohlen Häst
Hreindýr Reindeer Renne Rentier Ren
Læri Leg Gigot Keule Lårstek
Lærissneiðar Slices of leg Tranches de gigot Keulenscheiben Skivat lår
Hryggur Saddle/rack Selle/Échine Rücken Rygg
Kótilettur/rifjur Cutlets/chops Côtelettes Koteletts Koteletter
Frampartur Shoulder Épaule Schulter Bog
Frampartssneiðar Shoulder slices Tranches d'épaule Schulterscheiben Bogskivor
Hamborgarhryggur Smoked saddle of pork Selle de porc fumée Geräucherter Schweinerücken Rökt grisrygg
London lamb Lightly smoked lamb Mouton légèrement fumé Leichtgeräuchertes Lamm Lättrökt lammkött
Kjötfars Sausage meat
(f. meatballs)
Farce Wurstfleisch Färsdeg
Kjöthakk Minced meat Viande hachée Hackfleisch Köttfärs
Lundir Tenderloin Filet Filet Filé
Hryggvöðvi (filé) Fillet Faux-filet Filet Filé
Smásteik (gúllas) Boneless stewing meat Viande à ragoût Gulaschfleisch Grytbitar
Súpukjöt Pot stew meat
(with bones)
Viande à soupe Suppenfleisch Soppkött
Afturhryggssneið (T-bein) T-bone steak Côte de boeuf T-bone Steak T-benstek
Hamborgarar Hamburgers Steak haché Hamburger Hamburgare
Rifjasteik Rib steak Plat de côtes Rippenbraten Rebensspjäll
Skinka Ham Jambon Schinken Skinka
Beikon (flesk) Bacon Lard fumé Geräuchertes Speck Rökt fläsk
Saltkjöt Salted meat Petit salé Salzfleisch Saltkött
Reykt kjöt Smoked meat Viande fumée Geräuchertes Fleisch Rökt kött
Kálfasneið (schnitzel) Veal schnitzel Escalope de veau Kalbsschnitzel Kalvschnitzel
Hangikjöt Smoked lamb Viande de mouton fumée Geräuchertes Lamm Rökt lammköt
Hálf- og fullunnin kjötvara Prepared Meat products Produits à base de viande Fleischprodukte Tillagade kjöttprodukter
Pylsur og bjúgu Sausages Saucisses et saucissons Wurstwaren Korv
Niðursoðið kjöt Canned meat Viandes en conserves Fleischkonserven Konserver
Fiskur: Fish: Poisson: Fisch: Fisk:
Ýsa (ný, nætursöltuð eða reykt) Haddock (fresh, half-salted or smoked) Églefin (frais, demi-sel ou fumé) Schellfisch (frisch, leichtgesalzen oder geräuchert Kolja (färsk, lättsaltad eller rökt)
Þorskur Cod Cabillaud Kabeljau, Dorsch Torsk
Lúða (smálúða, stórlúða) Halibut (small, large) Flétan (petit, grand) Heilbutt (klein, groß) Hälleflundra (liten, stor)
Sandhverfa Turbot Turbot Steinbutt Piggvar
Skarkoli (rauðspretta) Plaice Plie ou carrelet Scholle, Goldbutt Rödspätta, rödspotta
Karfi Redfish Sébaste (Rascasse du Nord) Rotbarsch Rödfisk
Skata (ný eða kæst) Skate, ray (fresh or fermented and salted) Pocheteau gris (frais ou fermenté et salé) Rochen (frisch oder fermentiert) Rocka (färsk eller jäst och saltad)
Skötuselur Monkfish Lotte Angler Marulk
Ufsi Saithe Colin, lieu noir Seelachs, Köhler Sej
Steinbítur Catfish Loup (de mer) Katfisch Havskatt (Kotlettfisk)
Langa Ling Lingue Leng Långa
Rauðmagi* Lumpfish Lompe Seehase Sjurygg, stenbit
Grásleppa* (söltuð eða sigin) Lumpfish (salted or half-dried) Lompe (salée ou demi-séchée) Seehase (gesalzen oder halbtrocken) Sjurygg, stenbit (saltad eller till hälften vindtorkad)
Síld Herring Hareng Hering Sill
Saltfiskur Salt cod Morue salée Gesalzener Kabeljau Saltad torskfisk
Lax, villtur, eldislax (nýr reyktur og grafinn) Salmon, wild, farmreared, (fresh, smoked and dill-cured) Saumon sauvage, d'élevage (frais, fumé mariné à l'aneth) Lachs, wild, gezüchtet (frisch, geräuchert, in Dill eingelegt) Lax, vild lax odlad lax (färsk, rökt eller gravad)
Silungur Trout Truite Forelle Forell
Bleikja Arctic Charr Omble Chevalier Seesaibling Röding
Áll Eel Anguille Aal Ål
Hörpuskel Scallop Coquille St. Jacques Kamm-Muschel Kammussla
Kræklingur Mussel Moule Miesmuschel Blåmussla
Beitukóngur Whelk Buccin Wellhornschnecke Valthornssnäcka
Humar Lobster Langoustine Hummer, Languste Hummer, languste
Rækja, úthafsrækaj Shrimp, (deep-water) prawn Crevette rouge (Tiefsee) Garnele Räka
*árstíðabundið - sesonal / saisonnier / nach Jahreszeit /efter årstid.
Hálf- og fullunnin fiskvara: Prepared fish products: Produits à base de poisson: Verarbeitete Fischwaren: Tillagade fiskprodukter:
Fiskibollur Fish balls Quenelles de poisson Fischklopse Fiskbullar
Fiskbúðingur Fish pudding Farce de poisson cuisinée Fischpudding Fiskpudding
Fiskfars Fish dough Farce de poisson Fischteig Fiskfärsdeg
Fiskhakk Minced fish Poisson haché Hackfisch Fiskfärs
Fiskborgarar Fishburgers Fishburger Fischburger Fiskburgare
Fiskpylsur, reyktar eða nýjar Fish sausage, fresh or smoked Saucisse de poisson, fraîche ou fumée Fischwurst, frisch oder geräuchert Fiskkorv, färsk eller rökt
Fuglar: Birds: Oiseaux: Vögel: Fåglar:
Rjúpa* Ptarmigan Perdrix des neiges Schneehuhn Ripa
Lundi Puffin Macareux Papageientaucher Lunne
Reyktur lundi Smoked puffin Macareux fumé Geräucherter Papageientaucher Rökt lunne
Svartfugl* Guillemot Guillemot Alke Sjöfågel
Villigæs* Wild goose Oie sauvage Wildgans Viltgås
Aligæs Farm-reared goose Oie domestique Mastgans Tamgås
Kalkúni Turkey Dinde Pute Kalkon
Villiönd* Wild duck Canard sauvage Wildente Vildand
Aliönd Farm-reared duck Canard d'élevage Mastente Tamand
Kjúklingur Chicken Poulet Hähnchen Kyckling
Kjúklingabringa Breast of chicken Blanc de poulet Hähnchenbrust Kycklingbröst
Kjúklingalæri Leg of chicken Cuisse de poulet Hähnchenkeule Kycklinglår
Unghæna Young hen/pullet Poularde Junghuhn Unghöna
Unghani Cockerel Coquelet Junghahn Ungtupp
Hænuegg Hen's eggs Oeufs de poule Hühnereier Hönsägg
Svartfuglsegg* Sea-bird eggs Oeufs de guillemot Alkeneier Sjöfågelägg
Andaregg* Duck's eggs Oeufs de canard Enteneier Andägg
Gæsaregg* Goose eggs Oeufs d'oie Gänseeier Gåsägg
*árstíðabundið/according to season/saisonnier/nach Jahreszeit / efter årstid
Smjör og ostar: Butter and Cheese: Fromages et beurres: Käse und Butter: Ost och smör:
Smjör Butter Beurre Butter Smör
Smjörvi Butter spread Beurre allégé à tartiner Butteraufstrich Bregott
Létt og laggott Low-fat spread Beurre maigre à tartiner Magerbutter Lätt och Lagom
Gouda, 11%, 17%, 26%
Brauðostur, 26%
Similar to Edam Similaire à l'Edam Ähnelt Edamer Liknar Edamer
Maribo, 26%
Tilsitter, 26%
Óðalsostur, 26% Similar to Emmenthal or Baby Swiss Similaire à l'Emmenthal ou Baby Swiss Ähnelt Emmenthaler oder Baby Swiss Liknar Emmenthaler eller Baby Swiss
Skólaostur Very mild Très doux Sehr mild Mycket mild
Mozzarella, 17%, 26%
Búri Similar to Havarti Similaire au Havarti Ähnelt Havarti Liknar Havarti
Port Salut
Gráðostur Blue cheese Fromage bleu Schimmelkäse Grön mögelost
Kotasæla Cottage Cheese Fromage blanc campagnard Hüttenkäse
Dala-Brie Similar to Brie Similaire au Brie Ähnelt Brie Liknar Brie
Dala-Yrja Blue-white cheese Style Bleu de Bresse Blauweisser Käse Mögelost
Jöklaostur Similar to Havarti w/herbs Similaire au Havarti aux herbes Ähnelt Havarti mit Kräutern Liknar Havarti med kryddörter
Mysingur Brown cheese spread Fromage brun à tartiner Molkenkäse als Brotaufstrich Messmör
Mysuostur Brown cheese Fromage brun Molkenkäse Mesost
Rjómamysuostur Creamy brown cheese Fromage brun à la crème Sahne-Molkenkäse Grädd-mesost
Bræddur ostur Processed cheese Fromage fondu Schmelzkäse Smältost
Smurostur, 20% Cheese spread Fromage à tartiner Streichkäse Mjukost
Rjómaostur Cream cheese Fromage à la crème Sahnekäse Gräddost
Ostakaka Chesse cake Gâteau au fromage blanc Käsekuchen Ostakaka
Léttostur, 4%, 6% Light cheese spread Fromage léger à tartiner Leichtkäseaufstrich Magermjukost
Bónda-Brie Similar to petit Brie Similaire au petit Brie Ähnelt petit Brie Liknar petit Brie
Dala-Kollur A mild cheese Un fromage doux Milder Schnittkäse En mild skärost
Mjólkurafurðir: Milk Products: Produits Laitiers: Milchprodukte: Mjölkprodukter:
Nýmjólk 3,90% Fresh (pasteurised) milk Lait frais Frischmilch Standardmjölk
Léttmjólk 1,5% Low-fat milk Lait allégé Fettarme Milch Lättmjölk
Undanrenna 0,1% Skimmed milk Lait écrémé Magermilch Skummjölk
Rjómi 36%/12% Cream Crème Sahne Grädde
Kókómjólk (uth) 2% Coca milk Lait au cacao Kakaomilch Kakaomjölk
G-mjólk 3,90% (uth) Long-life milk Lait longue conservation Haltbare Milch H-Milch Hållbarhetshandlad mjölk, H-mjölk
G-rjómi 36% (uht) Long-life cream Crème longue conservation Haltbare Sahne Hållbarhetsbehandlad grädde, H-grädde
G-kaffirjómi (uth) 12% Long-life coffee cream Crème pour café longue conservation Halbare Kaffesahne H-kaffegrädde
Sýrður rjómi 18%/10% Crème fraîche Crème fraîche (Sour cream) Crème fraîche Crème fraîche
Súrmjólk Buttermilk, soured milk Lait sur Dickmilch Filmjölk
Ávaxtasúrmjólk Soured milk with fruits Lait sur aux fruits Dickmilch mit Früchten Filmjölk med frukt
AB-mjólk AB-milk Lait AB (fermenté) AB-Milch AB-mjölk
Mysa Whey Petit lait Molke Vassla
Skyr See description Voir description Siehe Erklärung Se förklaring
Ávaxtaskyr Skyr with fruit Skyr aux fruits Frucht-skyr Frukt-skyr
Rjómaskyr Cream skyr Skyr à la crème Sahne-skyr Grädd-skyr
Jógúrt Yogurt Yogurt (yaourt) Joghurt Yoghurt
Ávaxtajógúrt Fruit yogurt Yogourt aux fruits Joghurt mit Früchten Yoghurt med frukt
Þykkmjólk Creamy yogurt Crème yogourt Creme-Joghurt Yoghurtkräm
Smámál Dessert pudding Dessert Puddingdessert Dessertpudding
Ís Ice cream Glace Eis Glass
Rjómaís Cream ice Crème glacèe Eiscreme Gräddglass
Íslenskur matur: Icelandic specialities: Spécialités islandaises: Isländische Spezialitäten: Isländska specialiteter:
Svið Singed sheep heads Têtes de mouton roussies Gesengte Schafsköpfe Svedda lammhuvud
Sviðasulta Sheep-head jelly Fromage de tête Kopfsülze Sylta av lammhuvud
Hangikjöt Smoked lamb Viande de mouton fumée Geräuchertes Lamm Rökt lammkött
Blóðmör Bloodpudding Boudin Blutwurst Blodkorv
Lifrarpylsa Liver pudding Boudin de foie Leberwurst Leverkorv
Ýmis súrmatur (blóðmör/lifrarpylsa/
Various soured meats (bloddpudding/liver pudding/ram testicles/breast of lamb/seal flippers) Mets surs variés (boudin/boudin de foie/testicules de bélier/poitrine de mouton/nageoires de phoque) Sauerspeisen (Blutwurst/leberwurst/
Surmat (blodkorv/leverkorv/
Saltkjöt Salted lamb Petit salé de mouton Gesalzenes Lamm Saltat lammkött
Flatkökur, flatbrauð Rye pancakes Galettes de seigle Fladenbr. (Roggenpfannk.) Tunnbröd av råg
Seytt rúgbrauð Cooked rye bread Pain de seigle cuit à la vapeaur Gekochtes Pumpernickel Kokt rågbröd
Hákarl Greenland shark Requin de Groënland Haifisch Haj
Harðfiskur Dried fish Poisson séché Trockenfish Torkad fisk
Skyr See description Voir description Siehe Erklärung Se förklaring
Ávaxtaskyr Skyr with fruit Skyr aux fruits Skyr mit Früchten Skyr med frukt


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