Tomorrow marks the beginning of the old month þorri, which generally is celebrated with traditional Icelandic food, enjoyed at large gatherings called þorrablót, held in various places throughout the month.
The food, typically served as buffet, includes the items listed below:
Dark rye bread, slightly sweet and slowly baked, commonly called þrumari or thunderer, because of the thundering it frequently produces at the rear end of those who enjoy it.
Dried fish, or harðfiskur: extremely addictive, despite its distinguished, strong smell. It’s most frequently enjoyed with a bit of butter.
Putrefied shark, served in tiny cubes the size of sugar cubes, but quite different in taste. These cubes are not for the delicate, but a delicacy to others.
Brennivín, also known as Black Death or aquavit, brewed from potatoes. This beverage is ideal for getting the shark down your throat.
Rotten eggs. The best ones are said to come from the West Fjords. They are indeed rotten and smell rotten.
Rams’ testicles which have been boiled and then cured in whey. You will be spared any further description.
Pressed meat from the heads of lambs, or head cheese, often cured in whey. Don’t let the description scare you away. This is considered delicious.
Liver sausage, made from the liver of sheep, is every child’s favorite. Its cousin, the blood sausage, is also popular, but together we call them slátur, meaning slaughter.
If none of the above is to your liking, rest assured you will like the hangikjöt or smoked lamb, which cannot be missed.
Note that the food above is proof how well our forefathers made use of their resources and let nothing go to waste. For preservation, meat was either smoked or stored in whey, and fish was dried.
So, if you’re invited to a þorrablót, don’t let the chance go by to experience it. Dress up and be ready to dance after dinner.
To watch a video in Icelandic of a man trying to purchase þorri food without rams’ testicles, click here.