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Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.
TASTE • LISTEN • EXPERIENCE • READ • HAPPY HOUR
Iceland is truly unique! Home to 130 volcanos, about 30 of which are still active, this post is dedicated to the coolest nation of them all! #tourismstrong
Icelandic food is, well, let’s say interesting. Once you’ve visited, it is easier to understand. Iceland has a very drastic climate including the lack of sunlight at times. Not much grows naturally, and fishing and hunting options are limited. Plus, its location under the Arctic Circle didn’t make it any easier to import goods and food, in the past. However, the country has evolved and its use of geothermal energy today, allows Iceland to grow fresh produce. Nowadays, you can find quite an array of food, ranging from more traditional Icelandic dishes to international cuisine. However, fish is an intricate piece of the country’s food culture.
If you would like to try a traditional Icelandic dish at home, we suggest trying out Iceland Food Center’s PLOKKFISKUR.
- 500gr pollock, haddock, cod or any other white fish
- 500gr potatoes
- 1 large yellow onion (or 2 small, or 3 even smaller)
- 50gr butter
- 3 tbs all-purpose flour
- 300ml milk (or more if you prefer it thinner)
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp white pepper.
For a dairy-free version substitute butter with olive oil and milk with oat milk (or other non-dairy alternatives).
- Boil and peel potatoes.
- Poach your white fish according to instructions.
- Put aside.
- Sautée onions in butter at medium heat until translucent.
- Add flour to the butter and onions and whisk until it becomes a paste.
- Whisk in milk – a ladle at a time until it’s a thick sauce.
- Congratulations you made bechamel!
- Break up the potatoes and fish and add it to the mixture.
- If you’ve used up all the bechamel and you feel it’s still too thick you can add milk or the poaching water to thin it out.
- Season to taste!
Iceland’s sound is unique. You can feel its landscape, atmosphere, and moods, in many songs. It is not always easy listening, but you will be hard-pressed finding another country that produces music with so much authenticity and personality. What strikes me the most, is how different it sounds, once you had an opportunity to visit. It’s almost like all of a sudden, you understand where it is coming from and why it is represented like that.
Click the picture for our sample playlist on Spotify.
Iceland’s film industry developed slowly in comparison to other Nordic countries until the establishment of the Icelandic Film Fund (IFF) in 1978. The fund helped the local film industry grow and these days, we have quite a selection of movies that share the country’s unique humor, landscapes, atmosphere, as well as way of life.
- Rams: An Icelandic farmer (Theodór Júlíusson) and his estranged brother (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) band together to save their flocks of sheep from authorities who want the animals destroyed.
- Of Horses and Men: Set amidst the majestic splendor of the Icelandic countryside, Icelandic writer-director Benedikt Erlingsson interweaves a series of tales about horse-owners and their steeds.
- 101 Reykjavik: The story of unemployed and unmotivated Hlynur (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) and Lola (Victoria Abril), a flamenco teacher.
- Children of Nature: A retired farmer, Thorgeir (Gisli Halldorsson) moves to Reykjavik, and winds up in a retirement home, where he reconnects with Stella (Sigridur Hagalin), an old friend from his childhood.
- Cold Fever: A Japanese man (Masatoshi Nagase) finds misadventure and eccentric characters while in Iceland to perform a memorial service for his parents.
- Screaming Masterpiece: Screaming Masterpiece is a 2005 documentary film about the music scene in Iceland.
If you’d like to get an idea of what to expect, have a look at Lonely Planet’s presentation.
And for additional impressions, a video created by Iceland Travel, one of our onsite partners.
Here are also a couple of clips from my winter trip to Iceland.
If you are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent reads for you!
The Sagas of Icelanders by several authors: In Iceland, the age of the Vikings is also known as the Saga Age. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled in Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured farther west to Greenland and, ultimately, North America. For more…
The Little Book of Icelanders in the Old Days by Alda Sigmundsdottir: Iceland in centuries past was a formidable place to live. Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of the inhabitable world, the nation was both isolated and abjectly poor. Centuries of colonization translated into oppression and subjugation from the colonial overlords, and a hostile climate and repeated natural disasters meant that mere survival was a challenge to even the hardiest of souls. In these 50 miniature essays, Alda Sigmundsdottir writes about the Icelanders in centuries past in a light and humorous way, yet never without admiration and respect for the resilience and strength, they showed in coping with conditions of adversity that are barely imaginable today. For more…
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss: Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine. Read more…
The Fish can Sing by Halldor Laxness: Alfgrim was an abandoned child whose mother gave birth to him in the turf cottage of Bjorn of Brekkukot, the fisherman, on the outskirts of Reykjavik. This is the tale of Alfgrim’s boyhood and youth in the home of his grandparents in the early years of the twentieth century. It is a hospitable place, where dignified understatement is the norm and everything from a lumpfish to a Bible has a fixed price that never changes. For more…
Brennivín (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈprɛnːɪvin]) is a clear, unsweetened schnapps that is considered to be Iceland’s signature distilled beverage. It might be hard to find in the US, but you can always ask your local liquor store to see if they have an option to order it for you.
ARCTIC SOLSTICE – Created in 2014 by Villi K. of B5 Lounge in Reykjavik
- 2 oz Brennivín
- 1 oz Chambord
- 1 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
Method: Shake with ice and then strain it. Use a Collins glass and top with soda water to fill the glass. Add a mint sprig and a slice of grapefruit to garnish.
Skál! Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.
Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.
To plan a trip contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org