Iceland Rovers Blog

Currently showing: food and culture

The Evolution of Icelandic Food Culture: From a Lack of Colour to a Whole Rainbow

For centuries, life in Iceland has been a constant struggle. Large tracts of the countryside have very little fertility and support very little arable farming. The winters are long and dark. When the short summer comes around, work takes on a feverish place, to make the necessary preparations for winter. Time was of such an essence, that Icelanders would even knit their socks and show inserts while they were walking out to their fields.…

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A Brief History of the Hidden People of Iceland

Sometimes referred to as elves “Álfar” or Hidden People “Huldufólk”, Iceland has a long-standing relationship with elves. The history of the country is decorated with elves living under certain rocks, or certain places carrying a special spiritual or ethereal presence.…

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Halldór Laxness: Iceland's Nobel Laureate

They say that iceland has the highest number of Nobel Laureates per capita in the world, which is true. That’s enough for a little country like Iceland, with a population of only 330,000. Per capita is the key word here, and the number of Nobel laureates amounts to exactly 1.…

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Iceland's Independence Day

Iceland wasn’t always independent, and the march towards independence culminated on June 17th 1944, a great day of celebration in Iceland. This week, we are covering some of the events that led to Icelandic independence, and if you are lucky enough to be here on this day and around this wonderful summery time, then you are in for a treat!…

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5 Reasons Why Icelandic Skyr is so Popular

What is Skýr? It’s like yogurt, but not quite. It’s made from milk solids once the cream has removed, has no milk in it. Icelandic Skýr is actually, strictly speaking, a cheese, and requires a lot of milk to make: up to 3 or 4x more milk than yogurt! It is made from skimmed milk (ironically, it is common to add cream to Skýr).…

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Easter in Iceland

Easter is an interesting time in Iceland. It starts on Maundy Thursday (Skírdagur), which in 2017 falls on April 13th and ends Easter Monday (Annar í páskum) falling on April 17th. It’s a nice, long, 5 day 4 night weekend which many people use to escape to the countryside, or leave the country altogether.…

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Mythical Beings of Iceland

They may be real, they may not be. Some people claim to have seen them, some people claim to have never. The mythical beings of Iceland emerge as legends from a landscape that has historically been very unforgiving, where nothing less than constant work was necessary in order to survive. The tales of trolls, elves, ghosts and other monsters exist most likely as a way to explain the harsh elements, and give them some meaning.…

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Þorri, The Traditional Food Festival and Mens Day

Like many traditions in Iceland, þorri (translates to “frost” in Icelandic”) has pagan origins. It all starts with the Orkneyinga saga, which deals with a range of topics in what is now mostly Scandinavia but also more broadly Nordic countries in general. Therein, it is outlined that the Kvens (an ethnic minority of Finnish peasants living in Norway) offer a yearly sacrifice to þorri, likely related to Thor, the god of thunder, at mid-winter. This sacrifice was known as þorrablót.…

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The Magical Staves of Iceland

The culture of Iceland is full of mythology and magic. From the Sagas and Eddas of the vikings; to elves and trolls and stories of witchcraft, Iceland is indeed the land of magic and magical creatures and, as it turns out, Galdrastafir; an Icelandic word which translates to [galdra] “magical” [stafi] “sticks” or staves.…

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