Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Icelandic Cuisine: Favorite Traditional Desserts

It's no surprise that Iceland has some of the tastiest desserts you can imagine. I think it’s due to our long winters. What better way to combat the seemingly unending darkness than something mouthwatering? The desserts we hold closest to our Nordic hearts are likely to be unknown by outsiders. If you are visiting Iceland anytime soon, you are going to need a cheat sheet of what to order to after dinner to accompany your coffee. I am going to give you the inside scoop on our country's most famous desserts.

Traditional Icelandic desserts go well with coffee

Kleina - The World's Best Fried Dough 


The first dessert on our list has been making Icelanders' mouths salivate for over 200 hundred years. Kleina is basically fried dough. Now, who doesn’t love fried dough? I still haven't met this person, and I'm pretty sure they don't exist. That's like saying you don't like happiness. Joking aside, these geometric, fried, flaky, fresh-from-the-oven treats are to die for. They are sweet, but not too sweet, and they pair well with coffee. Originally, Kleina was fried in fat from all sorts of animals. Now we have a much less barbarian means of creating one of our favorite pastries, as we use oil. If you are looking for the perfect accompaniment for your post-dinner cup of coffee, then look no further than Kleina.

Icelanders Love Ice Cream 


Icelanders are absolutely obsessed with the delicious, frosty, frozen, goodness that is ice cream. You would think that for a country whose winters are so harsh we would choose a warmer after dinner treat, right? Wrong. We have some of the best and freshest ice cream in the world. Usually, we take it two ways: either 1, plain with nothing added, or 2, we mix in nammi (nammi are the self-serve candies you scoop out of plastic bins at supermarkets) and create a sugar-fueled super sweet! I would highly recommend ordering a few scoops of fresh ice cream and then asking for an unabashedly massive helping of nammi. Even though your sugar levels will skyrocket, and you may end up vibrating around the room, you will be filled with unyielding happiness and joy! It'll partly be the delicious flavor, but mostly it'll be your blood sugar reaching for the stratosphere.

Freshly made ice cream is a tradional Icelandic sweet treat

Icelandic Blueberry Hjónabandsæla


This savory pastry’s name translates into English as “wedding bliss”, that should be a good indicator of how good it tastes. Mostly because wedding bliss can be hard to come by, kind of like people who don't like fried dough. Essentially, Hjónabandsæla is a pastry latticed into strips with a blueberry paste-like, jam smothered in-between its layers. This baked delicacy sounds too sweet on paper, but when made properly it is just right. Again, as with most Icelandic pastries, it pairs spectacularly well with coffee. Grab a slice of Hjónabandsæla, pour a fresh cup of piping hot coffee, and you are good to go.

Chocolate Skúffukaka Cake


Traditionally, Skúffukaka is a family-centric dessert. Every household in Iceland has a different take on this yummy dessert, which means when you try one it'll be unique. All Skúffukaka will be some variation of a chocolately cakey baked good topped with coconut flakes. The most common ingredients to make the base of a good Skúffukaka are butter, cocoa powder, milk, butter, and flour. However, since each family makes their Skúffukaka differently, it isn't uncommon for some special, secret items to be mixed in. You can really taste the love in every bite. Or maybe that's just coconut? Who knows!

Skúffukaka is a popular traditional chocolate dessert in Iceland

Icelandic Cuisine: Favorite Traditional Desserts 


These are just a handful of the most popular desserts in Iceland. Each region, town, and family has their own unique twist on these after dinner treats, plus many more! If you are visiting Iceland, I would recommend that you try several, if not all, of the aforementioned desserts. We have a very refined culinary culture, which borrows heavily from other Scandinavian countries. But, we are proudly Icelandic. And our pride can be felt through gooey chocolate glazes, freshly picked blueberry pastes, and locally sourced ice cream. Personally, my favorite method of showing my Icelandic pride is to grab a hot cup of coffee and devouring a huge helping of Icelandic desserts.

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