Experience the month-long celebration of Þorri, a traditional feast in Iceland that takes place during the fourth month of the Icelandic pagan calendar, running from mid-January through mid-February. The annual Þorrablót is an opportunity to indulge in delicious traditional Icelandic dishes, such as smoked lamb, dried fish and traditional flatbread, accompanied by local spirits and beer. This is an excellent chance to immerse yourself in the country’s rich culinary heritage, and to join locals in celebrating this ancient tradition.

The Þorrablót tradition was revived in post-World War II Iceland, as a way for Icelanders to gather and enjoy traditional foods that were becoming less popular in an increasingly urban population. Explore 6 staple foods of every Þorrablót spread, each one delicious and worth trying

Súrsaðir Hrútspungar (Sour Ram’s Testicles)

The dish of súrsaðir hrútspungar, or sour ram’s testicles, is a unique and traditional delicacy. The preparation of this dish is quite simple, yet results in a flavorful and distinct taste that is sure to excite the senses. The testicles are first carefully washed to ensure cleanliness and purity before being boiled to soften and remove any impurities. They are then pressed into molds and allowed to cure with lactic acid, which gives them their distinct sour flavor.

The curing process can take several days, but the end result is worth the wait. Once finished, the testicles are sliced down much like a loaf of fresh bread, ready to be enjoyed. The texture of the dish is both tender and moist, while the sour flavor adds a unique twist to the taste. This dish is not for the faint of heart, as it’s a strong and unusual delicacy but if you’re feeling adventurous it can be worth a try. It’s important to note that it’s not just a common bread and should be handled with respect.

Hákarl (Rotten Shark) 

Introduce yourself to the flavors of Hákarl, a traditional dish made from fermented Greenlandic shark meat. Though the word “rotten” is often used to describe it, this dish is actually fermented by burying it in a gravelly pit for 6-12 weeks, allowing all fluids to drain out before being cut into slices and hung for 7 months. It is an acquired taste for many, the strong flavor may take some getting used to, but it is a part of Iceland’s culinary heritage and cultural identity. Icelanders traditionally serve Hákarl with shots of brennivin, a strong spirit that helps to cut the strong taste of the shark meat. It is a unique and interesting experience to try, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not for everyone.


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Svið (Boiled Sheeps Head)

Svið, or singed sheep’s head, is a traditional Icelandic delicacy that is enjoyed by many, particularly during the colder months of the year. It is a dish that is not for the faint of heart, as it is a unique culinary experience that may shock some people upon first glance. However, once you move beyond the initial shock of seeing a seared sheep staring up at you from your plate, you will find that the taste of the meat is truly delicious.

The preparation of svið is a meticulous process. The sheep’s head is singed over an open flame to remove all hair and carefully cleaned to ensure that it is free of impurities. It is then halved and boiled until it is cooked to perfection. Care must be taken not to overcook the meat, as it should not fall off the bone. The presentation of this dish is also a key aspect, as the singed profile of the sheep on the dinner table is a unique and visually striking sight.

The meat itself is very tasty and can be enjoyed with various side dishes, such as potatoes or vegetables. Some Icelanders even go so far as to eat the eyeballs, which are considered a delicacy, adding a unique texture to the meal. Svið is a true representation of Icelandic cuisine, offering a unique taste and a visually striking presentation.


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Sviðasulta (Boiled Sheep Head’s Jam)

Sviðasulta is another traditional delicacy made from svið, or singed sheep’s head. The name Sviðasulta literally means “jam of svið,” and it is made by taking the meat from the sheep’s head and the gelatin-rich juices from the skull, and then pressing them together into a mold. Once the mold is filled, it is left to cool and the juices solidify into a jelly-like consistency.

The resulting dish is a meaty head cheese that can be sliced down and enjoyed, typically at a þorrablót feast. This delicacy has a unique and rich flavor, as it combines the taste of the sheep’s head meat with the flavors of the gelatin and spices used to prepare it. The jelly-like texture of the sulta is an interesting contrast with the meat, which gives it an enjoyable textural experience. The sviðasulta is often enjoyed with different breads, and some also prefer it with a cold beer or a strong aquavit.

It is an acquired taste, as is the case with many traditional delicacies, but it is a beloved and respected part of Icelandic cuisine. Some people may be shocked by the sight of it but once they try it, they might find the flavors and the textures to be quite enjoyable.

It is important to note that Sviðasulta is not readily available in most parts of the world and is considered a traditional delicacy of Iceland, but some other countries may have their own variations of headcheese or meat jelly.


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Slátur (Blood Sausage)

Slátur, also known as blóðmör, is a traditional Icelandic delicacy that is similar to blood sausages found in other cultures. It is made by mixing together lamb or sheep blood with a combination of grains and seasonings, and then stuffing the mixture into the stomach lining of the lamb or sheep. The sausage is then boiled and served as a traditional delicacy, usually during the festival of þorrablót.

The resulting sausage has a dark, almost black color due to the use of blood, and the texture is typically course. The taste of blóðmör is often described as being “indescribable” and is considered as an acquired taste. It’s rich, savory, a bit salty and with a metallic taste due to the blood that is specific to blood sausage.

Slátur is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed by Icelanders for centuries, and is a staple at the festival of þorrablót. It is typically served with mashed potatoes and gravy, and can also be sliced and served cold as an appetizer or a snack.

It’s important to remember, as is the case with many traditional delicacies, this dish may not be for everyone and its preparation methods and ingredients may be subject to restrictions or regulations depending on the country.


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Lifrapylsa (Liver Sausage)

Lifrapylsa, also known as “liver sausage,” is a traditional Icelandic delicacy that is similar to the Scottish haggis. It is made by grinding down the liver and fatty tissue of a lamb, and then mixing it together with rye flour and oats. The mixture is then stuffed into the stomach lining of the lamb, sewn shut, and boiled to perfection.

This dish is a staple at the traditional Icelandic festival of þorrablót, where it is typically served with mashed potatoes, gravy and and some sort of fermented or pickled sides. It is also fairly popular at other times of the year as well, and considered as a hearty, rich and savory dish.

Lifrapylsa has a unique and rich flavor, and the combination of liver and fatty tissue with the rye flour and oats gives it a hearty and satisfying texture. It is usually enjoyed as a main course, and can also be sliced and served cold as an appetizer or a snack.

Like the other dishes mentioned, this one is also considered as an acquired taste and may not be for everyone. It’s an Icelandic traditional dish, and not always easy to find outside of the country, but similar dishes can be found in many other cultures.

That’s right, while traditional Icelandic delicacies such as svið, sviðasulta, lifrapylsa, and slátur may not be for everyone, there are also more familiar and approachable foods that can be enjoyed at a þorrablót party or any time of the year, such as hangikjöt and harðfiskur.

Hangikjöt is a traditional Icelandic dish made from hung and smoked lamb or sheep meat. The meat is hung for several weeks, allowing it to develop a unique and distinct flavor that is both smoky and savory. It is usually served with a variety of side dishes, such as mashed potatoes and gravy.


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Harðfiskur is another traditional Icelandic dish that is made from wind-dried fish. The fish is dried in the open air and can be made from a variety of different fish species, such as cod or haddock. The result is a dried fish that is firm and chewy, with a strong and unique flavor. It’s similar to fish jerky and often enjoyed with butter.


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Dark rye bread (Rúgbrauð) with creamy Icelandic butter is a staple at any Icelandic meal, it’s sweet, filling, and delicious. It’s important to be mindful and not to eat too much of it, as it can cause gastric discomfort, which is why it has been affectionately nicknamed “thunder bread” by Icelanders.


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It’s also important to note that these traditional dishes are not the only options in Iceland, as the country offers a wide variety of great food and dining experiences, from traditional to contemporary and from casual to upscale. You can find world-class chefs and innovative cuisine alongside some of the most fantastic natural landscapes of the world.