How is Icelandic Christmas?
Tis the season, Christmas is upon us and blend of joy and excitement fill the hearts of children. Will that remote controlled 4WD car I requested be wrapped up under the tree? The grown ups are also fairly pumped as they might get that surprise trip to Iceland they always dreamed about.
We eat the good food, exchange gifts with loved ones which should sound very familiar. But we have alot of our own traditions and lets start with an easy one and that is Santaclause him self. We actually call him a Yule-lad, and we have 13 of them. 13 days before christmas they start showing up, one by one from their home in the mountains. And they leave a small gift in childrens shoe that has been previously placed in a window of the house. If for any reason the kids have not been behaving good, Santa will not leave a gift but a rotten potatoe in the shoe.
Leaf bread! Yes we know it sounds strange but this little delicacy is frequent in every home and is eaten with the main course. The leafbread is really a thin deep fried wheat cake. Families usually make a special day where all members gather and decorate their leaf bread and cook. You should be able to find them around Reykjavik in local convenience stores.
23. of december you might want to skip town in to the country side on your Lava rental car. Or stay and inhale the local experience of the fermented skate. Skate is a type of flat fish that is really good (as all Icelandic fish is) This skate is fermented which means that the smell that comes along with the cooking is, well lets just say it´s not very Christmas-y. Once you get the hang of it the skate is very good but needless to say an aquired taste to say the least.
Then there is that one special christmas drink we put together. It is non alcaholic and is a mix of orange soda (Appelsín) and Malt beer (Maltöl) Maltbeer is really a brew that is made like regular beer with low or minimal fermentation. This keeps the alcohol content at minimum. When asking for it you say: Áttu malt og appelsín?
Lets not forget about the christmas cat. It really is a bit of a monster cat that is said to be lurking around during christmas time searching for people. Searching for people that have not received new clothes to wear for christmas eve. So those that dont receive new clothes get eaten by the christmas cat.
There are many more obviously like all the Christmas buffets around Reykjavik. The baking of endless cookie sorts, Gríla (Greelahh) and Leppalúði (Leppahhlude-i) parents of the Yule lads. Ask our award winning staff about it, they will tell you.
Gleðileg Jól (Marry Christmas)