Traditional Icelandic food is often hearty and comforting. This is undoubtedly the result of attempting to combat the vicious and harsh conditions our ancestors faced when they settled the island. Also, it should be noted, that they didn’t have very many ingredients at their disposal to work with. Fish, fermented shark, lamb stew, and cured meats are the staples and foundations of Icelandic cuisine. These are always the most appealing and appetizing dishes. However, our desserts will knock your socks off. Icelandic desserts are an amalgamation and a reimagining of traditional Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish sweet treats. Let’s get those taste buds salivating by looking at some of Iceland’s tastiest treats.
One of the Best Icelandic Desserts: Blueberry Hjónabandssæla
You know a dessert is going to be out of this world when its name in Iceandic translates to “wedding bliss”. We know marital bliss doesn’t happen for everyone, but don’t worry. Grab a fresh helping of Hjónabandssæla with your partner, and all arguments will likely disappear. The fresh blueberry jam will distract you from the outside world. Hjónabandssæla is basically a pie with latticed sweet dough, and tasty blueberry paste slathered throughout the pastry. This dessert pairs exceptionally well with a nice cup of hot coffee. Grab a slice and relax.
I Scream You Scream, We All Scream For Icelandic Ice Cream
You may be thinking, “Why in the world would you eat ice cream in a country known for being so cold”? Don’t worry my friend, I will explain everything. Icelanders love ice cream. We are obsessed with it. No matter the time of year, you can always find families, post-dinner couples, and individuals enjoying fresh Icelandic ice cream. In my opinion, our version of this dessert is especially delicious given the fact that our ice cream parlors regularly only use fresh cream from local Icelandic pastures. This raises the overall quality of our ice cream immensely. If you find yourself wandering the streets of Reykjavik after dinner, do yourself a favor and stop into an ice cream parlor.
Also, important note, we love to put candies in our ice cream. Don’t be afraid to ask for a massive helping of sweets to accompany your frozen, frosty, fresh Icelandic ice cream.
Yummy Yummy, Kleinur In My Tummy
Kleinur is by far my favorite Icelandic dessert. I hesitate though to call it a dessert, as we traditionally eat it for breakfast with a cup of coffee. In reality, it is more like a pastry (but for the sake of our foreign readers, we will call it a dessert). Kleinur, for those who haven’t experience the utter joy of downing a plate of these crispy, crunchy treats is basically an Icelandic donut. Utilizing flour, eggs, a little bit of vanilla, and other ingredients, we roll the dough into diamonds, twist them and then fry them. Traditionally, we fried Kleinur in animal fat, but we have adopted much healthier avenues these days.
Fun fact: Kleinur is the plural of the dessert, and Kleina is the singular name for the pastry. However, it is impossible to eat just one of these scrumptious sweets, so we often just refer to them in the plural. If you are dying to try one of these delicious Icelandic donuts, swing by any bakery as they are a breakfast staple here in Iceland.
Iceland’s Tastiest Desserts
These are but a handful of the desserts we have here in Iceland. Each community, region, and family has their own iterations of traditional Icelandic desserts that is entirely unique. If you are visiting Iceland for the first time, it is unlikely that you will be able to have the real deal homemade desserts (as most desserts are made within the home). Bakeries and restaurants have plenty of offerings that available to hungry tourists, so don’t worry about missing out too much. All of our desserts pair exceptionally well with a fresh cup of coffee, good conversation, and some hearty laughs. Remember to leave room at the end of your meal to try some of our Icelandic desserts, because it is the perfect way to end the evening. Enjoy!