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Icelandic Food: What to know before you go

“What exactly do they eat in Iceland?” is the first question I’m usually asked about my two week visit to the Nordic island country. Well, the answer isn’t for the faint of heart. The local diet hasn’t changed much since the Vikings settled the island sometime in the second half of the 9th century. The preparation of the food is, of course, much tastier than it would have been 1,200 years ago. It’s since had the benefit of other Scandinavian and European influences. The mainstays of the locals include lamb, potatoes, skyr, and lots and lots of seafood. For a country surrounding by Arctic waters, fishing is naturally the single most important sector of the economy. Fisheries employ up to 20 percent of the workforce. Many of the restaurants serve seafood caught same day. Haddock, herring, skate, salmon, lobster. Seafood is everywhere. And that’s the good news. As for the rest of the classic Icelandic dishes, well,…