Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Icelandic Invasion

There was a time when an Icelandic invasion of Canada would have come by sea, it might very well have involved Leif Ericson and his band of merry marauders, and it's not clear that they would have arrived bearing gifts. Times have changed, though. When Icelanders invade Canada nowadays, they tend to come by Icelandair, any bands of merry marauders may very well have been invited , and if they're coming to visit old friends who just happen to run a food blog, not only will they arrive with gifts, but most of them will be edible.

This means licorice, and lots of it: chocolate-covered Draumur bars, jet-black Apollo Lakkrís, Tópas sykurlaus, and, my favorite, Opal,

opal green, opal orange

which comes in varying strengths, ranging from orange to baby blue, and some awfully snappy packaging.

It might also mean Opal's lethal licorice-vodka liqueur,

opal vodkaskot

whose praises none other than Quentin Tarantino has been busy singing: "Now, I don’t really know what poison tastes like because if I did I’d be dead. But if I had to imagine what poison tastes like, it would be this stuff Opal."

But, strangely, given this stiff competition, what we were most excited about was a humble loaf of rugbraud. Might have had something to do with our recently developed interest in steamed breads, but we couldn't wait to get our hands on that rugbraud, which is essentially a pumpernickel with an Icelandic twist: not only is it steamed, but it's steamed over a volcanic vent. I kid you not. I first encountered rugbraud almost 10 years ago now, when I visited Iceland, and its utterly distinctive flavor left quite an impression. Icelanders generally serve rugbraud with salted butter (to counteract its sweetness) and Gouda, so that's exactly the way we've been enjoying it: with salted butter and a 2 1/2-year-old aged raw milk Gouda from Alberta that's sold under the name Le Grizzly at Hamel.

rugbraud w/ butter and aged gouda

All those who aren't planning on invading Iceland anytime soon, either with a return trip ticket or on one of Icelandair's famous Icelandic stopovers: stay tuned for the home rugbraud recipe, including a step-by-step guide to building your very own simulation volcanic vent that emits gasses so pungent, so wonderfully sulfuric, you'll swear the Great Geysir itself had been transported to your very kitchen.*


Want your own Icelandic candies, liqueurs, and breads? Iceland is only 5 hours away by aeroplane.

Thanks to B. & I. for the goodies.

* Your neighbors, on the other hand, will just swear.

1 comment:

Jonna said...

I found your post when searching for a rúgbraud recipe. I just came back from Iceland and am already nervous for the time when the 2 loaves I brought back run out. Did you ever post the recipe and instructions for a geysir recreation? I would love to read it and try my hands at it. The one recipe I found seems like too quick a bake and there is no instructions on steaming the bread, which seems essential.