Trying New Foods: Iceland Edition

I love trying new foods. During my recent half-day visit to Iceland, I bought myself two souvenirs, both Icelandic food items. And this should come as no surprise: I loved trying them!

The first was fjallagrasasȳróp – a syrup made from Iceland moss. Iceland moss (that’s what it’s actually called) is technically a lichen, and despite being named for a relatively small island, it’s found all across northern North America, too, from Alaska to Newfoundland.

Icelandic people have used Iceland moss for centuries, because of its medicinal properties. It has compounds that help aid digestion and constipation, and can help with coughs. Iceland moss tea can be found pretty commonly, but since I rarely drink tea, I bought it as a syrup.

It’s good! Guess what it tastes like? Syrup. (Although you could add enough sugar to anything and it’s going to taste good.) I drizzled it on yogurt and fruit one day, and another day, dipped apple slices in it.

It seems to have a slightly earthier taste to it than maple syrup, but it’s very subtle difference. In a blind taste test, I bet I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

RELATED CONTENT: Check out my archive of posts about new-to-me fruits and vegetables!

My other purchase was a tad more challenging: dried cod!

Dried cod seems to be a popular local snack. There were multiple brands and varieties at the stores I visited. I’ve had fish jerky before, and I like fish, so I was prepared for a jerky-type experience.

It was nothing like jerky. Jerky is chewy and tough, and this was light and crispy, more like freeze-dried pieces of fruit than anything else. Except that it didn’t taste like fruit. It tasted like fish.

Actually, it had very little flavor at all. Most of the flavor came from the smell. It smells like those flakes that you feed to your goldfish. I ate a piece while holding my nose, and it tasted like absolutely nothing. It reminded me of the wafers that they distributed during communion when I was a kid.

Healthwise, it’s a fantastic food: like jerky, it’s high in protein, and low in calories. Unlike protein, it’s not laden with sodium. I’d eat this again in a heartbeat.

Coming soon, in an upcoming post: more new food finds!

Keep it up, David!


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