The only bread Icelanders knew before late eighteenth century, flat bread is actually one of the best (and only) inventions of this nation when it comes to combining grain and liquid. As usual, it comes out of necessity: There was a constant lack of corn and there were no ovens, so the bread had to be as thin as possible, and it was baked on open flints. Kökugerð Selfossi’s flatkökur have a slightly smoky taste to them, and oddly enough, Icelandic moss has been used as an ingredient in the green Fjallagrös option. Ömmubakstur (Grandma’s) flat bread (Ömmubakstur) is a choice with a more neutral taste.
The Icelandic scones are like thick pancakes, yet they are traditionally eaten as salty sandwiches – with cheese and ham or smoked lamb. 139 ISK for 4 at 10-11.
The traditional Icelandic dark rye bread has a sweet taste to it, and it’s traditionally eaten with fish and boiled potatoes. Some types of rúgbrauð is even geothermally baked inside the earth. Try the one baked in Selfoss for around 200 ISK.
Kleinur are oddly shaped, twisted deepfried bows or doughnuts, a local coffee table favourite, flavoured with cardamom. Around 100 ISK for one or 500ISK for a whole bag.
A crossing of a bun and a cookie, including raisins and best combined with tea. Usually less than 100ISK for one and 400ISK for a box of 10.
There are two types of sweet rolls to choose between: Crispy cinnamon rolls baked with soda (around 400ISK for a bag) and huge buns baked with yeast and covered with a sugar icing (149 ISK, typically). The size of a child’s head, these are favourites of youngsters, usually consumed with chocolate milk.
In most stores and bakeries you’ll find a selection of sweet Danish pastries, originally brought to the local cuisine during the time of Danish rule. The local name is vínbrauð. Expect to invest roughly 100 ISK for one.
Laufabrauð, leaf bread is sometimes also called “snowflake bread” because of the decorations on it. It’s an Icelandic Christmas tradition, and as such it’s not a red-hot matter on the local cookie scene at the moment, but it’s too Icelandic to be left unmentioned. It’s the sweet equivalent to flatkökur, and the shape comes for the same reasons.
Mjölkurkex, milk biscuits, if translated directly, by the local cookie company Frón don’t have much taste to them, but are wellsuited to consuming with extremely strong coffee. The locals either have overdosed on them in their childhood, or refer to their rather dry texture by calling them “bricks.” Other than the efforts by Frón, the flourishing biscuit business is international in
character, with the British cookie suppliers having a slight take on the shelves.
Bakarí Sandholt, Laugavegur 36,
101 Reykjavík, 551-3524.
Björnsbakarí, Klapparstígur 3,
101 Reykjavík, 551-1531.
Helgi Friðriksson Bakarí, Klapparstígur
3, 101 Reykjavík, 552-7743.
Or just look for the large pretzel near you.
If you’re in a fix, 10-11, Bonus, Krónan and Nóatún all have bakery sections.