From Iceland — Food Of Iceland: Kleinur

Food Of Iceland: Kleinur

Published July 15, 2019

Food Of Iceland: Kleinur
Felix Robertson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

News broke recently that Krispy Kreme is shutting down its Icelandic operations. How will we survive? Well, perhaps by sampling any one of the bazillions of Icelandic pastries. And there’s no better place to start than with Kleinur.

There’s much to appreciate when it comes to Iceland’s rugged equivalent of a doughnut. For those of an etymological persuasion, you can immerse yourself in fulfilling debates as to whether the word kleina (or the plural, kleinur) is originally of Swedish or low Germanic origin. Or if geo-culinary transferences get your tummy rumbling, you can appreciate the impressive distribution of this pastry throughout Nordic and eastern European countries. Or, you can be like us at The Grapevine and simply scarf them down. That’s good, too.

“If you can think of it, there’s probably a kleina flavour of it.”

To butcher Rule 34: if you can think of it, there’s probably a kleina flavour of it. You can get these twisted treats sugared, coated in lemon glaze or even made with a healthy glug of Cognac. But invariably, simple is best. A good kleina, after all, is significantly more robust than your wimpy American doughnut. The dough is twisted like a bow and then fried in oil or, if you’re feeling particularly metal/authentic, rendered sheep tallow, forming a surprisingly solid exterior. The best kleinur should crunch just a little as you bite into them. After a gruelling research project, I can confirm that the best way to enjoy a kleina is with a large mug of coffee and no meal plans for the next few hours. Kleinur are available at all good cafes and bakeries.


To read more about Food of Iceland, click here.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!