What do you do when you’ve tried a food, enjoyed it, but found that it’s not quite Icelandic enough? That’s right, you put it in a volcano! Well, maybe don’t toss your loaf of rye into an actual volcano—you might end up with some well-done toast in that case—but burying it by a volcanic hot spring is close enough. In fact, most traditional Icelandic rye bread is baked that way. The name “hverabrauð” literally means “hot spring bread,” but its other nickname “þrumari” translates to the even more exciting “thunder bread”. (Though this becomes less exciting when you realise that it refers not to the awe-inspiring elements that helped create it, but to the flatulence that follows its excessive consumption.)
Though most Icelandic rye bread is cooked in modern ovens now, there are still some bakeries that insist nothing tastes quite as good as their ancestors’ method. The Laugarvatn Fontana is one such place: dough here is placed in a lidded pan, cling-filmed, and buried in the hot sand for exactly twenty-four hours. The result is dense, chewy and sweet—a little bit like gingerbread. For the most traditional combination, serve warm with melted butter, smoked trout and some hard boiled eggs. You can cook these in the hot spring, too, if you’re feeling adventurous and you, well…have a hot spring nearby. For the full Zac Efron ‘Down to Earth’ experience, eat whilst wearing a beanie and saying “whoa!” and “awesome!” uncomfortably often.
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