What Are Icelanders Eating This Holiday Season? - The Reykjavik Grapevine

What Are Icelanders Eating This Holiday Season?

Published December 21, 2012

Market and Media Research has conducted survey work into what Icelanders will be eating this holiday season, and while some traditional heavyweights are still going strong, others are falling to the wayside.
The holidays, in an Icelandic context, would be December 23 (St. Thorlak’s Day), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. December 26, called “the second day of Christmas”, is also a holiday in its own right. As with holiday traditions anywhere in the world, there are certain foods which are typically eaten on these days. Market and Media Research (MMR) conducted a few polls on what Icelanders will be eating this year.
St. Thorlak’s Day is typically a day for eating fermented skate. Readers who have tried fermented shark but not skate can simply imagine the taste of shark, and multiply that by several magnitudes, only served hot. According to one MMR survey, 40.5% of respondents said they intended to eat skate for St. Thorlak’s Day this year, while 59.5% said they had no intention to do so. When compared to figures from last year, fewer people are eating skate in 2012. It should also be noted that the younger a respondent was, the more likely they were to say they were not going to eat skate – in fact, it was the 50 – 67 age group that tipped the scales in skate’s favour. Most people 49 and younger will be avoiding skate.
On Christmas Eve, most Icelanders will be eating hamborgarhryggur, a type of smoked pork. In this case, the trend is the reverse that it was with skate – the largest age group intending to have hamborgarhryggur are in the 18 – 29 age group; only in the 50 to 67 age group did most Icelanders say they did not intend to have hamborgarhryggur this year. The political party support base with the largest percentage of those intending to have hamborgarhryggur for Christmas Eve was the Progressives.
On Christmas Day itself, hangikjöt – a type of smoked lamb meat – reigns supreme as the Christmas entree of choice. 70.3% said they intended to have hangikjöt as a main course on Christmas. Coming in at a distant second was hamborgarhryggur, at 8.5%, followed by turkey at 3.6%. The various and sundry other possible entrees were classified under “Other”, which was represented by 17.6% of respondents.


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