An unfortunate linguistic misunderstanding has led to a lot of people thinking this popular Icelandic cookie is vegan (spoilers: it isn’t). In other news, Iceland is the most “vegan curious” country in the world.
Veganesti is a well-known treat in Iceland. Although it appears to contain the English word “vegan”, it is actually an Icelandic compound word comprised of “vega” and “nesti”, and can be loosely translated as “road snack”. And it is absolutely not vegan, containing both dairy and egg.
MBL reports that further complicating the misunderstanding is how the grocery store chain Nettó stocks these cookies. While on the shelves, the shelf label abbreviates the name of the treat to “Vegan.”, giving the understandable impression that these are indeed free of any animal products.
That being said, there are no shortage of vegan dining options in Iceland. This Swedish blog contains numerous links to the plethora of vegan stores and restaurants in this country, so you don’t even need to know Swedish to have a comprehensive list of such options (just ignore the photo of the very cookie we’re reporting on here).
In fact, Iceland could easily be described as the most “vegan curious” country in the world, as Chef’s Pencil report from data drawn from Google Trends. Icelanders did plenty of Googling of vegan-related topics over the past 12 months—more than any other country at least—and this includes Icelandic-language search terms like “vegan uppskriftir” (vegan recipes) and “vegan fæði” (vegan diet).
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