Christmas traditions vary around the world, especially when it comes to food and Iceland is no different. Christmas Eve dinner is the feast of all festive feasts and everyone takes it very seriously. As a result, as families merge and grow, some Christmas food traditions from one branch of the family tree may be the same as another, and so the great negotiations over what to have for Christmas dinner begins.
What to Have for Christmas Eve Dinner?
One wants pot roast and the other wants a glazed rack of lamb just like grandma used to make. As a solution, some families do away with their old traditions altogether, opting for less conventional dishes like blinis with hangikjöt (smoked and hung leg of lamb) or the more labor intensive but quite festive crown roast lamb.
At the other end of the spectrum is the family that aims for the impossible and tries to make everyone happy by making all the dishes. It’s usually in the midst of all this Christmas Eve chaos that the youngest members of the family begin strategic whining and desperate pleas that the only way they can possibly live until dinner is served is if they are allowed to open one Christmas gift a little early. Just one. It isn’t much of a stretch as Icelanders open their Christmas presents just after Christmas Eve dinner, but one must admire the hustle.
Bringing Families Together for Centuries
But there is one thing that unites all Icelandic Christmas dinner traditions–from the ones passed down from the greatest of great-grandmas to the new ones that that one cousin insists will wow your palate–and that is Icelandic lamb. No matter which dish is chosen as the main, Icelandic lamb is the perennial winner as it always has a place on the festive table, whether as the star, the scene stealer or in a supporting role.
Icelandic lamb has a special place in the hearts of Icelanders during the holidays. It is not only a unique, quality raw material that has joined an exclusive group of the world’s most sought-after quality products by becoming PDO certified, it has always been with us, providing for our most basic needs from the beginning. No other Icelandic food product has achieved PDO certification and that Icelandic lamb should hold that achievement, well, it doesn’t get much more Icelandic than that. Put simply, Icelandic lamb is Icelandic Christmas.
Looking to begin a new Christmas tradition or freshen up an old one? Check out https://www.icelandiclamb.is/ for recipes and more to help you celebrate.