Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Klaus the German sausage-maker

By Sara McMahon

  • Enjoys the country life. Klaus Kretzer moved to Iceland in 1992 and now resides in the Skaftafell district and produces home-made sausages from mutton. Photo/Klaus Kretzer

Klaus Kretzer and his wife moved from Reykjavík to Skaftafell on the south east coast of Iceland to realize a joint dream: to live and work in the Icelandic countryside.

 

Kaus, who was born and raised in Germany, moved to Iceland with his Icelandic wife in 1992 and worked as a carpenter, set designer and a park ranger before founding his own business. He now spends his days making flavoursome sausages from scratch. His products, which carry the brand name Skaftafell Delicatessen, were awarded the bronze medal in the category Air Dried Sausages at the Swedish Championships in Artisan food in 2013.

Rumour has it that you don’t want to expand the business, because then you‘d have to buy meat outside of Skaftafellssýsla district. Is that true?
“Yes, the idea was to create a local brand and product. I purchase my meat (I only use mutton) from my neighbours, the farmers in Öræfi district. Keeping it local gives me the opportunity to market my products as “handmade in Skaftafell from locally produced meat.” I think expanding the business any further would harm the image of the brand, my production will therefore always be local to minimize the impact we have on the environment.” Klaus adds, “In my opinion it is also important that I know the farmers who produce the meat personally. They are very ambitious about what they are doing, and I can be sure that they treat their livestock well.”

Where can your products be bought?
“I make one sausage for barbequing or frying and another one to use as topping. The Skaftafell Delicatessen products can be bought all year round in Skaftafell and Freysnes, east of Skaftafell. Some of the products are used in restaurants in Höfn in Hornafjörður. As of this summer the products will be available at the Farmers Market in Kirkjubæjarklaustur town.”

Do you enjoy life in the Icelandic countryside?
“I love it! I never intended to live in Reykjavík when I moved to Iceland in 1992. It was the nature and the landscape that brought me to Iceland in the first place and that’s where I want to be.”

Do you find Icelanders very different to Germans?
“Yes, Icelanders are quite different to Germans. Icelanders hate to plan for the future, Germans, on the other hand, do a lot of that. Icelanders are more impulsive, which generally is a good thing. This results in a society which is much more open for anything coming its way. For guys like me it provides the ground to develop ideas and just go for it. And, compared to Germany, paperwork is negligible in Iceland, which is great. On the other hand, when you have to tackle future issues, this lack of organisation can turn out to be a problem. It’s obvious that Icelanders are having a hard time sorting out their long term issues.

"It might also have to do with their Viking heritage which Icelanders are so proud of. From a certain perspective one could say that Icelanders are in fact still Vikings. It is common to stand firmly by one’s beliefs no matter how little reason you have for it, resulting in constant fighting with those of the opposite opinion. The main goal does not seem to be solving the problem but to stand up and fight. This may sound funny but has, in fact, some serious effects. The public discussion is often dominated by this meaningless bickering and there’s really no independent press to get the facts right. This is probably a problem all “smaller” countries are facing.  In bigger countries like Germany, the public discussion seems to make more sense, at least most of the time.”

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