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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Learn how to cook a traditional Icelandic meal with Salt Eldhús

By Sara McMahon

  • Food for thought  Two years ago, Auður Ögn Árnadóttir opened Salt Eldhús, offering an introductory course in Icelandic cuisine for foreign tourists. Photo/Kata Kapitan

For many, food is the best introduction to a new culture—not to mention an ideal focal point around which to meet locals.

 

The Icelandic culinary business Salt Eldhús offers cooking classes for foreign travelers who are interested in learning more about Icelandic culture and cuisine. Its founder, Auður Ögn Árnadóttir—a self-described foodie—would sign up for local cooking classes whenever she traveled abroad, in order to improve her cooking skills and to gain insight into each country’s culinary culture.

Two years ago, Auður Ögn cooked up a little plan: To set up her own business in Reykjavik that would offer cooking classes taught by professionals.

 “The reasons behind opening Salt Eldhús were purely selfish, to be honest. I was thirsty for more culinary knowledge and that’s why I decided to start the classes,” she explains.

The majority of Auður Ögn’s customers are locals attending various workshops. Recently however, more and more foreign tourists have signed up for the introductory class in Icelandic and Nordic cuisine called Local & Focal. The classes are supervised either by Auður Ögn herself or local chefs, who see this as an opportunity to meet customers and cook with them instead of for them.

"People enjoy it because it gives them a chance to mingle with locals and to learn more about Iceland in the process."

The classes take place every weekday at 11 am and are four hours long.  Auður Ögn welcomes each guest and offers them fresh coffee and confections—sometimes she’ll treat them to harðfiskur, a popular, traditional dried fish snack.

Participants learn to prepare a three-course menu, which consists of fish, Icelandic lamb, and a skyr dessert—skyr­ being the traditional Icelandic dairy product that resembles yogurt.
When all the cooking is done, the group sits down to enjoy their home-cooked meal, some music, and good conversation.

“People enjoy it because it not only gives them a chance to mingle with locals and to learn more about Iceland in the process, but also they get to enjoy a tasty meal they have prepared themselves, accompanied by wine and local music.”

What? Cooking classes in New Nordic cuisine
When? Daily at 11 am
How much? 24.900 krónur (163 euros/204 US dollars) per person
Where? The Skúlatún house in Þórunnartún 2, 101 Reykjavík

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