The smell of Icelandic Christmas in the Tenerife sun

Icelanders tucking into 'kæst skata'.

Icelanders tucking into 'kæst skata'. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Kristinn Ingvarsson

An Icelandic couple are planning two events at their Tenerife bar featuring fermented skate, an Icelandic fish ‘delicacy’ whose pungent aroma is a feature of traditional Icelandic pre-Christmas celebrations.

Fermented skate is traditionally eaten in Iceland on 23 December, at ‘skate parties’ permeated by an almost overpowering stench of ammonia.

Herdís Árnadóttir and Sævar Lúðvíksson have decided to offer visiting Icelanders and other people curious to sample an Icelandic Christmas the chance to tuck into the local delicacy at Nostalgia Bar on Playa de las Américas in Tenerife – and the response has been overwhelming.

Herdís Árnadóttir and Sævar Lúðvíksson

Herdís Árnadóttir and Sævar Lúðvíksson Photo: Herdís Árnadóttir

The pair advertised back in October and the 70-person function room was soon fully booked, so they decided to add a second day to the programme.

The fish has been brought to Iceland by Herdís’ parents, who lovingly and carefully packed it into their luggage, so that none of the powerful aroma could escape and pollute the atmosphere for other passengers!

The Nostalgia Bar in Tenerife.

The Nostalgia Bar in Tenerife. Photo: Herdís Árnadóttir

Owners of nearby bars and restaurants are also getting in on the action and are curious to taste this Nordic delicacy. “I’m not sure how they’ll react when they smell it,” Herdís laughs. “I might not be quite so popular then!”

There are many events around Iceland on and around 23 December for those interested in tasting Icelandic fermented skate. A selection of these can be found in Iceland Monitor’s events calendar here.


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