Yesterday (Jan. 18) marked the beginning of Thorrablot, a month-long festival where Icelanders celebrate the foods eaten by their ancient Viking ancestors who settled the arctic island.
The stomach-turning specialties served include lamb testicles pickled in sour whey; jellies made from sheep brains; and seal flippers.
But the real taste treat is something called hakarl or rotten shark. Its prepared by burying a shark in gravel until it putrefies about six to eight months.
Hakarl has an ammonia-like smell and its best when the cook urinates on the fish before burial.
Thorrablot food doesnt sound or smell very tasty, but the dishes remind Icelanders how their ancestors used to survive long winter months.
Thorrablot ends Feb. 16 and until then, Icelanders will be drinking lots of Brennevin, a vodka-like beverage that cuts the ammonia aftertaste in most of the dishes.
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