A new day is upon us. We had a great time at Seljalandsfoss yesterday and now we are visiting Núpur; a real Icelandic farm under the Eyjaföll mountains. When we arrived we were greeted by Berglind Hilmarsdóttir. Berglind is also my wife's name so it was great hearing that- a good start!
Berglind has lived at the farm since she met her husband Guðmundur Guðmundsson many years ago; a seventh generation farmer at Núpur. His father Guðmundur Guðmundsson, also a farmer, recently died at 89 years of age. He was a tall, handsome man that won many medals for wrestling. Berglind grew up in Reykjavík but claims she was never a city girl. She likes the capital better when she is not there.
As we drink coffee in Berglind's kitchen she starts to bake bread. I ask her if this is something she does often, to which she replies, "there are always many people passing through here. These days we are building a new house for our cows, so there are many carpenters around. They really like my bread."
Baking four or five loaves of bread each day is common for Berglind and she knows her grandmother's recipe by heart. Each batch is different and while we talk she makes bread with muesli and then another batch with nuts and cinnamon.
Generally there is always something home grown for dinner. They have fresh milk from the cows as well as beef and sometimes Icelandic lamb. In the summertime they grow potatoes, carrots and cabbage and they even have an impressive grapevine. "We eat everything we grow unless the snails, the sheep or the dog get to it first!" she says whilst making blueberry jam from blueberries she picked herself.
Driving over from Reykjavik to join us for dinner were four young Americans. Brian Charlton, Nick Bonadies and Mel Kobran are from Washington and Shannyn Kobran is from New York. All are first timers in Iceland. The food on the menu was typical Iceland and fortunately our guests were very adventurous!
There was blood sausage and liver sausage, wind dried cod and sea wolf and fermented shark with Brennivín, which is a strong Icelandic liquor. Just something to get rid of the taste of shark! But that's not all- there was also rice pudding with cinnamon sugar and raisins and homemade bread with blueberry jam.
I remember my mother used to cook blood and liver sausage every Saturday afternoon. In those days this was exactly the time we watched the English football league on TV. They would always show last week's game. Yes, I am that old. So English football always reminds me of blood sausage! Anyway, back to Berglind.
It was obviously not the first time that Berglind had been a hostess. Everyone at the small table inside Eldhús is all ears as she tells us about the food served. More stories follow - like the one of the volcanic eruption that made her land look like something from the moon. As I said before, a real farmer. She makes her own sheep paté and she also does her own liver and blood sausage. Our guests try everything and like it all! Although it's safe to say the shark is an acquired taste. If I had to choose I would say that the blueberry jam was everyone's favorite. The dried fish was also popular- they called it fish jerky.
It felt appropriate after such a nice dinner to visit the cows that brought us the creamy milk for the rice pudding. Berglind takes us through the daily routine and gives us an insight into the life of a farmer in Iceland. It is hard work. But the food is always excellent!
I have to say goodbye but first I have one thing to add: tomorrow will be fishy...
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