Þorrablót 2023 @ Nordic Museum

Celebrate surviving the winter ❄️

📸: Courtesy Icelandic Club of Greater Seattle

February 18 • 5:30 pm 

Icelanders clearly understand the importance of a midwinter party. The national festival Þorrablót is a fierce pick-me-up during the dark months of thorri, when it is so cold, rare rainbow clouds appear on the horizon. The holiday spread: a traditional feast of salty, preserved things that carried their intrepid Viking ancestors through the season. Haraldur Gunnlaugsson, President of the Icelandic Club of Greater Seattle, told The Ticket that the primary objective of all this meeting and eating is “to celebrate the winter, that we survived the winter!”

Organizers are working with Icelandair (hello direct flights! 👀) to fly the ingredients—and a team of chefs—to Seattle. Gunnlaugsson talked me through the menu:

🐑 Icelandic lamb roast: The organic, free range stuff. “When you move abroad, this is what you miss the most.”

🐑 Hangikjöt (smoked lamb): This hung meat is infused with woodsy, herby flavors.

🐑 Svið (boiled sheep’s head): “Looks pretty mean, but the taste is really nice.”

🦈 Hákarl (fermented shark): “Probably like sushi, you don’t like it in the beginning, but you get used to it.” Wash down this adventurous flavor with Brennivin, an Icelandic schnapps made with potato and caraway.

🥬 The trappings: IMO, side dishes are the sleeper stars of a meal. Icelandic meals are served with potatoes and “a white sweet sauce.” Also: red-wine pickled cabbage, pickled green beans, herring, dried cod, and Icelandic rye bread & butter.

More flying in: Iceland’s famous pop star-turned-comedian Eyþór Ingi (Here he is at Eurovision 2013). He’ll be joined by local talent: Stanwood’s Savanna Woods, Karel Haraldsson of Montlake Traffic, and Johanna. Local Icelandic band SourBalls backs everyone up. Expect singalongs and lots of dancing. For a truly transportive experience, try learning the highly-popular (unofficial) national song, Ég er kominn heim. General Admission tickets are $120, and will sell fast.

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Meghna Jaradi

Meghna leads with her curiosity when writing about travel, food, and beverages. She previously wrote about cookbooks at Kitchen Arts & Letters, and has managed events and communications at Book Larder, Peddler Brewing Company, and Cascade Bicycle Club. She is newly pescatarian and a Seattle native. Follow along at @wanderingthali.