The Big Fish Day: A feast of the fruits of the sea


Food is the only constant thing travelers always remember in their travels, and frankly food is something that people will always look forward to whenever they go. In Iceland there is an exotic array of food for all sorts of travelers. There are comforting rich foods that warm the insides of your heart and strange weird foods that causes shivers down your soul. Iceland has something truly spectacular that happens during the summer season which everyone locals and visitors alike get to enjoy which are food festivals that occur in certain days of the year. These festivals boast Iceland’s playful spirit and fun-loving nature. The best part is that these festivals are free which means visitors can gorge themselves with food without having to pay a single cent. One of Iceland’s most sought after food festival takes place in Dalvíkurbyggð during the summer seasons.
Dalvíkurbyggð is a small fishing town in northern Iceland. The town has a community of 2100 people and is located 45 km north of Akureyri, which is the northern capital. It is a charming place with spectacular mountains and breathtaking view. Like most of Iceland’s communities, the town relies on fishing and fish product processing for their income. That is one of the main reasons why the town decided eight years ago to host a grand event wherein fish producers of the area invite locals and other guests to take part in a sea food buffet that lasts for eight hours with the post buffet celebration throughout the night.
fiskidddThe feast is held the second weekend in August wherein fish producers gather all their best produce and start a blazing gourmet cook-out reminiscent of those great southern barbecues but instead of meat, fish is the main ingredient! Small fish, medium fish, big fish, ugly fish, as long as it has fins and gills it goes to the grill. The locals decorate their houses and gardens to create the perfect atmosphere.
fiskidThe first sign of the start of the feast begins at a quarter past eight where locals light candles to signal guests that the first course is ready. The first course is a thick, flavorful fish soup made with cream and seasoned with curry. Visitors would go towards the homes and gardens where the soup is served. It is a mesmerizing thing to watch locals allowing people from all walks off life to enter their homes without reservations, serving them food which they made with smiles on their faces. After everyone has had their fill of soup, the barbecue begins. The barbecue is composed of 12 grill stations with 20 gas burners, 8 meters long. Visitors can watch locals grill fish such as haddock, cod, salmon, red fish, salt cod and cat fish marinated with different herbs and sauces, and served in different styles. The courses come with bread and beverages which ranges from sodas, water, juices, and beer.
Aside from the diverse variety of food, there is also a huge display of entertainment that changes every year. From fish exhibitions with a detailed summary of fish species at the ford, art shows showcasing Icelandic art, street performances and of course music.
fiskihjallurFor the past eight years a total of 200,00 guests both local Icelanders and tourists have participated in this gourmet feast. While most visitors are Icelandic, a total of 40,000 people which is 1/8 of Iceland’s population make the annual pilgrimage. From this humble beginnings The Great Fish Day has been attracting a large number of tourists from Britain and Europe and other parts of the world.
It’s a fascinating display of expansive community pride, where people come together in mutual trust. Visitors are treated with respect which they reciprocate with gratitude, the vicinity is not riddled with violence, theft or even petty desecration caused by littering. Travelers who would like to experience genuine Icelandic hospitality should visit Iceland during the summer to witness this grand event. It is a truly spectacular display of generosity from a country that does not even reach 400.000 people.