Traditional Icelandic Food Sheep Head

Traditional Icelandic Food Sheep Head

In Iceland, foods are also used as cures. Icelanders believe that to cure brennivin or black magic; one has to eat the head of a sheep. Ram’s head is a famous delicacy among the Icelanders, and the following is a reflection on this rare treat.

About the Icelandic Sheep Head

Traditional Icelandic Food Sheep HeadSheep head, also known as Svi is the traditional Icelandic where the sheep’s head is cut into two halves, de-furred boiled and then served with other accompaniments. The idea originally comes from the Icelanders’ notion that no slaughtered animal can be left for waste. Sheep head is among one of the traditional Icelandic food that is served as a buffet during mid-winter festivals. The lamb’s brain is used to make brawn head cheese or sviasulta that is employed in the manufacture of whey pickled gelatinous loaves. Such dishes have also surfaced in Western Nordic countries and some parts of Faroe Islands and the Norway seyahøvd smalahove district.

Most restaurants in Iceland serve Sheep Head

Sheep head is a common dish in most Iceland restaurants. Many citizens of Iceland prefer the dish, which is prepared in little pre-cooked grocery stores known as Melabúin. Supermarkets also sell sheep heads in frozen containers. The head is eaten whole except the brain. The brain is scooped off and used to make delicacies like bread. The tongue and cheek are most preferable parts; even the eyes are sweet as well. The sheep head tastes just like mutton; it’s only the presentation that may put people off. At the Fast and Good Fljótt og Gott cafeteria in Iceland’s Reykjavik BSI bus terminal, this delicacy is served daily and can even be acquired at the drive-through counter. Also available is sheep head jam (sviasulta), prepared by cooking the chopped meat from cooked sheep heads and pressing it into molds to cool. In this way, it can be served as a bread topping. In Iceland, thousands of

sheep’s heads are sold each year.

Traditional Icelandic Food Sheep HeadIn some parts, sheep’s ears or svi are considered taboo, and many superstitions accompany it, most people believing that when you eat animals’ ears, you are accused of theft. Some even think that unless you break the small bone below the sheep’s tongue, a child cannot reach full maturity. New visitors to Iceland are most dismayed by this delicacy, and many leave to tell of this exotic cuisine. Most visitors are surprised by the sheep’s head, which considers as the most barbaric dish.

However, after getting used to the dish, most visitors get up there, on the top table to pull the sheep’s jaw apart and stab the fat meats with a fork in an eating frenzy. It’s not bad at all; the check has the most meat, is tasty and rather tender. It even tastes better when dipped in some rhubarb jelly. Just make sure also not to leave the eyes as they are one of the most appetizing parts. While in one of the Iceland’s restaurants, you can give it a try and just make sure that you won’t stare into your meal’s “eyes’ for too long. Try to keep yourself busy with the cheeks though.


In Iceland, sheep head is a famous delicacy. Most restaurants serve this meal, which can also be bought in supermarkets and other stores. Quite surprisingly, the lamb’s cheek and tongue are most delicious. Icelanders also prefer the sheep’s eye, to them sheep head not only serves as a delicacy but also as a healing agent against black magic.