Arctic Cuisine is a rich and diverse diet of varied food items from the area, a world away from the flavours that we are used to in traditional British food. Studies have suggested that Arctic Cuisine may be dying out, however it is still enjoyed by many people who live within the region and increasingly being explored by chefs across the world.
Mussels are a popular Arctic delicacy, however gathering them can be treacherous. In this video from Human Planet we are shown how those who wish to collect mussels must travel under the sea ice in the low tide, a frightening experience in which they have less than an hour to travel under the ice, gather their supplies, and get out before the sea rushes back in to fill the space that they had occupied only seconds before. The area where these hardened Canadian Inuits collect their dinner is the only place in the world where the tide is low enough to allow this kind of harvest, and it is only getting riskier as the ice gets thinner each year.
Mussels are familiar to most Brits, however some Arctic Cuisine is a little more unusual. Kiviaq is a popular Inuit dish made from fermented sea bird: a seal skin is prepared so that all the meat has been removed and only a thick layer of fat remains, and this is then sewn up to make a bag which is stuffed with up to 500 tiny auk birds. These are then left to ferment for between 3 and 18 months, and feasted upon during the dark winter months when it gets more difficult to hunt for other meat. This food is shared among friends and families, ensuring that people remain well fed during the harder months.
On the other end of the spectrum, Magnus Nilsson is a Swedish chef responsible for creating a popular restaurant serving food prepared using traditional Arctic methods. He combines his own innovative recipes with time-tested cooking and preservation techniques to create something which is something that is simultaneously traditional and exciting.
Arctic cuisine offers some really interesting new tastes for anyone who chooses to explore the region, and it would certainly be a shame to see it die out! We hope that you get a chance to try some of the more unusual delicacies any time you’re in the region.
To experience the unusual cuisine of the Arctic regions first hand, click here to contact our team to discuss cruise options and availability.