It was a Warm Summer Evening in the Vinland Meadows

Arden Jackson, Vínarterta.ca feature Traditional Icelandic Food at the Westward Viking Festival, ‘A Real Taste of Vinland’, L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada.
A Real Taste of Vinland

I stand in the yard of the turf house reconstruction at L’Anse aux Meadows National Park in Newfoundland, Canada and search the horizon of the North Atlantic Ocean. In the cold sea I imagine a ninth century wind in a wool and linen hand woven sail and myself moving in the Norse sailing ship under my feet and the dark rolling deep salt water around me. I gaze at the overlapping thin hardwood planks fastened together with iron boat nails and sealed in wool soaked in tar. It is as comfortable a place as I could ever be and more so when my friends and I cheer and sing in gratitude to the gods at the sight of seabirds on rocks, and waving grass.

Together in this quest are my friends; all tanned, strong and capable in amazing ways, filled with uncommon purpose, navigational brilliance, highly tuned awareness and tenacity. Transformed in time, I walk newly energized with Lindy Vopnfjörd; composer, musician and recording artist, Karen Wallington; President of the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto and Halfred Fred Sheppard; Parks Canada Outreach Officer, towards the twenty first century Visitor Centre high upon the hill overlooking the ocean, the meadow and the mounds of sod covering thousand year old foundations.

And I prepare to forage for materials for a centre piece worthy of featuring a baked sheep’s head and Traditional Icelandic Food and Vínarterta that I am here to share at the 2nd Annual Westward Viking Festival: A Real Taste of Vinland Gala Showcase July 26-29 at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Together in this adventure, we were invited as Western Icelandic envoys, to contribute our connections through food, music and friendship.

And so, at the Taste of Vinland Gala Showcase event I surround Sheep Head Svið with handmade Traditional Icelandic Food served as appetizers with Karen Wallington, my amazing wing woman in food preparation. The Hangikjöt and Rúllupylsa are thinly sliced and placed with mint butter on Icelandic Brown Bread. The fresh cured Atlantic salmon Graflax’ is nestled in mustard seed, dill, chive, and lemon lime aioli on Rye Flatbrauð. Fresh lamb liver Lifrarpylsa made with oats and rye share space with Icelandic Harðfiskur and a side of butter for dipping. My Vínarterta, of course, and its story are shared and held in wonderment by the guests. As a tasty twist, I fill Pönnukökur with smooth sweet Mysuostur and whipped cream to excited delight.

And Lindy inspires everyone when he plays his heart and soul filled new song, ‘L’Anse aux Meadows’ for the event. Emotion and connection are heightened when the Visitor Centre resonates with the sound of his voice and guitar. In the turf longhouse the next day the guests and sightseers are enthralled again with his music, while Karen captures beautiful photographs and Halfred films video.

And there are others who are forged as part of our team. Chef Steve Watson from St. John’s carving dragon ice sculptures, BBQ marinated fresh lamb, and steamed mussels. Then more Chefs from local restaurants; Northern Delight, the Norseman and the Daily Catch serving typical northern peninsula and Norse fusion food like cod wraps and roasted root vegetables with apple.

The event is also well honoured by the singing of the Norwegian Choir from Seattle and by Benedicte Ingstad from Norway who came to launch a book of her mother’s personal diaries ‘The New Land with the Green Meadows’. She is the daughter of Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, who were archaeologists in charge of excavating the site in the 1960’s.

We augment the already full range of local Newfoundland and Norwegian attendees along with gathered aficionados and dignitaries called to celebrate Icelandic exploration, and present day discovery. The small town with a usual population of twenty-one at L’Anse aux Meadows is expanded to a few hundred. The local businesses and community partners, Norstead, and Parks Canada together spearheaded the festival organization and are to be congratulated along with the Leif Eriksson Society of Seattle who coordinated the installation of the Leif statue.

I feel the enjoyment of adventure and a sense of community connection worthy of great celebration. And while we must travel by car and air to our separate destinations, we remain like the friends on that ship over a thousand years ago. We are filled with the wonder of exploration, the gift of expansive memories, the taste of fish, and the smell of the ocean in a place as comfortable as we ever could be.

“Few have tried, dared to dream, till the day we sailed the sea, some of us never to return, some secrets left untold, and I still dream of her, at the Meadows of Vinland.”…….

From ‘L’Anse aux Meadows’, Lindy Vopnfjörð

Looking back at the Menu:

Westward Viking Festival ‘A Taste of Vinland’ Gala Showcase
Parks Canada, L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic and UNESCO World Heritage Site Newfoundland
July 25, 2015

Nýja Island Forréttir og Eftirréttur
New Iceland Appetizers and Dessert

Súmar A Warm Summer Evening in the Vinland Meadows

Cucumber and Herbed Goat Cheese
Herb Emulsion of Dill, Parsley, Garlic, Shallots, Stone Ground Mustard, Grape Seed Oil, Natural Spring Water, Sea Salt
Wild Grape and Wild Blueberry
Feverfew Flower and Sugared Birch Dust

Haust A Fall Homestead Harvest Réttir

Whole Grain Garlic Cracker and Lifrarpylsa Lamb Liver Sausage and Blóðmör Blood Sausage
Sætsúpa Sósu Sauce with Rhubarb, Pear, Roasted Tomato, Onion, Partridgeberry, Prune Plums, Honey, Cinnamon, Black Cardamom, Cayenne, Sea Salt
Fried Onion Crumble

Vetur A Cherished Winter Highland Heima

Cultured Rúgbrauð Rye Bread and Herbed Cream
Smoked Lamb Hangikjöt and Cured Spiced Lamb Rúllupylsa
Arctic Thyme and Juniper Berry Beer Mustard
Pickled Yellow Beet , Dill Sprig and Kale Flower
Juniper Dust

Vínarterta The Delicious Striped Icelandic Cake

Viking Vinarterta WVF 2015
Viking Vínarterta, a perfect ending.

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