Tis the season… Holiday markets around Europe are bustling, the Alps are covered with a blanket of early season snow and the daylight hours are waning. As the northern hemisphere approaches the winter solstice, tis the season for cozy breakfast foods like Pönnukökur: traditional Icelandic pancakes.
In late January, after two months of darkness around the solstice, the sun’s rays finally shine on the rooftops of Sun Street in the small town of Ísafjörður, Iceland. To celebrate, the community comes together to make Pönnukökur. Despite its small population of around 2,500, Ísafjörður is known throughout Iceland for this traditional celebration of the sun’s return called Sólarkaffi, meaning “sun coffee”.
If you’re familiar with Worldloppet ski marathons, you may have heard of Ísafjörður. It’s where the Fossavatn, Iceland’s longest running and most popular ski marathon has been held since 1935.
Skiers on Lumi’s new Iceland trip this April will visit waterfalls and volcanic craters, travel alongside the shores of fjords, and relax in outdoor hot springs on their way north to Ísafjörður, where they’ll stay four nights at a new hotel in the heart of town with cozy and brightly decorated rooms and views of the dramatic landscape beyond.
As a member of the Worldloppet Ski Marathon series, skiers participating in the Fossavatn Ski Marathon can earn either a Worldloppet Gold stamp for completing the 50 km classic event or Silver stamp for completing the 25 km classic event. There’s also a 25 km night skate event two days before the main event, so skiers can participate in two different events.
Beyond the race course, the ski trails in Ísafjörður offer the unique ability to ski above treeline with expansive views to the surrounding fjord and mountains.
Ísafjörður is located at a latitude of exactly 66° North, right on the Arctic Circle. This means there are less than 3 hours of daylight in Ísafjörður on the Winter Solstice in late-December. By mid-April when the Fossavatn takes place, the sun will shine close to 15 hours a day, with temperatures typically hovering around 32 degrees – ideal conditions for spring skiing.
To celebrate the upcoming Winter Solstice and the start of the ski season, here is the recipe for golden Icelandic pancakes, an ideal breakfast treat or perhaps after a ski, in front of the wood stove or fireplace… It’s never too early to start enjoying Pönnukökur!
Pönnukökur are the perfect treat to celebrate the arrival of the golden sun in Ísafjörður. These Icelandic pancakes are similar to crepes, but made with more eggs so they are golden, custardy and easy to flip! Despite being thin and crepe-like, the additional eggs in Pönnukökur make them a hearty breakfast or post-ski treat. Here are the ingredients for making about 8 crepes:
- 5 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Butter for greasing the pan
In Iceland, Pönnukökur are made with a special pancake pan, a “pönnukökupanna,” although a cast iron or nonstick skillet will work just as well (until you can purchase a pönnukökupanna during your next trip to Iceland!). I like to use a Lodge 10.5” cast iron skillet to make them.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until smooth.
- Stir dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to eggs and milk, while whisking until combined.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and grease the skillet with butter.
- Ladle a small amount of batter onto the skillet and tilt, spreading the batter around to coat the skillet.
- Cook for about 1 minute and then flip to the other side to cook for another 30 seconds or so.
- Transfer to a plate and repeat steps 4 – 6 with remaining batter, stacking the Pönnukökur on top of each other as you go.
Pönnukökur are traditionally served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream, but are also tasty with berries and yogurt or even savory toppings like sauteed veggies and cheese for a more wholesome pre- or post-ski meal.
If you’d like to extend your ski season into April and sample Icelandic Pönnukökur in the land of Fire & Ice, we’re offering $300 off our newly launched Iceland-Fossavatn trip through December 15th. Reach out soon to see the detailed trip itinerary or to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you haven’t signed up already, we’re offering a Lumi Trip Giveaway to France for the Transju’ Worldloppet this February. Remember to sign up by December 13 if you haven’t already and share the giveaway with your favorite ski buddies.
Here’s to a great ski season ahead!