It was common knowledge before even stepping onboard the WOW air flight that if you wanted something to eat during the flight, you had better have brought something with you or be willing to part with your money.
Founded in 2011, WOW air is a quirky little airline with vintage like outfits and a huge dose of personality and humour – plus comfy seats. In 2012 they also took over the Iceland Express flight operations.
Ham and cheese baguettes, individual pizzas and mini-Pringles cans danced along the seat magazine pages. But this was a flight to Iceland and what better time to start tasting the local cuisine.
It is thought that Irish monks were the first to stumble upon Iceland while looking for solitude and seclusion. Dicuil, an Irish monk, wrote in 825 AD about a land that saw no daylight during winter but on summer nights, “whatever task a man wishes to perform, even picking lice from his shirt, he can manage as well as in clear daylight”.
After the monks, from Norway came Iceland’s first permanent settlers, and with them it would appear, the first item from the magazine menu to transfer from the flight attendant’s hands and onto the folded down tray.
Skyr (pronounced skeer) is a high in protein, naturally low in fat dairy product, traditionally made from raw milk but now made from pasteurised skimmed milk. It has been part of the Icelandic diet since the first settlers brought it with them around the year 1000.
The texture of skyr is similar to creamy, thick yoghurt and has a light, slightly sweet flavour. Onboard the flavour choices were limited to vanilla and blueberry but once in Iceland, this readily available treat appeared in a whole array of flavours – everything from banana to strawberry.
Apart from eating it straight from the pot, skyr is used to make smoothies, dips, and even cakes. The upside-down cone shape pile of fruit on some of the pots isn’t just there to indicate the flavour. They also represent the stone piles that used to mark the routes throughout the island. Just as the route marker assured you that you were going the right way, the clever packaging assures you that you are on the right path to a healthy food choice.
After all that healthiness, it was time to indulge in some chocolate; the retro mint green with white stripes wrapper of the Pipp bar peeled back to reveal a milk chocolate bar with a delicious peppermint liquid inside. Pipp bars, including those with banana, caramel and liquorice liquid can be found all over Iceland – in grocery stores and even the airport.
The company behind the chocolate bars is Nói Siríus, a family owned chocolate manufacture with headquarters in Rekjavik, the capital city of Iceland; and 48 kilometres from where the plane was just about to land – Keflavik International Airport.