Fjallkonan and Reykjavík food culture

Fjallkonan restaurants in Reykjavík and Kristín Dahlstedt

 Kristín Dahlstedt (1876-1968) was born in Dýrafjörður in the West-fjords, best known as the founder of many restaurants under the name of Fjallkonan in Reykjavík in the first half of the 20th century. Kristín was in relationship with Magnús Hjaltason Magnússon, a poet who was Halldór Laxness´ inspiration for Heimsljós (World light). Kristín studied in Denmark and married a Dane, Axel Dahlstedt, who worked beside her in the restaurants. Kristín´s biography has recently been re-released, written by Hafliði Jónsson and published by Vestfirska forlagið.

Food culture in Reykjavík

An exhibition on food and dining culture in Reykjavík in the first half of the 20th century  opens on Museum night Friday the 8th of February 2013 at the National and University Library. The exhibition was organised by The association Matur – saga- menning (Food – History – Culture), a national association for people interested in food and food culture. In the beginning of the 20th century Reykjavík was primarily a fishing town and it´s residents´ diet consisted of seafood above all. A limited variety of groceries was also available at small stores. Difficult communications often caused shortage of agricultural products, especially milk. The diet of Reykjavík´s residents differed in that aspect considerably from other parts of the country. In Reykjavík, margarine, rye-bread, coffee and Danish-style food was more common. Because of import restrictions which persisted until the ´60´s a considerable amount of foreign groceries vanished from the stores but sugar maintained it´s status among Icelanders who can be referred to as Europe´s biggest sugar consumers.The Center for Oral History has interviewed 14 people about food and dining customs and those interviews can be heard at the opening and at the Center for Oral History in the National and University Library.

➜ Other exhibitions