Best season to travel to Greenland


Hundreds of raw auks are wrapped into a sealskin, then sewn up and fermented under a heap of stone—that's the recipe of Greenland's typical winter delicacy

Best time: December–March

Greenlanders name this unusual dish "a wonderful taste of summer". It's prepared in the warm season, but eaten mainly in winter when food is rather scarce, and cold is ruthless. It does help out during winters, but at the same time, it's considered as something truly festive to eat and is served for birthdays and weddings.

Preparation of kiviak is not an easy task, as you might have guessed. One sealskin rooms about 500 auks, so catching the birds must be the most complicated part. Hunters go to the highlands and catch them with flying nets. The birds are packed into sealskin with beaks and feathers. The stuffing is to be wrapped into the skin until there's no more air left. Then it's sewn up, and placed under the heap of stones. The biggest one is put right atop in order to push the remaining air out of the skin.

In three months the fermented auks are taken out, cleaned from feathers and sometimes also skin, for some people like it, and some—don't. The dish is ready to be served. The taste of the delicacy is said to resemble strong Gorgonzola cheese, but you can check it out yourself. Just make sure your kiviak is made of auks, this is a small seabird similar to a miniature puffin. Other birds might not be that well-fermented. In 2013 a few people died from botulism, caught after eating kiviak made from eiders. So, foodies, enjoy a new extraordinary experience but take care as well.

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin