Iceland's unique Easter egg tradition
The variety of domestically-produced Easter eggs in Iceland can be bewildering. In recent years, they have been joined by a large selection of imported chocolate eggs as well, but the Icelandic ones are unique and remain more popular.
They are brightly decorated, and filled with sweets and candy, as well as the often-cryptic proverb on a small slip of paper that families and friends love to compare and ponder together. The country’s three biggest chocolate companies produce hundreds of tonnes of Easter eggs each year and work begins immediately after Christmas. There are dozens of types available for all tastes.
Auðjón Guðmundsson, head of sales and marketing at Nói Síríus says: “It [the tradition] comes from overseas, through Denmark, and arrived here around the time of the First World War and became mainstream around the Second World War. It’s kind of funny that Icelanders were really starting to eat eggs generally around the same time as the chocolate eggs. Real eggs and chocolate eggs are interwoven in this country. Originally it was just bakeries that were making the eggs, then the chocolate companies started taking over around 1930, and it really started to take off.”
Helgi Vilhjalmsson, the owner of Góa thanks the volcano for his comany's busy spell: “This is a crazy lava year! There’s a lava eruption, and I have lava, and the bakers have lava. I just don’t get it!”
Hraun is the Icelandic word for lava, and Hraun is also one of the most popular chocolates made by Góa. When used in confection, the word ‘hraun’ will usually be something chocolate-based, rough, and crunchy. Hraun products have understandably increased in popularity since the Geldingadalir eruption began on 19th March.
Freyja, meanwhile, is looking back and trying to appeal to an audience that loves chocolate, but is less keen on sweets: “We’re marketing a ‘clean’ egg that has nothing extra in its shell. A pure milk chocolate egg. It's back to basics, and really back to where it all began,” says Pétur Thor Gunnarsson, CEO of Freyja.