Deep North Episode 55: Christmas Craftsman

laufabrauð christmas iceland

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, families and friends in Iceland come together to make the traditional fried and decorated wafer known as laufabrauð (leaf bread). Rolled out thin, decorated, and fried, the preparation of these treats is an event that brings together families, often with multiple generations taking part. But you won’t find Laufabrauðsdagur (Leaf Bread Day) on any official calendar, as each family chooses their own date. Still, for Icelanders, it’s as much a part of the holiday season as Christmas itself.

But unknown even to many Icelanders, much of this tradition now rests in the hands of one craftsman, the last craftsman in Iceland to make the distinctive roller that so many use to make laufabrauð. A stone’s throw from Reykjavík, in the shadow of Esja mountain, his small workshop is keeping a beloved tradition alive.

Read the story here.

Where Can I Purchase a “Leaf-Cutting Tool” for Laufabrauð?

Laufabrauð.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1666953288611{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]For many Icelanders, making laufabrauð (leaf bread) is an essential part of Christmas preparations. The art of making leaf bread is usually a family undertaking, where several generations gather and take part. Leaf-bread making traditionally requires a laufabrauðsjárn, or a leaf-bread roller, which can be purchased in, among other places, Kokka, Allt í Köku, and Brynja.

Iceland Review recently spoke to the abovementioned vendors and inquired about prices and availability.

Kokka (on Laugavegur 47) offers two types of leaf-bread rollers: a 22mm roller (ISK 18,500) and a finer, 12mm roller (ISK 20,500). According to a sales representative, Kokka currently has a few leaf-bread rollers in stock; however, as many Icelanders begin preparing leaf bread in early December, they “usually go quickly this time of year.”

Allt í köku (on Smiðjuvegur 9 in Kópavogur) offers three types of leaf-bread rollers: a 12mm roller (ISK 20,495), a 22mm roller for (ISK 18,495), and a 22mm roller with a custom-made wooden handle (ISK 23,995). Last year, “all the rollers sold out,” (excepting those with the wooden handles).

It’s interesting to note that most of the rollers that the abovementioned vendors sell are produced by Handverk Haraldar. The company is owned and operated by Haraldur Guðbjartsson who is one of only a few Icelanders who manufacturers hand-made leaf-bread rollers. Haraldur acquired the company, along with the manufacturing equipment, from Ægir Björgvinsson and his wife “Didda” in 2013.

Laufabrauð (leaf-bread) is a traditional kind of Icelandic bread: thin round flat cakes, decorated with leaf-like, geometric patterns, fried briefly in hot fat or oil. They are consumed most often during the Christmas season. Leaf bread originates from northern Iceland but is now eaten throughout the country.

If you’re ordering from abroad, the website Nammi.is offers shipping.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]