Recently I was convinced by Sunniva to participate in a “Smalahovelag”. “Smalahove” means translated “Sheep head”, a “Smalahovelag” is an event in which a group of people meets to enjoy this dish along with songs and alcohol.
My very first ever encounter with this food was when fetching some food waste that was meant for feeding to the dogs. We opened the cardboard box to see what the canines would get today and a sheep head was staring back at us.
So, when I was invited to this Smalahovelag, I was a little bit… reluctant. I wanted to postpone the decision. Some days later I was asked again, because apparently they had started selling out and people on a waiting list would have liked to have my spot. Wow…it really seems to be popular.
I agreed…for the experience. The event was hosted at Gruvelageret, one of the most unique places in town. A restaurant of incredible ingenuity and atmosphere.
The hosts explained that they initially were worried about too few people signing up for such an event. They then gave us a short introduction into eating this dish and finally announced a price for everyone who would eat the eye, the ear, the cheek and the tongue. We then proceeded with singing not all that serious songs about the sheep, the farmers and eating sheep heads.
Finally, the plates were served:
The smell is quite distinct and strong, but the most repelling is the looks of it. But let us be honest about it, meat is meat and just because it has a face, it should not be thrown away. It is a lesson in where our food comes from and what it means to consume meat. This dish originates from the times where every single animal was much more valuable to the farmer and therefore everything needed to be used.
The rest of the evening was spent listening to live music and drinking beer at the fireplace.