Friday, March 1, 2013


Svalbard is an Arctic archipelago. It's halfway between the North Pole and Norway. It's technically a region of Norway, but only about 70% of its population is Norwegian. The other 30% are mostly Russian. I guess they are used to the cold, so Svalbard's location is not a problem for them. I would rather live in the armpit of the world (oh wait, I do) than such a cold place. I know I talk about weather a lot, but I can't believe that people live in places like this. I can barely handle Ohio, and question why people first moved to it. So what exactly is the weather like in Svalbard? The average summer temperature is 39 degrees.  I bet there's no neighborhood swimming pools there. Thankfully, the North Atlantic Current keeps the average winter temperatures above 0 degrees. Places along the same line of latitude (like areas of Russia) have much lower winter temperatures. Still, that's pretty cold.

The only terrestrial animals who are crazy enough to live in Svalbard are the polar bear, southern vole, Arctic fox, and reindeer. Everyone has to carry around rifles for protection against polar bears. There are about 3,000 of the bears, and they are a primary source of tourism to the archipelago. (We know that people aren't coming to lay out on the beaches. There has to be something to bring them in.)

One nice thing about Svalbard is that it's super safe.  There is hardly any crime outside of your occasional polar bear attack. The largest city is Longyearbyen, and it does have a public swimming pool.

Polarbrod is a Swedish company that makes round, flat breads. It means Polar Bread, and I think this is a very accurate name for something the people of Svalbard would eat. I read that it is eaten for breakfast in Svalbard. The only other option I found was raw fish. I went with the bread. I really liked it, but will take out the aniseed if I made it again.

Pinned Image

makes 8
2 ½ cups wheat flour
1 ¼ cup rye flour
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ cup full fat yogurt
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp aniseed

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Now stir in the yogurt. Slowly add in the water, mixing until a slightly sticky dough forms. Knead it for 10 minutes, place in an oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, separate the dough into 8 balls. Shape them into flat disks and prick with a fork. Preheat your broiler to high heat along with the pan. Cook the bread one at a time for two minutes on each side.

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