I accidentally ate horse in Iceland.
I feel quite awful about it considering that I was adamant prior to us leaving that I wasn't going to try anything weird. It was delicious and that somehow makes it worse.
How does a person accidentally eat horse?
By a combination of a long road trip, exhaustion, menu panic and poor lighting, I chose an item on the menu that I only glanced at. In an adventurous holiday spirit, I had chosen Icelandic Fowl. It came, I ate it, I offered it to my husband (he declined), and it was very tasty and I didn't think anymore about it until we were on the beach.
Seagulls were cawing and swooping in the cold, grey Arctic skies and I suddenly remembered my meal thinking that I was pretty sure I ate an Icelandic seagull. I shrugged and our trip ended and I was fine with my choice because I wasn't quite sure what it was that I ate and sometimes, not knowing is better.
Cut to our return home and we are regaling our friends with boring stories about our vacation and food we ate when I suddenly remembered the Icelandic fowl I ate. Except I said "foal" not "fowl." My husband corrected me except now I wasn't sure what the menu said. I really hoped that it was fowl - generic bird not foal - baby horse.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, my husband happily looked it up and to my eternal shame, I ate Icelandic Foal not Fowl.
If anyone is interested, baby horse meat tastes a little like an extremely tender and mild-tasting beef. It was dark meat and beautifully rare, which should have tipped me off but I thought that it was an Icelandic bird thing.
It was served with truffle mashed potatoes and a Spanish chorizo sauce that accompanied the fillet nicely. I feel really bad about eating it even though it is a normal meal for Icelanders (I think) and along with other Icelandic dishes seen on menus throughout the country (smoked puffin, lamb in many forms) I shouldn't be judging when cows and pigs are just as cute as horses.
We were fortunate enough to be able to drive from the north of Iceland down to Reykjavik in the south and on our trip we stopped often to admire the countryside and local fauna: ponies and sheep. The horses are much smaller than the horses we see here and have longer hair on their bodies and their manes are luxuriously shiny and wind-swept resulting in them looking like they just stepped out of a salon.
Meanwhile, the sheep are fat and their fleece is so fluffy that they look like little meatballs on toothpicks. The best thing we saw was a pony and a sheep, trotting along beside each other like they were going for a countryside jog. They looked like Chester and Spike from Looney Tunes and it was far too precious for me to handle. All of these memories are now tainted knowing that I accidentally ate a pony. Glad to be home where if I am eating meat, I am reasonably sure that it is not a little horsie.