Tvøst og spik

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Tvøst and spik from pilot whale, the whale meat is called tvøst or grind, the blubber is called spik. On this plate are also dried fish and potatoes.

Tvøst og spik (also called Grind og spik) is a typical dish of the Faroe Islands, a self-governing country of Denmark, located in the North Atlantic. Tvøst og spik consists of Pilot Whale meat, blubber and potatoes. The meat is prepared in different ways, it can be boiled or fried fresh, it can be stored in either dry salt (turrsaltað) or in very salty water (lakasaltað),[1] it can be frozen and later prepared, or it can be hung up outdoors in order to dry. When it is hung out to dry, it is cut in long slices (grindalikkja), and then hung under a roof, to shield it from the rain. The blubber can also be prepared in different ways, boiled, salted or dried, but not fried. Dried blubber can also be eaten together with dried fish, as shown on the photo. The whale meat has a very dark color, almost black.


The tradition to eat whale meat and blubber dates back many centuries, whaling was mentioned in the Faroese part of the Norwegian Gulating-law dating back to 1298.[2] The islands lie very isolated in the North Atlantic. In the old days, food supplies from other countries were sparse forcing them to manage with what ever nature had to offer. The food resources came from household animals like sheep, cows, geese, chicken and ducks, and from wild animals like sea birds and from the sea they got various kinds of fish and from time to time also whale meat and blubber.

Statistics of the hunt[edit]

There are statistics from the whaling in the Faroe Islands which dates back to 1584, which are probably the oldest statistics for a specific kind of hunting. The statistics are regarding the hunting of pilot whales and døgling. The pilot whale hunting has even been mentioned in the Viking Ages, after year 1000, when Sigmundur Brestisson brought Christianity to the Faroe Islands, and the Faroe Islands became a Norwegian territory, they had to pay tax to the King of Norway, and therefore they made statistics about every whale killing in the Faroe Islands. Later the islands came to be a Danish territory, and the statistics were used for paying tax to the King of Denmark. The statistics are reliable from 1709 up to today, the statistics from the years where the Gable family (Christoffer Gabel (1617-1673) and his son Frederik Gable) ruled from 1642 to 1708 (Gablatíðin) is not so reliable according to the Danish/Faroese scientist Dorete Bloch, as there are only a few documents about whale killings from this period. There are statistics from 1584 to 1708, but they are not complete.[3]

See also[edit]

Whaling in the Faroe Islands