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A head being roasted rather than boiled
A head being roasted rather than boiled

Smalahove (or smalehovud) is a Norwegian traditional dish, usually eaten around and before Christmas time, made from a sheep's head. The skin and fleece of the head is torched and the head is salted and dried. The head is boiled and served with mashed rutabaga and potatoes.

Originally, smalahove was considered eaten only by poor people, but in modern days it's considered to be a delicacy.

In 2001 an EU directive forbade the production of smalahove from sheep, due to fear of the possibility of transmission of scrapie, a deadly, degenerative prion disease of sheep and goats, even though scrapie does not appear to be transmissible to humans. It is now only allowed to be produced from lamb heads.

Some Norwegians consider Smalahove to be unappealing or even repulsive. It is mostly enjoyed by enthusiasts.

How to eat smalahove

It's common to start by the ear. This is the most fatty area and you have to eat it while it's warm. The same applies for the eye.

You begin with the foremost part of the head and cut your way backwards between the teeth of the upper and lower jaw. Then you break the jaw open to get access to the eye. Carefully slice the eye open and scrape out the eye apple. What's left, the eye muscle, is considered by many to be the best on the entire sheep. Another delicacy is the tongue.

Continue by eating downwards from the forehead. Around the jaw is the meat that's the least fatty.

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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