Some places are so hot that they create natural thermal springs—and then there are those places that are so, so hot you can actually bake a loaf of bread right there in the ground.
One of these places is in Iceland, and it's called Laugarvatn Fontana Spa. Even though it's a spa, just like its name says, and it specializes in relaxing thermal baths, it also has one very unusual specialty: earth-baked bread, also known as Lava Bread. As volcanic activity miles below the earth’s surface heats the spring water in the pools there, the earth gets hot enough to allow bread to bake all the way through, just under your feet.
Photos by Kateri Lopez.
If you go on a Rye Bread Experience, a baker will take you to the “oven," a dirt patch right outside the spa where the loaves get put in. Bread is typically left in the earth for at least 24 hours to bake. (Don't worry, you'll get to eat the loaf that was put in the day before.) The dough gets prepared for burial by going into a pot and getting covered securely with plastic wrap, which somehow doesn't melt onto the pot itself.
The baker then takes the freshly baked loaf to the lake near the spa, to clean off any dirt left over from the pit.
Once the pot is clean and the plastic wrap is cut off, you'll get taken back inside Fontana spa, where the bread will be cut into slices and served up with fresh Icelandic butter. The bread is so warm that the butter instantly melts as soon as it hits the bread. Delicious!
If you find yourself in Iceland, make time for a Rye Bread Experience to learn more about the process—and, of course, to eat the hottest and coolest bread on earth.
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