The Vikings had a varied diet. Some tangible evidence has come from midden analysis that shows cereals, nut shells, animal and fish bones. They had meat such as pork, beef and chicken, and some horse meat was eaten during festivals. Fish was plentiful and hens provided fresh eggs, while wild seabird eggs would have been collected to complement the diet.
Vegetables included cabbage, onions, garlic, leeks and turnips, as well as peas and beans. Nuts and wild berries would have added variety.
Food was flavoured using salt, wild herbs and imported spices, including pepper. Honey was the only natural sweetener. Like us today, the Vikings would have enjoyed porridge and bread made from oats and barley. This could be eaten with butter and cheese.
The Saga of Egil Skallagrimsson, who lived during the 10th century, tells us that strong beer was drunk at that time. Large wooden pails and drinking horns from wealthy burials also suggest that beer and imported wines were enjoyed by the rich. Mead, a drink made from fermenting honey, was also consumed.
Evidence from middens also show us that many young calves were slaughtered, suggesting dairy farming was the norm and would have provided milk and buttermilk for adults and children.