We like to think that students come to us as strangers but leave as friends.

Certainly, many of our students stay in contact, and not just with us.  A shared love for woodworking creates alumni friendships across the world.

That’s one reason why we try to promote a social side to the school, celebrating the various festivals and national days of our students’ home countries.

And, of course, at this time of year we celebrate Christmas with a traditional lunch of turkey and all the trimmings. Well, traditional in the UK.

Not so traditional for Oli Juliusson, our Icelandic student, who would celebrate Christmas with Hangikjöt, a leg of roast lamb, or Rjúpa – a rock ptarmigan.  Another Yule meal speciality is Laufabrauð or leaf bread, made from thin sheets of dough cut into delicate patterns and fried.

Christmas lunch table at the Chippendale furniture school

But Oli did treat us to a taste of Kæstur hákarl which, as you may know, is Icelandic for…um…fermented shark.

It’s a national dish, made from Greenland or sleeper shark, which has been cured using a fermentation process and hung to dry for four to five months.

Helping the fermented shark go down, Oli also treated us to a shot of Icelandic schnapps that is considered to be his country’s signature liquor, made from fermented potato mash and flavoured with caraway seeds.

It is also sometimes called Svarti dauði, meaning Black Death.

Everyone enjoying lChristmas lunch at the Chippendale furniture school

So, to Oli, apologies for not providing a sea bird, but a big thank you to him for his Icelandic delicacies.

We hope that Oli, and everyone else, enjoyed Christmas lunch!

Pictures: The lunch table, everyone tucking in, and Oli preparing his Black Death.