Food Safari Iceland

I’ve just returned from a whirlwind week in the land of fire and ice. It did not disappoint!

Known widely for scenes filmed in Game of Thrones, the sites were many and varied with mossy waterfalls and unique volcanic rock formations, a black beach, diamond bay ( ice floes) a unique national park, AKA UNESCO site, eroding glaciers, Arctic winds and Icelandic horses. So many activities!

Reykjavik, the capital city was warm and welcoming , even with snow flurries in April . Everyone is friendly and helpful. Sporting a vibrant art scene, it boasts a more than adequate coffee culture, and a great deal of style. Not only is everyone chic and gorgeous ( could it be the fish oil we were served at breakfast?) but the Danish influences on architecture and interiors were very clean and appealing. Reykjavik is also home to a thriving nightlife scene and a stellar music festival, Iceland Airwaves. Oh! And a punk rock museum, a phallus museum(!), a contemporary art museum featuring, among others, the work of Robert Crumb who you may remember from Zap Comics….and so much more!

Every town in Iceland has a geo thermal hot pool and we fell in love with the bathing rituals which are purely Icelandic. Even our hotel had a steaming hot pool with a sandy bottom. We craved a more natural hot spring experience and hoped for a day at the Blue Lagoon and a silica mud mask . Sadly, the erupting volcano prevented that, but a day at Sky Lagoon was lovely, if not a bit commercial.We got to experience the seven step bathing ritual from a cleansing shower to a salt scrub and steam room after a lovely hot soak and cool water mist. There was a charming small cafe associated with the spa and we enjoyed a nice lunch afterwards. There are many healthy choices here.

Speaking of which, the New Nordic Cuisine, coined by Chef Gunnar Karl seems to be resonating throughout the city with elevated fine dining available widely. Fresh fish and especially lamb are excellent. It also features Iceland’s unique Farm to Viking fare, so if you’d like to share a sheep’s head and chase that with geo- thermal baked- in -the -ground rye bread and a shot of Brennivin ( basically Aquavit) I’ll give it a try with you. We did experience the fermented shark, which tasted like stinky cheese and is basically an excuse to do a shot of Brennivin, and their wonderfully earthy lamb soup, served traditionally in a bread bowl. Don’t expect a lot of salads here in winter, an island economy is prevalent.

Dairy, meat and fish comprise the mainstays of Icelandic fare. The dairy is rich and delicious and Skyr “yoghurt” was an epiphany. It’s not really yoghurt. Turn to my seasonal recipes to see how it’s used as a savory sauce!

Book a flight, Iceland is too good to miss! June would be prefect timing, tho the Northern Lights are difficult to view after early April.