I knew we were likely to eat a fair amount of seafood in Iceland. Cod and Prawns often have “Icelandic” on the packet! But aside from that, I wasn’t sure what would be on the menu. I’d heard lots of stories about the putrefied shark – buried for 6 months and dug up ready for your “enjoyment”. So when the Rough Guide arrived in the post, I flicked straight to the FOOD section! I read that a popular snack is wind-dried fish. Hmmm. In some places they serve whale and seal meat. Really?! And the only common vegetable is a type of tasteless lichen. Time to pack some snacks.
We were pleasantly surprised. 8 hours in Iceland and we were tucking into a breakfast of scrambled eggs and a mound of tea-smoked salmon. I can’t see any rotten shark anywhere?!
Breakfast set the tone. Lunch that day was in Iceland’s only fish and chip restaurant in Reykjavík. We had battered Pollock and locally caught langoustines with herby potatoes and a choice of dip (including white truffle mayo, garlic & herb & Taramosalata). So good – Iceland should open more chippys! But with a total population of 318k, 1 will probably do.
We stayed at Hotel Ranga in Hella, which has a fantastic restaurant. We enjoyed lots of delicious, top-notch cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Highlights included reindeer carpaccio with truffle oil, smoked puffin, lobster soup with local langoustine tails and local wild salmon served with white chocolate puree, Champagne foam and local strawberries! Skyr featured heavily on the dessert menu… it’s Icelandic yoghurt… which is technically cheese… though it tastes just like yoghurt!
Winding around the “Golden Circle” route we also found a friendly little restaurant called Café Lindin. Mr B. devoured a mean looking reindeer burger while the rest of us took comfort in a warming bowl of very good lobster bisque served with a savoury muffin. It was a lovely pit stop and on a clear day you can get a good panorama of some of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes.
So (thankfully!) there’s more to Icelandic cuisine than tasteless lichen! With the Northern Lights ticked off the bucket list, I’d love to revisit and sample more of the restaurants in Reykjavík. Until then, I’m going to make my way through the bottle of Duty Free Reyka vodka. I’m sure it won’t taste as good as it does in a hot tub though!
Blueberry Yogurt Pot
I tried to get Skyr all over London and failed. I was still determined to recreate a dessert I’d had at our hotel and so settled for set yogurt. Skyr tastes like yogurt but has a moose like texture. If you do manage to find it, substitute it for the yogurt I’ve used here. I’m tempted to make this again using moose instead of yogurt for a firmer texture.
– 150g blueberries
– 2 tbsp caster sugar
– 1 capful of vanilla extract
– 250g natural set yogurt
– Sprinkling of flaked almonds
1. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat and add the blueberries, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the sugar foams up and you and a thick sauce. Leave to cool.
2. Discard the whey from the top of the yogurt before putting a dollop into a tumbler. Level off.
3. Add the blueberry mix, level off and then add another load of the blueberry sauce. Do this again if necessary depending on how much yogurt and blueberry sauce you have left.
4. Top with flaked almonds (I only had ground to hand) and chill before serving.