Speciality and gourmet foods in Iceland
Here we take a look at the classier, more unexpected side of Icelandic cuisine; whether you want local honey, organic produce, farmers’ markets, or something even more unexpected, this is a good place to start.
Bees have lived in Iceland since before humans, but wasps are relatively recent arrivals. The same can be said of honey bees which have only been imported over the last couple of decades from Scandinavia. The beekeepers suffered many sad setbacks in the early years before a stable situation developed whereby they were able to harvest honey and their queen bees were consistently able to survive the winters. These days you can buy Icelandic honey in a handful of shops and markets and it is a very good cause to support.
There is a selection of good farmers’ markets around the country; not least on summer weekends in Mosskógur in Mosfellsbær, near to Reykjavík. There you will find all sorts of Icelandic produce and enthusiastic people buying it up with gratitude simply for the opportunity to do so.
If you miss the market for whatever reason, then you can get the in-store experience of buying Icelandic fresh and preserved organic produce in the organic section at most supermarkets these days. Or better still; visit Frú Lauga – the farmers’ shop in 105 Reykjavík. There you will find everything straight from the producer, from Iceland and mainland Europe. Meat, fish, vegetables, herbal teas, ice cream, mushrooms, butter – you name it!
And talking of dairy products: Iceland is famed for them. If you’re in West Iceland, check out Erpsstaðir farm, where you can buy amazing home-made cheeses, skyr and ice cream. Mmmm! And if you’re in North Iceland, be sure to visit Vogafjós for very similar reasons.
Iceland’s most famous organic farm is probably Vallanes, which produces food under the Móðir Jörð trademark and grows a wide variety of crops, as well as having a farm shop and accommodation. This beautiful part of East Iceland is a great place to go and WOOOF, if that is something you’re interested in.
Other honourable mentions in the gourmet category go to places like Reykjanes in the Westfjords – the world’s only geothermal-heat powered salt manufacturer. Then there are mussels from Hrísey, lobsters from Höfn, sustainably harvested edible seaweed, seabird eggs, strawberries and as many wild blueberries as you could possibly manage!