Set on a lunar-esque island, on the north Atlantic shore, it’s no secret that Iceland has become a highly Instagrammed phenomenon featuring natural diversity including volcanic glaciers, black sand beaches, milky-blue mineral hot springs, countless miles of lava fields and green moss. But it might not be known to all that Iceland has become a highly sought dining destination offering an adventurous food scene.
Before today’s environmental awareness and sustainability concerns, Icelandic culinary affairs were linked to responsibility, quality, and tradition. These pillars have been intuitively part of our food practice for beyond decades, and relates directly to sustainability and mindfulness. Even the most modest homes served fresh and simply steamed white fish paired with locally grown potatoes on weekdays, and celebrating Sundays with grass fed lamb. These are valid sustainable food methods that were born out of age-old traditions.
With all the modernized culinary affairs we offer today, Iceland is still serving it with a slice of the simple rugged north, literally. We widely offer our five-ingredient rye bread that we cook in geysers. Today’s fare is elevated with numerous farm fresh eateries, serving a juxtaposition of traditional comfort food and new delicate flavors with playful techniques.
Iceland is home to some strange culinary traditions such as serving sheep’s head halves on a plate as well as fermented shark, although these traditional Viking dishes are mainly served in more themed meals. Today we continue to source the land, accenting our dishes with arctic herbs and other wild flavors. We might not be eating our compost, but the waste is minor and ambitiously sustainable. Our flavors are magically crisp and vibrant.
With our stunning natural wonders throughout the island we are constantly reminded of nature, which encourages us to connect with traditions on a deeper level when cooking. Responsibility comes through in the act of the use of geothermal energy to heat greenhouses. Geothermal energy and hot springs go far beyond growing potatoes, vegetables and berries. It is also used in making flaky Nordic salt in The Westfjords, leaving a zero carbon footprint on the environment.
Quality is high where the air is crystal clear and the water is crisp and clean. Our fish is some of the most pristine in the world, from our lakes, rivers and surrounding shores. Our soil is unspoiled and our sheep run around wild, eating organically grown grass and foliage.
Traditions are practiced and rediscovered. The reason the food fare is highly mindful and sustainable is due to the simplicity of our traditions. We’re using the same organically grow ingredients, just with more variety, and adding modernized expertise with an added wink.
The Icelandic culinary affair offers a true global lifestyle feel built around a highly original and authentically organic core. With all that authenticity, the growing boutique hotels and farm fresh eateries shine brighter, and little Iceland is wearing large sustainable culinary shoes.