In last week's post I said that I did not have the best foodie experience in Iceland, but this post is about the best foodie finds of Iceland and the people I met who were passionate and proud of their cuisine. Icelandic Fish and Chips: Located on the harbour in a stylish retro eatery, Erna Kaaber is reinventing fish and chips with the best the Icelandic fisheries have to offer. We had the haddock and the ocean catfish, both impeccably fresh and battered with an airy light spelt and barley batter. On the side were a mountain of onion rings and a mound of vegetables both ensconced in the same light batter. The pumpkin soup was a definite food highlight of the trip. Everything is served with a selection of colourful "skyronnaise" sauces, made from the creamy Icelandic non-fat cheese called skyr. Icelandic Butter: When nothing else pleased my palate, brown bread spread thickly with butter was more than enough to satisfy. The butter in Iceland is amazing, as good or better than any French butter I've ever had. It is creamy, sweet and always at the perfect texture for spreading! Lamb: The lamb in Iceland graze freely on the low brush of a sea salt sprinkle landscape, resulting in tender, moist and delicious meat – not unlike the salt marsh lamb of Brittany or Wales. The national dish, meat soup, is a borsht-like broth of lamb meat, cabbage, carrots and potatoes in a lamb broth. Vox: In a sea of fusion cuisine that epitomizes fine dining in Reykjavik, Gunar Gislason of Vox restaurant in the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica, stands virtually alone in reviving the traditions of Icelandic cuisine. He has embraced the international movement of sourcing locally produced ingredients and promoting indigenous foods and techniques. Vox is part of a group of Nordic kitchens embracing this tradition with a Manifesto committing to freshness, seasonality, local producers and a return to tradition in a contemporary and innovative way. Gislason has direct relationships with his purveyors from the sous chef's mom who bakes brown bread in volcanic lava fields, to personal friends that hunt for puffin. He has hunters, fisherman and foragers who supply Vox with the best that Iceland has to offer. As proof, my wild goose came with a warning to be careful of any shot that might still be lodged in the breast. The meal I had at Vox was by far the best meal I had in Reykjavik and included ocean perch, birch smoked arctic char, Icelandic langoustines, a delicious and simple dish of potatoes, burnt leeks and barely coddled egg and a milk dessert that showcased the fantastic dairy products of Iceland. Spring Water: The water in Iceland is delicious. It is naturally filtered through volcanic rock and tastes pure and crisp. Icelanders say that when they leave Iceland they miss the air and the water, and that is why they always return. Skyr: Icelanders are junkies for this dairy product that is something between yoghurt and quark. It is actually a kind of cheese, but it is mild and creamy. It is usually eaten for breakfast, dessert or as a snack. It is quite yummy, especially with fresh berries.
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