Where to find Authentic Souvenirs in Iceland?

Icelandic products on display

Holiday-makers looking for authentic souvenirs in Iceland will want to stop by the fun and quirky shop, Made in Ísland. Read on to learn more about what is, in all likelihood, the most genuine souvenir shop in Iceland!


The following content is sponsored in partnership with Made in Ísland.


Anyone travelling in West Iceland – perhaps making their way to the picturesque South Coast – will likely make a small stop at the town of Selfoss. 

At first glance, you might wonder what Selfoss has to offer visitors. On the face of it, it seems much like any other small Icelandic town. 

There is a supermarket, a swimming pool, a handful of quaint restaurants… and a diminutive population of locals who might stare curiously at you as you drive by. 

(Just joking – this isn’t the outback, after all.)

Well, wouldn’t you know that Selfoss boasts one of the premium establishments to purchase authentic, albeit quirky handcrafted souvenirs? 

An interior shot of the Made in Island shop
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

What started Made in Ísland?

Introducing… Made in Ísland!

Stopping in to this charming little shop on Austurvegur 44 will quickly reveal why it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to bring a piece of Icelandic culture home.

This is not mere hyperbole. 

A quick peek inside reveals that Made in Ísland is a treasure trove of unique, locally produced items that encapsulate the spirit and charm of Iceland. It stands head and shoulders above the crowd by practising what it preaches, holding true to the notion that souvenirs in Iceland should be loyal to the island from which they hail. 

The founders of Made in Island
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Made in Ísland is a Selfoss-based, family-run business conceived of by Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir and her husband. The shop was not founded solely for profit, but as an attempt to rectify an obvious problem…  

After three decades abroad, the couple returned to discover an Iceland quite unlike the one they had left behind. In their years overseas, the island experienced an enormous tourism boom. 

Global interest in what would later be nicknamed the land of ice and fire had transformed this once quiet, rustic nation into a place buzzing with activity. Visitors continue to come from far and wide, all looking to discover for themselves just why Iceland has enraptured the world.

The dawn of “Puffin Shops”

book bookstore Icelandic literature bækur
Photo: Golli. Shoppers in Reykjavik

Once they have experienced the island’s otherworldly nature and wildlife, no less its folklore, history, and friendly community culture, most people hope to purchase a little something to look back on and remind them of their time here. 

It is a desire that has not gone unnoticed by domestic entrepreneurs.   

Anyone strolling around Iceland’s otherwise delightful capital city, Reykjavik, will observe the countless souvenir shops lining its streets. 

Inside these “Puffin Stores,” as they have come to be known, you’ll find all manner of random kitsch items, none of which are overly enticing or noteworthy. We’re talking about the low-quality, easily breakable items like: 

  • I ❤ RYK t-shirts. 
  • Ornamental puffins. 
  • Viking helmets. 
  • Hallgrímskirkja church snow globes and keychains. 
Hunting knife souvenir
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

You get the picture. 

Most people don’t stop to think that, in almost every case, these products are manufactured abroad, then shipped over to Iceland for the sole purpose of providing visitors with a cheaply made, and frankly over-priced memento. 

Once purchased, they’re swiftly taken all around the world, thus only having a very brief interlude in Iceland. 

Ultimately, that makes these products about as Icelandic as the millions of foreign visitors who visit each year. These keepsakes might satisfy your everyday tourist – but true travellers want something unique, tangible, and meaningful to remind them of their stay. 

And it is here, dear reader, that Made in Ísland excels.

What authentic souvenirs does Made in Island offer?

Woollen products make for authentic souvenirs in Iceland
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

As you step inside, ready to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland, you might first notice an array of traditional woollen products created by local knitters. 

Scarves, mittens, hats, and traditional Icelandic sweaters (lopapeysas) can all be found, some of which have been embroidered with decorative horse or salmon stitching. 

Ask yourself – can your fashion stylings really get more Icelandic than that?  

But clothes are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 

Wooden Hidden Folk
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Handcrafted items by Icelandic artists

When it comes to the many hand-carved figurines on offer, each piece speaks of the island’s heritage. Take their cute, albeit somewhat eerie elf ornaments as a prime example. 

Their expressive little faces have been painstakingly sculpted from clay. Their torsos are protected with small lopapeysas of their own. Each has a character, a personality, that almost makes one feel as though they might come alive at any moment. 

(Fear not, Iceland’s elves are known to be friendly… normally.)

Be sure to pop one of these on your shelf back home. It will serve as a continual reminder of the Álfar, or Hidden Folk, who are claimed to live in a parallel dimension to our own.

Authentic souvenirs in Iceland do not come any cuter than these Elf ornaments
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

What truly sets Made in Ísland apart is its quirky and playful spirit. Take a look inside and you’ll find shelves adorned with fantastic artisanal crafts. This includes: jewellery made from volcanic rock and ceramics that mirror Iceland’s landscapes. Not to mention the gorgeous picture books that explore Iceland’s mythology and history.

One of the standout features of Made in Ísland is its commitment to supporting local artisans and food producers. Iceland is brimming with creative minds. As such, Made in Island’s founders have made clear that they are dedicated to showcasing their talents.

With such a philosophy at the forefront of their business, every item in the shop has carefully curated. 

It is done so to ensure all products are of the highest quality, instilling visitors with confident they are buying genuine Icelandic goods.

Authentic souvenirs in Iceland really do not come more authentic than this. 

Does Made in Island offer traditional Icelandic food?

Icelandic food products
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

Made in Ísland is not just a hub for quirky souvenirs and handcrafted goods; it also offers a delectable range of locally produced food products. 

Visitors can indulge in a variety of Icelandic delicacies. Pick from such delights as: jams, mustard, honey, and freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries. Feeling a little more adventurous? Then you’ll be directed to the goat sausages and pâté, the dried herring, and vegan cheese made from potatoes. 

The shop also boasts an impressive selection of teas, including a wide range of hemp teas. In short, there is something to suit every palate. These gourmet items, sourced from local farms, provide a true taste of Iceland, making for perfect gifts or personal treats.

Made in Island logo
Photo: Made in Island

For those craving a more immediate taste of Iceland’s culinary traditions, the food van Gobbidigott, located just around the corner on Larsenstræti in Selfoss, is a must-visit. 

Here, you can enjoy a variety of traditional Icelandic dishes prepared on the spot. 

Highlights from their hearty menu include such staples as: meat soup, Icelandic hot dogs, meatballs, freshly caught fish, and, for the particularly daring, horse meat sausages. 

Whether you’re purchasing uncooked traditional food items from Made in Ísland or enjoying a freshly prepared meal at Gobbidigott, you’ll experience the rich flavours and culinary heritage that define Icelandic cuisine.

Ready to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland?

Souvenir ornaments
Photo: Alda Björk Ólafsdóttir.

So, there we have it! Made in Ísland is a shop wholly unique to the country, and one that sells artisanal products and food items that can be purchased nowhere else.

In the founder’s own words:

"Made In Ísland is Iceland. It has brought together local artists, craftspeople, small producers and farmers under one roof."
Made In Ísland

Whether you’re a collector of unique mementos or merely seeking a meaningful gift to bring to your loved ones back home, a visit to Selfoss’ Made in Ísland is sure to provide everything you are after, and far, far more.  

After all, you’ll leave with not just authentic Icelandic souvenirs, but cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the artistry and culture of this incredible country.

How to find authentic souvenirs in Iceland

If you’re unsure where exactly to head to, you can find Made in Ísland on the below google map. Happy hunting for authentic souvenirs in Iceland!

Exploring Icelandic Cuisine: An Icelandic Food Guide

A Plate of food in Reykjavík city, vegan food

Iceland is the land of fire and ice and breathtaking landscapes. Nonetheless, the country is not only a paradise for nature explorers but also the perfect destination for food enthusiasts with the wide range of Icelandic food.

The culinary scene is as diverse and contrasted as the unique nature of Iceland. The country is packed with different cuisines worldwide, with a swarm of global influences. Nevertheless, the local culinary traditions and authentic Icelandic food instil a deep sense of pride and familiarity. Many restaurants offer a unique mix where an international touch is intertwined with local flavours.

From the lively Reykjavík to the calm countryside, the culinary scene in Iceland is sure to leave a lasting impression on any food enthusiast. Below, you will read more about Icelandic food culture, must-visit restaurants in Iceland and explore traditional Icelandic foods.

A delicious dish of Icelandic cuisine
Photo: The Reykjavík Food Walk


Popular traditional foods in Iceland

The traditional foods in Iceland are quite diverse, and ingredients are often sourced locally from surrounding landscapes. Among other popular ingredients in Icelandic dishes are lamb and fish, and locally grown vegetables are often used to complement the dish.

Many have heard of the traditional foods in Iceland that are not so much loved by all, such as fermented shark, which were commonly eaten centuries ago. Those foods will be discussed further below. However, many traditional Icelandic foods are very popular in modern-day society today and can be purchased widely.


Harðfiskur – Dried Fish

Harðfiskur, or dried fish, might not sound like a delicacy, but it has been a popular snack amongst Icelanders for centuries. The dried fish is usually cod, haddock or wolffish and is full of protein and nutrients. It is often enjoyed with a pinch of butter on top to make it incredibly delicious. Harðfiskur can be purchased in most supermarkets and corner stores countrywide.


Flatkökur – Flat Bread

Flatkaka, or flatbread, is a type of Icelandic bread made from rye flour. The flatbread became an Icelandic staple over a century ago, at a time when rye flour was the only affordable flour available. Now, it is an Icelandic classic, often enjoyed with butter and cheese, smoked lamb or smoked Salmon. Read here Icelandic Review’s article on Brynja and Tóta, the Icelandic mother-daughter duo that have been making flatkökur together for over 30 years.

A photo of flatkökur being prepared on a stove
Photo: Preparing flatkökur


Rúgbrauð – Sweet Rye Bread

Rúgbrauð is Icelandic rye bread, originating from Denmark over a century ago; however, it is vastly different from Danish rye bread. The Icelandic rye bread tastes very sweet and might taste like cake to some. The rye bread is more often than not enjoyed with cheese and butter, and around the holiday season, many choose to eat it with herring on top, creating a Danish-style open sandwich.


Kleinur – Twisted Doughnut

Kleina, often referred to as a twisted doughnut, is a national classic. Inviting guests for “Kaffi og Kleinur”, or coffee and twisted doughnuts, is a widespread phenomenon and still a prevalent saying today, even though no kleinur might be in sight. Although locals classify it as a traditional Icelandic food, kleinur may originate from Germany and they are known by different names throughout the Nordic countries. Even so, they are still an Icelandic classic and are enjoyed by all ages.


Smoked and Cured Salmon 

Icelandic fish is a high-quality product processed to the highest standards and enjoyed by people worldwide, including salmon. Smoked or cured salmon has become a delicacy in Iceland as it is one of the best in the world. The cured salmon is most often enjoyed over the holiday season and is usually eaten on toast with dill sauce.


Icelandic Lamb 

For centuries, Icelandic lamb has been a staple of Icelandic food culture and is enjoyed in many shapes or forms. The most popular ones are the leg of lamb, smoked lamb and lamb soup.


Lambalæri – Leg of Lamb

Icelandic lambalæri, or leg of lamb, is the typical Icelandic Sunday roast enjoyed by locals and visitors of all ages. The leg of lamb is often prepared using locally sourced herbs and served with gravy and potatoes. 


Hangikjöt – Smoked Lamb

Hangikjöt, directly translated as hung meat, is a popular traditional delight in Iceland. The curing method of the meat originates from the Viking era in Iceland. At that time, meat was preserved by hanging it up in smokehouses. Hence the name hung meat. Over the holiday season, the smoked lamb is served with a variation of bechamel sauce, green peas and red cabbage. However, the smoked lamb can also be enjoyed as a bread topping, and placing it on top of the Icelandic flatbread has become one of the classics of Icelandic foods.

A photo of smoked lamb, or hangikjöt, on a plate
Photo: Hangikjöt


Kjötsúpa – Lamb Soup 

The Icelandic kjötsúpa, or lamb soup, is a common way of serving lamb. The soup is prepared using lamb shanks boiled with vegetables and herbs, which is the perfect warm meal on a cold Icelandic winter day.



Skyr is a traditional Icelandic dairy product. While it’s technically a fresh, cultured cheese, it’s eaten much like yoghurt and is a very common and popular food in Iceland. It has a thick and creamy texture and can be used for smoothies and desserts or enjoyed on its own. Skyr can be found in most supermarkets and convenience stores in Iceland.


Unusual Traditional Icelandic Food 

As mentioned, other traditional Icelandic foods, such as fermented shark, have been available for centuries but, to this day, are certainly not loved by all. 

Many of these traditional foods were in the past meant to be eaten through the late winter and were therefore preserved in fermented whey, or mysa in Icelandic. Most of the below-mentioned foods have an acquired taste and could be more appealing to the eye. 

A midwinter feast called Þorrablót is held in late January, celebrating unusual traditional foods. There, smoked, fermented, salted, and dried meats are found on the buffet along with the Icelandic brennivín, or black death, used to wash down the unique assortment of foods. 

See here Iceland Review’s recent article on Þorrablót. 


Hákarl – Fermented Shark 

Hákarl, the infamous fermented shark, is native to Icelandic cuisine and is loved by some but hated by most. Preparing hákarl involves a complex process to make the shark meat edible. After catching the shark, the meat is buried in a shallow pit, allowing it to ferment. Afterwards, the meat is hung to dry and cut into bite-sized pieces. The taste is an exceptionally acquired one, with a strong ammonia-like scent, but it is more easily washed down with Icelandic brennivín. 


Svið – Sheep’s Head

As odd as it may sound to many, svið is a type of Icelandic traditional food using the sheep’s head. It originates from a time when farmers couldn’t let any part of the animal go to waste, so the head was boiled and served with mashed turnips or potatoes. Svið is not a typical food in Iceland today; however, it is one of the foods some enjoy at the midwinter feast Þorrablót. 



Another ammonia-like scented food, skata, is usually enjoyed only one day a year on December 23. Skata is a type of fermented flat fish called Skate and is an Icelandic Christmas tradition, leaving the city smelling of ammonia. The story behind eating the stinky fish Skate the day before Christmas Eve comes from people not eating meat the days leading up to it. Therefore, the Skate was a perfect option with its natural preservative, similar to the fermented shark, and consequently, the tradition of eating it on December 23 was born. 

Many restaurants serve Skate in the month of December, such as Messinn, Þrír Frakkar and The Fish Market. Many hotels also offer a buffet in December, serving Skate and other Icelandic delicacies worth trying. 

A plate with the fermented fish Skata, turnips and potatoes
Photo: A plate with Skata, turnips and potatoes


Lifrarpylsa – Liver Sausage

Lifrarpylsa, a traditional Icelandic liver sausage, is a classic reflecting the country’s dedication to utilising every part of the animal in the past. The liver sausage is made from a lamb or sheep’s innards and is crafted from a blend of liver and other organ meats, such as heart and fat. The liver sausage can either be served warm or cold, and it is common to enjoy as a side to rice pudding. 


Hrútspungar – Sour Ram’s Testicles

Hrútspungar, or sour ram’s testicles, does most likely not sound appetising to the majority and is not a common or popular type of food in Iceland. This unique type of food is also a testament to Icelanders utilisation of the whole animal in the old days. The testicles undergo a fermentation process often involving a combination of whey, brine and herbs, giving it a unique sour taste. Some supermarkets sell sour ram’s testicles. However, you are more likely to find them at one of the Þorrablót feasts. 


What are the Must-Visit Restaurants in Iceland?

The Icelandic culinary scene not only brings about a number of fermented and smoked meats but also offers a wide range of cuisines filled with different flavours and preparation methods. The restaurant scene in Iceland has grown and evolved a great deal in the last decade, and today, there is an abundance of high-quality restaurants both in and outside Reykjavík city.



Slippurinn Restaurant was opened in 2012 and is an exceptional restaurant located on Heimaey, one of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands. The restaurant is housed in an old machine workshop used to service old shipyards but hadn’t been used for 40 years before being taken over by Slippurinn. The restaurant is family-run, and they opt to support the local community by sourcing ingredients from local fishermen, small producers, and farmers. Slippurin’s menu changes from week to week as they make sure to source the freshest ingredients available at each time. An interview with the restaurant’s chef and owner, Gísli Matt, can be read in Iceland Review’s magazine here.



Dill restaurant offers guests a unique fine dining experience with eccentric dishes and cooking methods inspired by the Icelandic landscape. In 2017, Dill restaurant won its first Michelin Star, which was, moreover, the first one awarded in Iceland. The restaurant’s chefs prepare the dishes according to the New Nordic cooking philosophy and dedicate themselves to sourcing the freshest ingredients.



Rok Restaurant was opened in Reykjavík in 2016 and offers guests a wide selection of small dishes in a fine casual style. The restaurant’s design was one of the focal points, along with getting the best possible ingredients for the dishes. The high-quality dishes and the restaurant’s interior make it a fun dining experience in a relaxed environment.



Messinn is a seafood restaurant located both in Reykjavík centre and in Selfoss town in southern Iceland. The restaurant’s name, Messinn, is the Icelandic name for the food hall on fishing vessels, where the chef onboard cooks for the fishermen. The menu is quite simple, and their speciality is to serve freshly cooked Icelandic fish pans, which are perfect for sharing, although other seafood options are also available.



Visiting Friðheimar is a unique experience as the space combines a tomato greenhouse with a restaurant specialising in creating delicious dishes made from, you guessed it, tomatoes. Friðheimar is a family-run business where you can get a tour of the facilities and learn how the process of growing tomatoes works. Afterwards, you can enjoy a lovely tomato soup with freshly baked bread. Friðheimar is located near the town of Selfoss, in Bláskógabyggð area. 

People visiting Friðheimar tomato farm
Photo: Visitors travelling the Golden Circle, visiting Friðheimar tomato farm.


Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Iceland

Though traditional Icelandic food is mainly known for fermenting, smoking, and curing different kinds of meats, there is no shortage of vegetarian and vegan options. 

Many greenhouses can be found around the country where different fruits and vegetables are grown all year round, making Iceland self-sufficient for many species. The Icelandic natural spring water and the country’s abundance of geothermal energy have made this possible despite harsh climates. Therefore, many restaurants cook from fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.


Most restaurants offer vegetarian or vegan options, as in recent years, it has become a prerequisite for restaurants, with a growing number of people opting for plant-based alternatives. 

Many cafes and restaurants offer an entirely plant-based menu, mainly in the capital area, such as the ones named below.



Chickpea is a family-owned street-food-style restaurant specialising in vegan and vegetarian food, where the main ingredients are chickpeas. The restaurant is at Hallveigarstígur Street in Reykjavík.


Garðurinn Cafe 

Garðurinn Cafe is both a lunch restaurant and a cafe located at Klapparstígur Street in Reykjavík. The cafe serves homemade vegan and vegetarian dishes and cakes.


Mama Restaurant

Mama is a plant-based restaurant and a wellness space in the centre of Reykjavík. The restaurant is dedicated to creating a healthy and vibrant space for people to nurture their minds and souls, along with supporting the community and protecting the environment. The space not only serves delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes but also offers music and art gatherings for visitors.


Sónó Restaurant and Cafe

Sónó is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant and cafe serving different dishes depending on the freshest available ingredients. They procure Icelandic herbs from the wild nature of Vestfirðir fjords and grow them in the restaurant’s garden and greenhouse. 


What are the Best Sweets to Try Out in Iceland

Besides being an intriguing experience for food lovers, Iceland is also a paradise for the sweet tooth. Every supermarket and convenience store offers an extensive selection of Icelandic candy, most of it being chocolate, where candy enthusiasts can bring delicious pieces of Iceland’s sweetness home. 

Icelandic candy combines the indulgent nature of Icelanders together with creativity, craftsmanship and the high quality of the food and sweets culture. But what are the must-try-out candies in Iceland? Most of Iceland’s most popular and well-known candies are crafted from chocolate, liquorice, or a combination of the two. 


Nóa Kropp 

One of Icelanders’ favourite candies is Nóa Kropp, small crispy corn centres covered with delicious milk chocolate. The candy is made by Iceland’s oldest candy producers, founded in 1920 and has since then provided locals and visitors with irresistible candy and other confectionery.


Icelandic Liquorice 

The Icelandic liquorice should not go past anyone visiting the country as it comes in all shapes and forms and can be found nearly anywhere. The liquorice in Iceland is unlike those in other countries. Therefore, many of those who usually are not liquorice lovers would go to the ends of the earth for the Icelandic one. 

The most common type of liquorice is Appolo lakkrís, which can be found in liquorice and marzipan bites, rolled-up liquorice, liquorice laces and more.

Licorice also often tends to be combined with chocolate, which is a national favourite. There amongst is Þristur,  a candy that contains a unique filling of soft caramel and liquorice bits covered in chocolate. Another chocolate-covered liquorice delight is Eitt Sett, a milk chocolate bar and a liquorice ribbon combined.



The chocolate company Omnom Chocolate is Iceland’s only bean-to-bar chocolate maker and has won multiple awards for its craftsmanship. Omnom has prioritised creating chocolate delicacies using the highest quality ingredients possible, with cocoa beans originating from Madagascar, Tanzania and Nicaragua. The chocolate bars can be found in most stores in Iceland and in their own chocolate and ice cream shop located at Hólmaslóð Street in the centre of Reykjavík.


What is Iceland’s National Dish?

The national dish of Iceland is hákarl, or fermented shark, which has long been an important source of energy and protein for Icelanders. The processing methods of the shark are quite eccentric as it’s fermented for months in the ground and afterwards hung up to dry, making the process a waiting game. The rich cultural and historical sides of the fermented shark and its unique processing method have made it an important cornerstone of Icelandic food culture. 

After months of waiting for the national delicacy to be all set for tasting, the result leaves you with a strong-smelling treat with an acquired taste. But fear not, as the fermented shark is often served with sweet Icelandic rye bread and a shot of brennivín, the Icelandic schnapps, taking you on a rollercoaster of unique flavours. 


Are there any Food Tours in Iceland?

Yes, you can definitely take food tours in Iceland! These tours offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the unique and delicious cuisine of Iceland while also learning about the country’s culture and history.


The Reykjavík Food Walk Tour participants explore downtown Reykjavík through local cuisines that you might not have come across normally. The walk takes participants on a stroll around the city, visiting six unique restaurants with a fun and knowledgeable local guide.

The Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour is an entertaining and educational food tour of Iceland’s traditional foods. The tour lets participants get a sense of Iceland’s history while eating exciting and delicious food.

The Reykjavik Beer and Booze Tour brings participants on a journey of the fun history of beer and alcohol in Iceland. On top of that you will enjoy a sit down and drink with the locals of Reykjavík.

The Icelandic Sweet Tooth Tour is as sweet as the name implies, as participants are taken on a journey and sampling ofIceland’s most popular and beloved sweet treats such as pastries, sweets and more.


Whether you’re a food enthusiast looking to expand your palate or simply curious about Icelandic cuisine, a food tour can be a delightful and informative experience during your visit to Iceland. See all available food tours in Iceland here. 

Food and Fun Festival Returns to Reykjavík

A waiter holding two dishes in Hlemmur Food Hall

Fifteen Reykjavík restaurants will take part in the 20th edition of the Food and Fun Festival, which returns to the Icelandic capital March 1-4, mbl.is reports. Foreign chefs will be invited to cook at the restaurants, where they have the opportunity to get to experiment with Icelandic ingredients. Hungry foodies will be able to book a table around mid-February.

“There are a lot of foreigners that attend the festival, there are a lot of tourists that are curious about Icelandic cuisine,” says Siggi Hall, a master chef and one of the festival organisers. “Once upon a time there were few tourists at this time of year but that’s no longer the case. Today, many people come here for the food, because the food is without a doubt the third or fourth attraction, besides nature and the northern lights.”

Food and Fun was originally organised to attract tourists to Iceland during the off season as well as to showcase the country’s agricultural and seafood products. During the festival, foreign chefs from the USA and Europe team up with local restaurants to create gourmet menus at affordable prices. As the festival website points out, not only do the foreign chefs get to know Icelandic ingredients, but they can also make locals see those ingredients in a new way, such as using Icelandic skyr for sauces rather than desserts.

In previous editions of the festival, celebrity chef judges have also been invited to rate the culinary creations, and three chefs have been chosen as finalists to compete for the title of Food and Fun Chef of the Year. A list of participating chefs and restaurants from past years is available on the festival website.

East Iceland Startup Makes Beverages Flavored with Locally Foraged Herbs

A start-up in East Iceland is producing nonalcoholic beverages using wild, Icelandic herbs, Austurfrétt reports. The company, Könglar (meaning ‘pine cones’), has been selling its beverages at restaurants throughout East Iceland since earlier this year and aims to be a truly local product. “People are always asking us if it’s possible to get [our drinks] in the [capital area],” says marketing manager Brynjar Darri Sigurðsson. “And we always say, ‘no, you have to come out East.’”

Producer Dagrún Drótt Valgarðsdóttir got the idea for making natural beverages from local, Icelandic ingredients after sampling a blueberry drink made in Finland. “We started to wonder if we could use that method using the nature we have here,” she says.

Könglar received subsidies from the municipality of Fljótsdalshérað, as well as the government’s Food Fund, which aims to “strengthen development and innovation in the production and processing of food and by-products from agricultural and marine products,” with an emphasis “on innovation, sustainability, value creation and the competitiveness of Icelandic food throughout the country.”

Thus far, the company’s beverages, all of which have names inspired by local folk tales, include a lovage drink, a dandelion iced tea, and a rhubarb soda. Dagrún says their focus has been “to use what’s around us as much as possible” instead of opting for imported produce or ingredients that aren’t native to Iceland. So, for instance, if they want the flavor profile of a tart, green apple, they use rhubarb, which is plentiful in East Iceland. In the future, Dagrún says Könglar would like to use their same production and infusion methods to make herbal-flavored beers and wine.

Follow Könglar on Instagram, here.

MATEY Seafood Fest Serves Up the Best of the Westman Islands

A new festival seeks to celebrate the produce and producers of Iceland’s Westman Islands. The MATEY Seafood Festival is a collaborative project between the island’s restaurateurs and food producers and will take place from September 8-10.

Restaurants, fish factories, food producers and other food industry service partners collaborate to highlight the food of the islands. With the MATEY festival, islanders hope to spotlight “one of the best culinary destinations in Iceland,” and give guests a taste of “a variety of stunning dishes” that are made solely with ingredients sourced in and around the Westmans. Leading chefs from neighbouring Nordic nations will also take part in the festival, offering their own twists on “authentic local dishes.”

Restaurants Gott, Slippurinn, Einsi Kaldi, and Næs will host menus from guest chefs Chris Golding, Leif Sørensen, Ron McKinlay, and Fjölla Sheholli and Junaid Juman, respectively, serving up local ingredients.

In addition to serving up local cuisine in Heimaey’s restaurants, the festival will also feature events in which businesses in seafood industry open their doors, give some insight into their operations, and discuss the “blue economy” that is so vital to the Westmans’ way of life.

Icelandic Produce is Getting a New Logo

Islenskt, Iceland’s horticulturists’ sales organisation, unveiled a new origin marker for Icelandic produce today, Vísir reports.

Several markings have been used over the years to state the origin of various Icelandic products, but Islenskt will roll out the new label out across all packaging in the coming months. The goal of the initiative is to create consistency and certainty in a time when consumers are more discerning about the origin of their food.

Milk, meat, eggs, seafood and flowers that are produced and packaged 100% in Iceland can bear the new logo. Blended products like yoghurt and cheese can be labelled as Icelandic origin if no more than 25% of their ingredients are imported.

Churning Onward

Gunnar Birgisson’s journey as an entrepreneur has seen many unexpected detours. As the CEO of Reykjavik Creamery – an American dairy processing plant located in Newville, Pennsylvania – Gunnar’s story spans both continents and conmen, bringing him from Akureyri to Denmark to California in search of a way into the US dairy industry, where he would eventually carve himself a niche specialising in skyr production using ultra-filtration technology – the natural way to optimise the nutritional value of fermented dairy products.

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A Fresh Harvest

“We’re importing way too many products that we could be producing, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. The same is true of grain.” “What’s new in Icelandic food production?…  …Is this a 300-page article?” Gunnar Þorgeirsson asked me with a hearty laugh when I called him up on a late summer afternoon. A greenhouse farmer, Gunnar […]

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Hungry for More

When opening acclaimed restaurant Agern in New York, Gunnar Karl Gíslason tasted twenty different types of butter before he found one he liked. His pastry chefs sourced several kinds of organic milk because the ice creams made from regular milk tasted off to him. He never did end up finding lamb that met his standards in the US, though he found a single farm in the mountains of Pennsylvania whose grass-fed sheep he deemed adequate to serve his guests. But in Reykjavík, he’ll scarf down the local classic – a hot dog with ‘everything:’ crispy fried onion, fresh onion, mustard, remoulade, and ketchup – like the Akureyri-raised country boy he is. There’s a catch though: he’ll only get one from certain shops where they heat the sausages the way he likes them and serve the right kind of ketchup.

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Icelandic Lamb Exported to China for the First Time

Icelandic lamb

The first shipment of Icelandic lamb was exported to China this week, RÚV reports. Björn Víkingur Björnsson, CEO of Fjallalamb Ltd, says the meat was well received, which bodes well for increased export opportunities in the near future.

Icelandic lamb producer Fjallalamb is the first and, so far, only company to have been granted a license to export lamb to China and has been working to get its product onto the Chinese market for two years, ever since the two countries revised the terms of their free trade agreement in 2018. Per the revised terms, exported lamb must receive a health certification; exported meat may only come from lambs under six months of age that were born and bred in scrapie-free regions. Slaughterhouses, meat packing centres, and storage centres where the meat is processed or held must also be located in scrapie-free regions. Fjallalamb is currently the only Icelandic lamb producer to fulfil these requirements.

Fjallalamb’s first test shipment contained around 20 tonnes of lamb. Björn Víkingur says that it took a long time to find companies that could connect Fjallalamb with the market it’s seeking to enter in China, namely “high-class restaurants.”

The CEO continued that his company’s Chinese customers “are extremely interested – they’ve tasted the meat and want to make an ongoing agreement.”

At the time that Fjallalamb received its export license, Björn Víkingur said that it was not possible for the company to sell all its product on the Icelandic market. In order to meet demand in China, however, it’s likely that the company will need to increase its production, although it’s unclear at this time by just how much. “If it works out that farmers can increase production and if, as I think is likely, China wants more in the fall if all goes well, then this could be a promising situation.”