Everyone knows about Iceland's dramatic natural beauty but most people know very little about Icelandic food. Like in other Nordic countries, the country’s cuisine is inspired by local ingredients, which were, until recent years, quite limited due to the country’s difficult climate and isolation from the world.
Nowadays however, Icelanders enjoy a large variety of fresh, pure and healthy foods that include free roaming sheep to plentiful seafood found in the area’s cold Arctic waters . . . as well as an amazing variety of tasty greenhouse grown vegetables, salad greens and fruit in addition to the wild herbs and an abundance of berries growing all over the island.
I’m happy to say that the local food scene has, in recent years, experienced a type of renaissance. There are plenty of top notch restaurants serving delicious innovative international and Icelandic traditional foods with creative twists. What I however absolutely adore . . . are the country’s quirky ice-cream stores that seem to be popping up all over the place and drawing unending streams of clients through their doors!
When it comes to sweets, like most Icelanders I have a fierce passion for quality ice-cream and when I’m in Iceland I usually go a bit “nuts” ! Often, I even end up forfeiting a part of my healthy meal plan to indulge on lots and lots of flavorful scoops and soft-serve swirls!
I don’t know how much ice-cream we eat per capita but I can assure you we eat unbelievable amounts of ice-cream all year round . . . even during ice-cold snowy blizzards!!!
In case you are planning a trip to Iceland, here are my must visit ice-cream shops in Reykjavik (Iceland’s capital) . . . which I hope you consider visiting as I'm pretty sure you will enjoy as much as I do . . . as long as you love great tasting ice-cream!
Ísbúðin Laugalæk - A mainstay Reykjavik neighborhood shop where you can get great tasting soft serve ice-cream, in all forms and sizes, with endless combinations of toppings and sauces. . . including homemade fruit sauces.
They also have pretty good gelato; everything from traditional vanilla to Turkish pepper and black licorice as well as some great tasting German sausages . . . . . for those who want something savory!!!
I’ve been visiting this shop since I was a kid as my grandmother used to live a few steps away . . . so whenever I’m in Iceland it’s a must stop for me and it goes without saying that it always brings back happy memories of my many visits to my granny and all the ice-cream treats we enjoyed together!
Laugalækur 8, 105 Reykjavik
Open every day from 11.30am - 11.30 pm
Valdís – A trendy ice-cream parlor housed in a charming historic building from around 1950 (used by fishermen) which is situated next to the old Reykjavik harbor.
Since its opening on 1 July, 2013 the shop has produced more than 400 handmade Italian style ice-cream and sorbet flavors that include some really adventurous varieties like beer ice-cream, rye bread ice-cream, lavender ice-cream, bacon ice-cream and curry ice-cream with coconut and chili.
Should you be interested in one of these unique flavors, please note that they are not always available but they can be ordered; 5 liters of any flavor!
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Open every day 11.00 am – 23.00
Here, your ice-cream is made in front of you from local dairy and other high-quality ingredients with liquid nitrogen. For foodies like me I find this a fascinating process and I always enjoy watching how the ice-creams are spun to order in Kitchen-aid mixers and then turned into fab tasting, smooth and velvety ice-cream with the help of liquid nitrogen.
There are lots of mind-boggling flavors and toppings to choose from. On my last visit I really loved my ice-cream with caramelized popcorn, fresh strawberries and a baked summit . . . which is ice-cream covered or topped with meringue and then blow-torched. A bit like a mini baked Alaska without the sponge base! Really yummy and worth waiting for while it’s being made!
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Open: 11.00 – 23.00