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A secret Icelandic supper

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April 3, 2014 / Vegetarian Friendly / By
Naomi Doyle

There are a couple of places on the planet that feel like home to me – Reykjavik, Iceland is one of them. I recently travelled there for the sixth time in a search for the Northern Lights. As my luck would have it, my visit just happened to coincide with the annual Food and Fun Festival.

The festival brings world-acclaimed chefs into collaboration with Reykjavik’s finest restaurants. Each chef is assigned to one of the participating restaurants, where they prepare a special menu crafted from Icelandic ingredients only. Whilst I did get the opportunity to sample some of these menus, without a doubt, the highlight of the festival for me was The World's Largest Secret Supper. My friend, Inga, from Tiny Iceland had worked her magic to secure us highly sought after tickets to the event alongside the who's who of the Reykjavik and International cuisine-scenes.

I don't even know exactly where we were other than in a building by the old harbor that was decked out in a nautical theme and filled with an air of excitement. We were each given a number at the door on a card with a quote that translated as "The cabbage has not yet been sipped even though it is in the ladle" which apparently means "even though you have started something, you haven't finished until you are finished" which in turn apparently meant that we were being split up! Despite my initial trepidation, it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened in terms of meeting new people and having a unique and rewarding experience.

I was seated opposite the hip and hairy Davið aka Food Pervert, food blogger from Reykjavik whose bushy hipster beard made far more sense in the context of his viking features and an Icelandic winter as opposed to the many roaming free in the heat of Sydney's summer. Of course his English was absolutely perfect as was Olof Yrr Atlandottir's - Director General of the Icelandic Tourist Board, seated to my right. Opposite her was Bragi G. Bragason (as henceforth I will call all who brag in my presence!) from First Class Iceland. Once the 200+ of us were seated, the event was officially launched by Einar Örn Benediktsson, head of Reykjavik's Department of Culture and Tourism and former member of Icelandic post-punk band The Sugarcubes. His welcome speech consisted mainly of shouting at people to "shut the f*ck up!" I've written a few speeches in my time and this made every one of them seem a little lack lustre. 

Without further adieu, dinner was served. The first course was salted cod and Icelandic prawns followed by a main of grilled leg of lamb. I was a little embarrassed to admit to my new friends that I was vegetarian considering I managed to nab a ticket to be at one of the foodiest events of the season. Without the slightest hint of judgment, they all swung into action on my behalf to ensure my plate was full to overflowing with all manner of delicious salads and delectable roasted vegetables - more than I could hope to eat in a single sitting. 

The wine and conversation flowed generously. Although business cards were exchanged and networks were built upon, the overall atmosphere was undoubtedly one of fun and hospitality. The entertainment was as ecclectic as the company including a rock performance, a mens choir and a rousing sing-along rendition of "Icelandic Cowboy" (luckily the lyrics were printed on the back of the menu for we out-of-towners). 

The night seemed to fly by and end too soon despite the fullness of the day that preceded it. Inga and I continued on to the Reykjavik Marina Hotel for a round of Reyka vodka, lime and sodas… and then another… and another… eventually they called last orders and the lights came on by which time the rúntur was in full swing (the rúntur is essentially a pub-crawl that takes place every Friday and Saturday night along the main drag of downtown Reykjavik. Generally speaking, people drink at home until midnight and then fill the bars and clubs, which by day live double lives as more demure cafes). As I headed up the hill, rugged up against the cold and the crowds that seemed impervious to it, I briefly considered joining in but had to admit, that for that night at least, I was done like the dinner that had done it to me! 

Stay tuned for more of my adventure here on Eat the Globe or on my Patches McGee travel blog.


Food and Fun Festival

Country: Iceland

Province/State: Reykjavik

City: N/A

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:http://www.foodandfun.is...

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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