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Published on October 7th, 2015 | by Clarissa Waldron


Icelandic Pantry, Borough Market

What comes to mind when you think of Iceland’s food? £1 quiches?  Party nibbles ? Peter Andre?

That’s all about to change thanks to London’s Borough Market which has teamed up with a selection of artisan Icelandic food producers, farmers and fishermen who are currently in town to highlight the burgeoning foodie scene that has flared up across the snowy land.

The sheer size and successful completion of the undertaking, which sees 14 Icelandic producers pop up at the market from Wed 7th to Saturday 10th October, is just testament to the high quality of preparation and dedication to the craft that has been involved.

The Icelandic Pantry itself is the country’s largest artisanal food fayre, set up during the recession, which first brought artisanal food produce to Reykjavik, courtesy of Eirný Sigurðardóttir, and is credited with championing the foodie cause in the country.

The first spark of the collaboration came from Sigurðardóttir herself, who approached the market organisers with a bubbling passion for home-grown produce, farmer’s markets and an undeterred spirit. And the result has allowed primary producers from different regions of Iceland to touch London soil with their international entrepreneurial hat on and a portfolio of their goods.

To celebrate the launch of this fantastic collaboration the Icelandic Embassy held a press event on the eve of the market showcase to champion the organisers and food producers who have together created a unique culinary experience on our shores.

And of course the night was catered for by those very food producers. As we listened to speeches and introductions all eyes were on the fantastic display of produce that sat pride of place.

As we were encouraged to tuck into an “explosion of Icelandic flavours” by Sigurðardóttir, I couldn’t help but notice just how innovative Iceland’s food developers are in one of the harshest climates in the world.

Icelandic Pantry Borough Market

So get to Borough Market by Saturday evening to see hot-smoked mackerel from the East of Iceland, organic lamb from West Iceland and an age-old traditional Icelandic Flatbrauð, or flatbread, which I was told was a staple fare amongst natives. You’ll also enjoy an eco-whey berry drink blended with Arctic thyme and Irish moss, some very potent chocolate truffles and an innovative way to consume leftover codliver oil from the tin – think egg and soldiers!

Meatwise the Icelandic spread is heavy on fish, including salmon, mackeral and herring, as well as pork sausage and mutton.

Keep an eye out for the blueberry butter, and the beetroot variety, but don’t be fooled by its candyfloss pink exterior. Treat this gem like butter, in so far as to not smear a huge amount of it on your bread in the assumption that it will somehow magically turn into a fruity jam or chutney. It’s certainly butter and your arteries will testify to that.

Iceland Pantry

And so Icelanders show themselves as an inspiration to the rest of us – business acumen that knows no bounds, and passion for great food that eschews stifling factors such as cold summers and freezing winters.

“The Icelandic Pantry at Borough Market” is the first time such cuisine has been available at a London market of this scale, and will undoubtedly spark interest among, and educate, Londoners and tourists of a cuisine that is not as readily available as it should be in one of the foodie capitals of the world. Get down there, say hi, welcome them to London, revel in their spirit and character… and of course, enjoy tasty Icelandic grub while squashed up on the wall of Southwark Cathedral.

Icelandic Pantry is at Borough Market until Saturday 10th October

Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, SE1 1TL

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