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March 21, 2013 Comments (0) Views: 4399 GFR Photo Essay

Iceland Cometh

 

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Iceland’s Chef Hákon Már Örvarsson, Bocuse d’Or recipient and World Culinary Cup winner introduces the first course.

From March 21st to 24th Iceland Naturally are showcasing the cuisine of Iceland’s Chef Hákon Már Örvarsson at The Drake Hotel for a fantastic Taste of Iceland prix fixe menu. Chef Hákon is a force to be reckoned with, being both a Bocuse d’Or recipient and World Culinary Cup winner in previous years.

Chef Hákon will be working alongside The Drake’s Chef Darren Glew to present a special $45 four course menu that will run throughout the span of this mini-Icelandic festival. Judging by the sneak peek of the menu that we were made privvy to Wednesday night (detailed below), I think it is safe to say that this menu is just as spectacular as that of Reykjavik’s Chef Thor back in 2010, when Iceland Naturally first partnered with The Drake to great critical acclaim. It’s also pretty good value for $45!

As was the case in 2010, this year’s celebration also include music, cinema, and art components. Of particular note is a free concert of Icelandic and Canadian music at The Hoxton on the 23rd. The concert will feature the music of  Apparat Organ QuartetÁsgeir TraustiCai.roRevelstoke, and the divine Sóley. For more information click about any of the other events click here.

 

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Tapas-style tasting menu of “Harðfiskur,” Icelandic hard-(dried)-fish with Icelandic butter; grilled Icelandic langoustine shell with garlic, butter and herbs; Atlantic shrimps, pickled vegetables, citrus dressing, cress and lumpfish caviar; deep-fried crispy balls of cod and potatoes and “Söl” mayonnaise; and pickled herring, sweet rye bread, curry dressing, green apples and spring onions. The shrimps were so wonderfully sweet. The Langoustines also, especially with the “Söl” mayonnaise.

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An Iceland-inspired cocktail, Sons and Daughters ($9), created by mixologist Aaron Gaulke and made with Reyka Vodka, aquavit, lemon juice, caraway seeds, muddled thyme and sea-buckthorn syrup. Now I’m not that much of a cocktail man, but this was quite delicious. It felt quite powerful but had an intriguing character.

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A close up of the tapas-style tasting menu of “Harðfiskur,” Icelandic hard-(dried)-fish with Icelandic butter; grilled Icelandic langoustine shell with garlic, butter and herbs; Atlantic shrimps, pickled vegetables, citrus dressing, cress and lumpfish caviar; deep-fried crispy balls of cod and potatoes and “Söl” mayonnaise; and pickled herring, sweet rye bread, curry dressing, green apples and spring onions. Did I mention those shrimp?

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House-made, cold-smoked filet of naturally raised Icelandic salmon, served with grainy mustard dressing, sour cream, dill oil and Icelandic rye bread… with smoke as a garnish. Seriously. I think that Chef had been playing around with The Smoking Gun.

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One can almost see the smoke garnish here… drifting in front of an ipad.

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Cute-As-A-Button Icelandic singer Sóley introduces her song…

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…before giving us a smashing little intimate performance. Quite a surprise!

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Seared and slowly cooked filet of free-range Icelandic lamb, with glazed root vegetables, juniper berry-infused lamb jus reduction and a dust of dried, wild Icelandic herbs and blueberries. Now, here’s a question… how does one get Icelandic lamb into the country. That stuff was so very delicious.

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Skyr of the Vikings, a delicate mousse of Icelandic skyr (a cultured dairy product unique to Iceland, and a staple since the Vikings), with apple jelly and crispy oat-hazelnut crumble. It will be served with cinnamon-flavoured, poached rhubarb.

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Chef Hákon Már Örvarsson serves up the Skyr.


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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution
… And he would love to visit Iceland someday.

 

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