Iceland Naturally is a co-op based in New York that promotes tourism, products and the culture of Iceland to North America. As part of their campaign, Taste of Iceland dinners are hosted once a year in several North American cities. The schedule in 2015 includes Edmonton, Canada in April; Denver in September; Seattle in October; and Toronto, Canada in upcoming November.
Taste of Iceland landed in Seattle in 2012. Since then, it has occurred every year around the first weekend of October. Visiting chefs change from year to year, and bring with them, local ingredients unique to their country:
2012: Hákon Már Örvarsson Bocuse d’Or recipient and World Culinary Cup winner
2013: Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon Co-chef of Lava Restaurant in Blue Lagoon
2014: Viktor Örn Andrésson Nordic chef of the year 2013, co-chef of Lava Restaurant in Blue Lagoon
Tom Douglas‘ Dahlia Lounge has been hosting Taste of Iceland dinners since 2013. This year we are honored to meet chef Ylfa Helgadóttir, chef de cuisine and owner of Kopar restaurant in Reykjavik.
Icelandic inspired cocktails are prepared by Dahlia’s very own Sonja Peterson.
The Arctic Trident (left):
- 1 part Brennivin
- 1 part Cynar
- 1 part dry sherry
- Garnished with a lemon peel and served in a coupe glass.
Smoked Reyka Martini (right):
- 2 oz Reyka Vodka
- 1/8 oz dry vermouth
- Served up with smoked cod filled olive
Our first course is Slow cooked Icelandic cod, with dill mayo, lemon-ginger jus, seaweed salad, pickled cucumber and salmon roe:
What makes this refreshing opener special is crispy deep fried dill.
Our seafood course is Langoustine risotto served with lobster champagne sauce and fennel apple salad:
Forget foie. Forget caviar. Langoustines are the new marker of haute cuisine, quote Bon Appetit. These shrimp-looking crustaceans come from the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. They are sweet delicate in flavor, extremely perishable, and hard to find on this side of the Atlantic ocean..
Our meat course is Succulent Icelandic rack of lamb with port creamed mushrooms, garlic confit, grilled carrots and bearnaise foam:
Béarnaise is a sauce made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and white wine vinegar and flavored with herbs.
For dessert, we had Caramelized white chocolate cream cheese mousse with skyr sorbet and dried raspberries:
Chef Ylfa Helgadóttir stopped by our table several times during the meal and afterwards. She speaks fluent English, wished us a good meal, and welcomed everyone to travel to Iceland and visit her restaurant in Reykjavik. What a fantastic way to promote a country and its culture!
Dahlia Lounge, being Tom Douglas’ first restaurant, carries the best coconut cream pie in Seattle. I am not a big fan of anything coconut, but I like their triple coconut cream pie. You can also find it in the adjacent Dahlia Bakery for takeout, or simply make it yourself.