Austurland, or East Iceland differs from other regions of the country in that it is too far from the Mid Atlantic ridge to be able to harness geothermal energy and therefore greenhouse food cultivation is not prevalent. The area is known for its calm weather, with a mild summer climate and diverse geology and landscapes, all of which contributes to an exciting selection of food from the land and sea. Farmers here have had to contend with huge difficulties, worst of all perhaps was the eruption of Askja in 1875 which brought about a great decline in agriculture and led to the somewhat enforced growth of coastal settlements and later to a prosperous fishing industry, as well as a significant period of emigration from Iceland to America.
The growth of tourism to Iceland and the developing interest amongst visitors to seek out the delicious food secrets that exist in Iceland has meant that it’s not only in Reykjavik where gourmet tastes can be excellently catered for. This special and very comprehensive day tour is only available in September and October when the colours are vivid and nature yields its produce both on the farm and in the wild. From Egilsstadir, this day of discovery of delicious food and it’s cultivation and harvest takes you from farm to farm, and from tasting to tasting and includes breakfast, lunch and a five course evening meal.
Icelandic barley production has been successfully revived in East Iceland, and along with a wide range of vegetables, you’ll see how this has been achieved. On the coast and in a stunning setting, visit the owners at another farm producing, among other things, some beautiful vegetable crisps and see how fishing has contributed to the gastronomic wealth of the area. By the late afternoon, arrive at the remote location of Hotel Hildibrand at Neskaupstadur, which until 50 years ago was only accessible by sea. Today, this charming town boasts great food, wonderful views from the stunning red rhyolite cliffs, an active kayak club and is the home to an art collection and maritime museum.
Joining this Gourmet East Iceland day tour not only offers 12 hours of food related delights but also an opportunity to enjoy a guided day tour that covers a significant area of the East fjords, leaving you time on other days to explore areas such as Seydisfjordur and Borgafjordur Eystri to the north, Breiddalsvik and Djupivogur to the south or spend time hiking and birdwatching in some of the most spectacular and little visited places in Iceland.
Tour code: FF11 available from September 1 to October 31
Price guide: £510 per person, minimum of 2 people.