Like all the best things about Iceland, home produced Icelandic cheese doesn’t generally leave the country, you just have to go there to. At Keflavík airport there’s a small selection of foil wrapped soft cheeses on sale, but if this is the sum total of your cheese experience at your point of departure, there’s so much that you’ll have missed!  Icelanders eat a great deal of cheese. Some is imported, and they also consume much of what is home produced.  A visit to one of Iceland’s supermarkets soon yields a wider selection than the shop in the departure lounge. These are mostly ready sliced, gouda-like cheeses that are a staple of Icelandic sandwiches and also adorn the breakfast buffet areas of hotels and guesthouses across Iceland. Most are mild tasting, though with a bit more of a bite than you might expect, especially if you have the chance to visit a supermarket and can pick a more interesting variety or at least avoid anything that looks like our UK processed cheese slices.

Fortunately, there’s a great deal more to Icelandic cheese than this, and not only a wonderful selection of cooked curd, soft and blue cheeses, but also a great story of dairying and cheese making to go with it (and yes, you need to go to Iceland for this too). The home of cheese selling in Iceland lies at Búrið, in the up and coming Grandi foodie area of Reykjavik. It’s the go-to cheese, dairy and deli pantry (and nearby to another gem, the wonderful ice cream shop Valdis). At Búrið, it’s not just Tindur, Búri, Jarl, Ísbúi and Dala Auður cheese, there are also home produced Búrið preserves and relishes and a wide selection of artisan food and drink from all over Iceland.

And the story of Icelandic cheese? This, together with the history of Icelandic food production and in the 21st century, food appreciation is very much the domain of Icelandic ‘curd nerd’ Eirný Sigurðardóttir, about whom you can read much more.  Iceland holds two large food artisan markets each year, a fascinating addition to any time spent exploring Reykjavik. For a greater insight into Icelandic cheese making, tasting and food exploring in general a culinary and cooking holiday is an ideal way to combine seeing great landscapes with getting to grips with the real essence of Iceland, and who better to travel with than Eirný herself?

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