We were delighted to be joined by award-winning food writer Diana Henry for our exclusive Discover Iceland’s Modern Kitchen: Iceland for Food Lovers tour back in 2016. In June 2019, join Julia and Icelandic cheese and dairy expert, Eirný Sigurðardóttir on a different kind of foodie journey. Travel, cook and eat with us through West Iceland on our small group Al Fresco holiday.
Diana was born and brought up in Northern Ireland, where being described as a “good cook” meant being a good baker. As soon as she could reach the counter top and hold a wooden spoon, she began to make fairy cakes, melting moments and peppermint creams and she has never looked back.
Her love of food was consolidated on a student exchange visit to France but she still didn’t plan on turning her passion into a career. After reading English Literature at Oxford University, she moved to London to take a post-graduate course in journalism. Her flat was surrounded by Turkish and Greek cafes, and she fell in love with the food of the region after coming across a copy of Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. From Monday to Friday, she worked at the BBC but her weekends were spent cooking. Determined to improve her skills, she enrolled in Leith’s School of Food and Wine where she completed the year-long diploma course.
After the birth of her first child, Diana realised it would be difficult to combine the demands of television production with those of a small baby and submitted her first piece of food journalism to House and Garden magazine. Her first book, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons, came out in 2001 and, following publication of her second, The Gastropub Cookbook, she was offered a job at The Sunday Telegraph. Her column has appeared in the paper’s Stella magazine for the last 10 years. She has now written eight cookery books and also contributes to Country Living, Saga magazine and Waitrose Weekend. She appears regularly on radio and television and is a judge on this year’s BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. Diana has just been signed up by BBC Good Food magazine.
In recent years, she has become fascinated by Nordic cuisine – an interest she is keen to pursue on our Discover Iceland’s Modern Kitchen tour.
Diana has twice been the Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Journalist of the Year and Fortnum and Mason named her Food Writer of the Year in 2013. In May 2016, she travelled to Chicago where she was presented with a prestigious James Beard Foundation Book Award (the Oscars of the food world) for her collection of chicken recipes, A Bird In The Hand, in the Single Subject category.
Bryndís is a great friend, an immensely experienced tour guide and also led our Discover Iceland’s Modern Kitchen: Iceland for Food Lovers tour in August 2016. Having graduated from the University of Iceland with a BA in Icelandic and English, Bryndís has been a guide since 2002 and lecturer at the Iceland School of Guiding. Married to professional film-maker Valdimar Leifsson, she also works closely with her husband producing and writing scripts for TV programmes and films, many of which are on the natural wonders of Iceland and are screened at their loft Cinema in the Old Harbour of Reykjavík.
Bryndis is highly sought after, and we are delighted work with her. She’s enthused hundreds of our school students on their visits to Iceland, making sure that they return home with knowledge that extends way beyond the Geography curriculum.
Julia learnt Nordic Walking with qualified instructor Bea Zomer and together we introduced our first Nordic Walking Holiday in Iceland in September 2016. Bea has now returned to Poland, but this form of exercise has become so popular that we continue to offer group trips to Iceland, where we have Nordic walking guides who have local expertise and know the best trails.
Nordic walking is enhancement of ordinary walking, it makes something most of us can do with ease, twice as effective. It is a specific fitness technique and a whole body exercise that can be enjoyed at many levels, from walking for health to athletic Nordic running. It uses poles, but is completely different to walking with trekking poles. Once the basics have been learned, you can continue to benefit from regular participation or progress to advanced techniques that will challenge you further.
It’s very important to learn the technique correctly, and we recommend that anyone wanting this type of holiday in iceland has acquired the skill with a qualified instructor before travelling.