3 Restaurants that will make you travel to Iceland!

Often when we decide on taking the adventure of a lifetime and travel to exotic and foreign lands, one of the factors that dictate our choices is food. Many people travel to Italy because of their deep love for pasta. After my last post introducing you to the Aperitivo, it gave you have more reason to want to go there aside from the spectacular sights. Food can also go further in being that lifeline that connects us with different cultures and helps us understand the people and what drives them when we travel. Even if you don’t speak the same language, sharing an Aperol Spritz with the local Italians helps us see life from their eyes and how they live. In my last post, I introduced you to the Italian pastime of Aperitivo, but today I’d like to bring you back to my home in the Nordic and show you why if you are a foodie, Iceland should be the next stop on your journey.

Photo by Tomás Malík on Pexels.com

Iceland’s known for its unmatched nature and has become a real hot spot for adventure travel. But what isn’t paid as much attention to are the culinary strides the country has made. People often stop when they hear about food in Iceland and get a grim image of fermented shark and Svið (please don’t google it if you have a weak stomach. Its sheep’s head, It works well in soups). Because of the abundance of geothermal water, greenhouses have grown the wildest foods that our climate would have never allowed for before. Inspiring chefs to craft absurd creations like 100% Icelandic Wasabi Ice cream. That’s right; we grow nordic wasabi. It changed many fish-specified restaurants deciding to take on Asian cuisines that incorporate this ingredient and make them a little more Icelandic.

Below you can find my favourite places with classical Icelandic cuisine and those pushing the boundaries to craft something inspirational

Pakkhúsið
Langoustine Restaurant

Giant red Atlantic lobster is alright, and all but haven’t you ever thought what if it was sweeter and even more delicious? Well, Pakkhusid offers just that and some history with it. The building was built in 1932 and was refurbished in 2012 to serve as a restaurant. But before this, it was an old warehouse used for both storage of fishing equipment and the fish itself before it was shipped to other countries. The walls still showing old stamps used back in the day for organizing the fish.

Located right on the port, you can enjoy a very authentic Icelandic meal from a local chef who studied abroad to refine old school dishes with a beautiful view. What makes this restaurant unique is its location in the East. Höfn is a small town with a population of 1800 that has been celebrated for fishing the ever-elusive Icelandic langoustine. The town hosts a Langoustine festival every summer where locals will come together to the port just in front of the restaurant and cook their version of Humarsúpa, which translates to langoustine soup. If you wanted to try the Icelandic seafood, I recommend starting at Pakkhusid and working your way into the city of Reykjavik.

Pakkhus Port. Photo by Bríet Savard Gudjonsdottir

Friðheimar
Tomato Greenhouse Restaurant

A family-run restaurant started by a couple who had a lust to do something different and against the grain. With the wife interested in agriculture, they located themselves on the trendy and geothermal active region in Iceland known by foreigners as the golden circle. The restaurant was initially just a greenhouse powered by geothermal energy that’s found in abundance nearby. They focused on growing vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers for the Icelandic public, and they still do with the greenhouse, accounting for around 11% of all the vegetables sold in Iceland. But now they’ve created an experience like no other where guests can enter a real Icelandic greenhouse have themselves a seat amongst the tomato vines as they enjoy a hot bowl of tomato soup at the buffet before continuing on the circle to see phenomena like Geysir and Gullfoss. 

Dinner Date at Fridheimar. By Bríet Savard Gudjonsdottir

ÓX
Micheline guide restaurant

Picking a single restaurant in the capital is difficult, but one that still leaves me drooling for more is ÓX. Noted as the smallest restaurant in Iceland with only 11 seats, it’s a fine-dining experience done very relaxed. You get a very personalized experience with the head chef Þráinn Vigfússon cooking and crafting your dinner in front of you and cracking a few jokes as he tells each dish’s stories and how they connect with the land. What makes it still fit with the above recommendations is its warm homely vibe. With the interior of this tiny space decorated with Þráinns grandmother’s old kitchen cabinets that his grandfather built, it feels like he has invited you into his home. But his ground-breaking twists on Icelandic classics are what makes them stand out, and their menu changes frequently to adapt to what’s in season or frankly just available in Iceland.

Photo submitted and published by mbl.is

So, if you’re someone who likes to travel with their stomach, be sure to stop by in Iceland and taste for yourself the new normal for this exponentially growing food mecca. I promise we have so much more to offer than just fermented concoctions and fish. Where would you like to eat from the examples above? Leave a comment below telling me how you like to travel!

Facebook – Do you travel with your stomach? Here are 3 restaurants that are sure to make Iceland your next stop for a delicious foodie fix!

Twitter – Do you travel with your stomach? Find out what country is calling you next! https://bit.ly/36AvNlc

COM0014-Blog#4: Secret Ingredient for B2C Success

Many businesses have an online presence, but those that successfully engage with customers know the importance of utilizing social media to build these relationships.  Take M&M Food Market for example.  This Business-to-Consumer (B2C) company does an excellent job of promoting their products online, listening and interacting with its clientele, all while keeping that “Buy Now” button up front and centre.

The secret ingredient?

Food porn. Glistening BBQ-glazed spareribs, sizzling garlic-buttered shrimp, sinful chocolate eclairs, each with a mouth-watering product description and with one simple click you are at their order site.  In fact, the food looks so enticing, one cannot resist the urge to comment…and M&M Food Market is listening.

Is food sustainability important to you?  How do you think your homemade lemon bars would compare? M&M Food Market’s interaction with consumers online demonstrate that they truly empathize with people, and those relatively simple comments can go a long way in retaining and maintaining customer loyalty. 

It’s also important to know when to step into online conversations to answer questions or manage crisis before they escalate.  It’s always best to respond in a way to let the public know that you are indeed listening. 

“U got my business”

One of my favourite examples is from Instagram. M&M Meat Shops did an excellent job of ‘reading the mood’ of a customer by his negative comment. Their response was short but humorous.  The customer laughed. This interaction retained his loyalty.

Example of customer retention interaction (Source: mmfoodmarket Instagram)

M&M Food Market have been in business for 40 years providing easy-to-prepare frozen foods, personalized customer service and convenient shopping environment.  As consumer buying routines are changing, so are M&M Food Markets with re-designed store layouts, updated packaging, no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners and are also offering gluten-free options.

 Think you know M&M Food Market?  Think again.

Watch this video to find out how they are changing to fit your needs (Source: M&M Food Market)

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COM0011 – Blog 2 – Optimizing your food blog for Pinteresters

Let me begin by saying that I am not a food blogger, so this is not a post about how to make a lovely culinary blog like my own. I am just a person who cooks and bakes often, and primarily uses links from social streams like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to find recipes. Thanks to these, I can find a massive selection of food blogs with recipe posts, far outdoing the selection that I can find by using Google alone (the same few sites like AllRecipes.com and Cooks.com are better indexed and always at the top of the results, unfortunately.)

Of these, I feel that Pinterest is the best choice for social recipe perusal, because the social aggregator is,

1. picture-based , so you can scroll through your results by photo, which yield higher conversion than text when it comes to food;

2. Pinterest posts link directly to the post or page of origin; and

3. Is so easy to share to by photo linking that it is a top choice of food bloggers to share their content, and therefore Pinterest’s selection of any given search result is abundant.

This being said, I feel that there could be several key improvements to the blog posts themselves in light of the fact that much of their traffic will be coming from Pinterest and other social media.

Since I am usually standing in my kitchen or at the grocery store when I’m using Pinterest to comb for recipes, I will be accessing it from a mobile device. Thankfully, Pinterest is aware of this and its mobile app has an awesome user interface, so no complaints there. However, once I click on a suitable-looking photo to link to the blog it was posted from, this is where all hell breaks loose. Most food bloggers use lots of high-quality photography to display their culinary prowess, but many take it to the next level and unfortunately it slows the load time on a mobile device to the point of abandonment. I have often been on a post, trying to scroll through forty slow-loading images so that I can simply see the recipe list to make sure I have all the ingredients before I start. Sometimes I stand there swearing and scrolling, but often I just close Pinterest’s browser and go back to its search results so that I can find a link to a different site altogether. If the recipe was posted at the top of the post under the title, I would have only had to scroll that far to find it and it would have increased my likelihood of using it.

Speaking of photography, the photos themselves should be optimized for web, and quite often, they are too big and too numerous. I personally don’t need to view ten similar photos of the same pie taken in impressively high quality, nor a separate photo of EVERY STEP of the cooking process, either. I feel that if the blogger can’t illustrate the whole recipe in 5 photos or less including the feature image, then they need to review their posting strategy.

The body copy itself is often too long. While I understand that the blogger is trying to create a community in which their voice and their style can blend with their skills to appeal to their niche audience, I am arriving to their blog from outside their niche and I simply do not care about their voice. I just want to see their spinach dip recipe because the photo on Pinterest looked tasty. I will not read the 500 words of copy introducing the week they’ve been having at the time of posting, nor how much their “hubby” loves this recipe. A short paragraph regarding the blogger’s success with the recipe and detailing any alterations made to it wouldn’t be amiss, but anything more will be scrolled past.

The comments need to be moderated to be useful. Many recipes on larger sites are only as good as their comment thread. On a site like AllRecipes, some recipes are utterly useless if you don’t read the user feedback, as often times the recipe itself is bunk, or an important substitution had to be made by a commenter to render it edible. On smaller blog sites, I have come to notice that half the comments are from the blogger’s community who are trying to show support by commenting things like “This sure looks good, can’t wait to try it”. This is no use to a casual user whatsoever. The commenter’s intention to possibly use the recipe someday is of no value to me. The blogger should reduce or remove comments of this nature, or use a vote-up type system where they can upvote more relevant comments to the top of the thread, such as “I tried this yesterday, and I had to increase the salt, but it worked perfectly”.

In conclusion, I love Pinterest and I love being able to easily connect with food bloggers and their recipes. But with such vast amounts of content available online, any food blogger trying to reach an audience through social media should optimize their posts to make them a bit more user-friendly if they want theirs to stand out from the rest.

Photography of food

COM0011-521 Blog post #6 A visual medium

So, a few of you may know that I’m helping my friend out with her cooking show.  The idea behind it is that she takes a guest from the local music scene and cooks a dish with them using local ingredients.  I know I’ve learned a lot of tasty dishes from her.

I suppose it’s fortunate that most of her content is ready made for the internet.   ‘Foodie’ culture is huge on the internet and is usually an easy sell.  There’s even the idea that we eat with our eyes just as much as with our stomachs.  A video of a dish being made should make our eyes very hungry.

However, YouTube is huge and there are millions of competing chefs vying for your attention.  Her issue is how does she grow her brand.  What I’ve learned is to target the message so that it’s hitting the groups you want.  Your audience might not be hanging out where you expect them to be.

In her case, it would mean creating different types of visual content.  Namely she would be taking pictures of her plated dishes and posting them where they’re most popular: Pinterest.  The idea is that a lot of foodies pay a lot more attention to that type of content there.  Tumblr, with its heavy reliance on pictures is fantastic at drawing in foodies of all stripes as well.  Using those same pictures on Tumblr should work just as well.

Attracting those foodies whom interacted with Tumblr or Pinterest content would simply involve linking them to the YouTube page.  Visual content may be great for social media but you have to get your audience to know about it.

 

-Raffaele