Happiness is hot soup on a cold day

With the exception of a good cuddle, a creamy hot chocolate or being burrito-wrapped in my down comforter, there are few things I find more comforting or instantly gratifying than hot soup when it’s cold outside. I feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.  (Also because New York is pretty chilly right now and I want all of the above.)

In Iceland, where it was frigid every single day we were there (not that I was expecting any different), I probably had soup at least twice a day. Those Icelanders, man, they really know what they’re doing in that department! Below, the highlights of my soup-centric week.

The famous lobster soup at Saegreifinn

At the top of my things-I-MUST-eat-in-Iceland list was the humarsupa, or lobster soup, at Saegreifinn.  The tiny restaurant/fish shack in Reykjavik’s old harbor was supposed to have some of the best lobster soup in town, so the first night we were there, my sister and I made it a point to have it. I can’t say I tried lots of other lobster soups, but I didn’t need to because this one won my vote. Sweet and velvety without being cream-heavy or goopy, it had just the right amount of  fat hunks of sweet lobster meat. My only regret: not going back for more every single day. 

Staying warm in a greenhouse with hot tomato soup

During a visit to the Friðheimar greenhouse, we learned about how the nice folks there grow beautiful, fat, pesticide-free, organic tomatoes. And while learning about that process was interesting and inspiring, far and away my favorite part was getting to drink some of the tomato soup made from the tomatoes grown just a few feet away. Unlike the heavy, pasta sauce like tomato soups I’ve had at home, this one was lighter, brighter and sweeter. Add a warm piece of garlicky, pumpkin seed-flecked bread and fresh herbs (that you could snip for yourself right at the table!) and it doesn’t get better than this.

Traditional icelandic fish soup…  a delicious tradition

Usually, I wouldn’t expect great food at a visitor center/gift shop/rest area but that’s exactly where I had this traditional icelandic fish soup, and let me tell you, it blew my socks off. Just outside the geyser area home to the original geyser (aka The Great Geysir), this one-stop-shop catering mostly just to tourists serves up a ridiculously good soup that was creamy and buttery but not heavy and was chock-full of vegetables and different kinds of tender, white fish. (Possibly cod or haddock among others, but really I hoovered it down too fast to analyze much better.)

Butternut squash soup… it’s like a good, solid hug for your stomach

One of the things I loved about Kex, where we stayed, was the awesome food they served at Sæmundur, the hostel’s hipster gastropub where I had this creamy, thick butternut squash soup with cream and bacon chunks. Really, it doesn’t get more comforting than this soup. This soup would be perfect for Thanksgiving or really any other day in fall or winter (or spring or summer if you crank up the AC the way I like to).

The Blue Lagoon: an incredible spa with an incredible seafood soup

Finally, one of the best meals I had in Iceland was at perhaps my favorite place visited in the country, the mind-blowingly beautiful, ridiculously awesome geothermal spa, the  Blue Lagoon. I had a really phenomenal three course lunch at LAVA, the spa’s sit-down restaurant, but my favorite part was the seafood soup appetizer, a rich soup made with shrimp and lobster (which in Iceland is really more of a langoustine and less like the fat lobsters we know in the States) in a buttery, perfectly spiced cream base.

As I sit here under a throw blanket on the couch, a bit cold from possibly having broken the dial on my heater (just in time for another storm that might bring snow with it), I would love nothing more (well, with the exception of maybe that cuddle, hot chocolate or the down comforter I’m too lazy to get up and grab) than to have a giant bowl of any one of these soups. Mmmmm…


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