Friday, January 7, 2011

Ice hotel vacation 2011 (Part 1 of 3): Food at the ends of the earth

We have mainly traveled on a single longitude, starting in Cape Town as the most southern part and recently visited Jukkasjärvi 200 km north of the arctic circle. This means that we have eaten quite a lot on this line across the earth and a number of restaurants that we can recommend are: LaMadeleine (Pretoria-SA), The Odd Plate (Centurion-SA), Gondolen (Stockholm-Sweden). (Although we have visited a number of other countries, the list is biased towards where we spent most of our lives thus far, i.e. South Africa and Sweden)

As mentioned, we just returned from a vacation in Jukkasjärvi where the Ice Hotel is located. Here, almost at the end of the earth, we found two restaurants that may be the best restaurants that we have eaten at. The one is the Ice Hotel's main restaurant located across the road from the hotel itself. The second is the Old Homestead, also associated with the Ice Hotel (which is located a chilling 15 minutes walk from the hotel). Both of these restaurants can be added to the list, maybe at the top.

A lot of the dishes are made from local produce and we can recommend the following:

Topside of reindeer with potato cake (Ice Hotel restaurant): The reindeer was cooked to perfection. Soft as butter inside, tasting like the essence of meatiness. The potato cake were also very good with layers of creamy buttery potato.  

Creamy potato soup with truffle and Shiitake mushrooms (Ice Hotel restaurant): The creamy but almost neutral taste of the potato soup cause the flavors of the truffles explode in your mouth and are complimented by the mushrooms.

Elk cheese ice cream with cloudberry doughnut (Ice Hotel restaurant):  The dish is served on an ice plate, as many of the dishes in both Ice Hotel restaurants are (see picture below). The name of the dish sounds a bit confusing but I just had to taste it. The ice cream was fantastic. It tasted like a creamy cheese cake crossed with rich ice cream. Cloudberries are bright orange berries and is a valued source of vitamins in these parts therefore their nickname "gold of the north". The cloudberry doughnut was very tasty as well.
(Important note: do not remove the paper napkin under the ice as this will result in chasing your desert bowl containing the last bit of ice-cream on the smooth, wet porcelain plate)

Blue-ice diamond cocktail (Ice Hotel restaurant): This beautiful cocktail had a huge diamond shaped ice rock from the crystal clear local Torne river (from which the Ice Hotel are built) inside.

Baked Getost (goats cheese) and mushrooms on toast with lingonberry (Homestead restaurant): Best starter we ever had. This really was a dream dish.

These are just a few of the excellent courses we had.

We should also mention that the Absolut Ice bar in the Ice Hotel is well worth a visit when traveling across the arctic circle. We had a blue and red cocktails served in glasses also made from the Torne river ice (below are a few pictures of the bar and our drinks).

 Quite cozy sitting on reindeer skins.

 Note while the outer mitten has been removed the hand is still gloved.

 Testing: at -5 your tongue does not stick to the ice.

 *This is a special food filled Friday edition since it concerns the bestest food we have tasted. We hope to find more such restaurants. However if anyone can make the journey to the Ice Hotel we strongly recommend a visit to these restaurants.

Keep your eyes open for our next two posts with more stories about our adventures in Jukkasjärvi and how we survived the coldest days of our lives…


1 comment:

  1. Good to find your blog, my wife and I travel to the Ice Hotel next month for three days. The accounts and videos you provide are very useful, thank you.