Iceland, Day 1, Part II: A Trip to Bonus, and the First Taste of Skyr
This entry originally took place on April 18 during my trip to Iceland from the 18 to 24.
After our first meal in Iceland, we went to our first supermarket in Iceland: Bónus, or the supermarket with the curiously drunk-looking piggy bank mascot. Maybe it just gets that smirk on its face and lolls its eyes in opposite directions when you shove coins into its back. And since Bónus sells things at such low prices, you're always feeding it money. And so it always looks a little insane, like that estranged relative that no one really talks to.
Yup, I love that pig.
Because I'm fascinated by supermarkets outside of the US, here's my little tour of Bónus.
Lots of bread. For all those open faced sandwiches.
And bread sliced the other way, for all those...really long open faced sandwiches? Seriously, I don't know. We had never seen bread sliced this way before.
And lots of flat bread! For I don't really know what.
And lots of chocolate, bulk and not.
And then there was that wall of mayonnaise and mayo-based sauces in the refrigerated room. Holy. Crap. Tubs. Beyond tubs. There were even a few jars of Hellman's looking neglected on a separate shelf, but in Iceland its all about the local brands.
Even more exciting was the wall of skyr, or Icelandic-style yogurt that is technically a soft cheese, which makes for a very thick, creamy, yogurt-like product. Just like a gazillion people told me before I went to Iceland, it's awesome stuff that puts most yogurts to shame. God knows why more people aren't making it over here. The only local maker I can think of is Siggy's Skyr, which, considering their url is skyr.com, tells you there isn't much competition. As I missed my favorite yogurt from Paris, I now miss skyr. Skyr.is says they're available at Whole Foods, but I haven't noticed it yet (I have seen Siggi's at Whole Foods). I'll have to double check. Even if it is, it won't be as cheap; Bónus was selling containers of Skyr.is for about 75 cents.
Lots of Icelandic packaging had simple, bold designs, such as this orange juice.
And this yogurt.
And this milk.
And this chocolate milk, Kókómjólk. ...Okay, that isn't the most appealing anthropomorphic cat thing I've ever seen, but it seems to do fine with the Icelanders. I couldn't tell if there was another brand of chocolate milk; this was the only one I noticed. Probably because of the unnaturally hued cat man who appears to put in a lot of time at the gym.
Moving onto the meat, there are huge chunks of frozen lamb parts.
And through the doors of the refrigerated non-frozen meat section, there's...
...YUP there it is.
...a lot of meat.
Such as this wall of hot dogs (pylsur). Hot dogs are popular in Iceland, and as far as I can tell, most Nordic countries.
I took this photo just so I could figure out what it was later. Giant brown vacuum packed nubs = blood sausage.
Can't forget about the candy section. Even though I don't eat much candy in the US, I love looking at foreign ones and trying new things. Unless it has licorice in it, aka black goo that makes my taste buds recoil and possibly triggers a regurgitative response. My distaste for licorice shows that there is obviously no Scandinavian blood in my system. I made sure to read labels and avoid anything with the word "lakkris" (licorice) in its list of ingredients. Chocolate bars and whatnot seemed to mostly involve (aside from chocolate and licorice) wafers and puffed rice. Chocolate covered raisins also seemed to be quite popular.
We left the supermarket only because it was closing. Make sure to get all your shopping done before 6 p.m. There's a 24-hour 10-11 in downtown Reykjavik, but it's not nearly as awesome as Bónus.
Our final stash consisted of juice, bread, fruit, eggs, tea (which we ended up not needing because there was already tea in the cupboard), a variety of skyr and yogurt, cookies, ham, and little blocks of butter which were perfectly suited for our short stay.
Of course, the first thing we went for was the skyr. Greg cracked open a container of vanilla flavored while I went for strawberry. Each six ounce container came with a little folded spoon tucked into a notch in the lid for ease of skyr consumption. All that time you would've wasted looking for a spoon? ELIMINATED. While not necessary, it made the skyr-eating experience even awesomer. And the spoon was adorable.
Oh, delicious plop.
Thick, creamy, tart, and sweet, it's everything I want in a yogurt but isn't...yogurt. You could eat it for breakfast or a post-dinner dessert, the vanilla flavor in particular. The texture is so rich that half a container was enough to satiate me; I just saved the other half for later. Now if only I could try some frozen skyr...