Ain't no better way to start the day than with a blood sugar spike! And that is why I was so happy that just up the street from our hotel was Sandholt Bakery, one of the oldest (or perhaps the oldest?) bakeries in Reykjavik, opened and family-operated since 1920. Many pastries were recognizable as French, while others looked familiar, but not quite. Here's a pictorial tour of the goods.
Huge-ass rolled-up bready buns called snúður slathered with chocolate or toffee icing, doughnuts, and chocolate-dipped puffed rice treats.
Macarons! Passion fruit! To be exact!
Lots of golden flaky goodies.
Including light, plump croissants.
Danishes, or vínarbrauð, one of the most popular items in the bakery.
Scones/biscuits, or skonsur, filled with cinnamon chips.
Sandholt isn't just a bakery, but a chocolatier as well.
Alas, I didn't try any of their chocolate-enrobed goodies. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Actually, Sandholt is even more than that—it's a homemade bakery/chocolatier/ice cream shop. Are you in love yet? Because you should be.
I ordered way more than Greg, Diana, and I could (or should) eat for breakfast. But that's how it goes when you want to try a bunch of things and you don't have much time to do it in. Just shove it all into one go! One bloated go.
The toffee-coated bun with cinnamon-filled crevices was about as large as my head. The large size lent itself to what felt like a heavy pastry, but the texture was actually fluffier and lighter than it looked. Overall, a tasty, not overly sweet breakfast treat...best shared between four people.
I don't recall much about the cinnamon chip scone, which probably means that it was good, just not in the "OMG, GIMME MORE" sense. It was of the tender, crumbly, very lightly sweetened sort. Maybe it would've been better if I could've smothered it with butter or clotted cream...
I liked the croissant, even if it lacked that initial cronch and explosion of crust shards that follows when your teeth pierce through the stack of thin buttery layers. It was crusty enough with soft, holey innards, and a slightly sweet, buttery taste.
The passion fruit macaron was a bit too sweet for my tastes (that happens a lot), but for a country where I doubt many places offer macarons, they were good. Slight crust on the outside and soft on the inside.
My favorite of the bunch was the Danish. Growing up, I was never fond of Danishes; American versions are generally filled with a sort of sweet cheese and/or fruity goo that doesn't appeal to me (at least, the generic ones). But Sandholt's version, which I figure is more like the kind you would find in Denmark, spared me of fruit. The thin, buttery, layered pastry was topped with custard and chocolate and—this is the best part—filled with marzipan. It's nutty custardy chocolaty buttery goodness,
During our carb-loaded meal we talked to two incredibly sweet young women who work there, Tamara and Andrea. Neither of them is Icelandic; Tamara is from Ecuador and Andrea is from France. If you see them when you visit Sandholt, say hello! Maybe they'll let you take a look inside the kitchen like they did for us.
Some super old ovens over there.
Some baking tools over there.
And a workstation over there.
And chocolate macarons in the making!