A dip in the blue lagoon, a bite of fermented shark and a spoon of skyr are on the 'must do' list for most visitors to Iceland, but how about sipping on "probably the best bloody mary in the world," (according to The Guardian) inside an enormous tomato growing greenhouse?
Some 30 kilometres from Reykjavik, stands Friðheimar, the geothermal greenhouse that allows visitors to drink and dine amongst the tomato plants, year round, from a menu that champions the homegrown produce on the tomato–centric menu (see below).
In a literal take on the 'field to table' philosophy the environmentally sound heated glasshouse has become a an increasingly popular stop off on the tourist trail of the Golden Circle (a popular route taking in some of Iceland's most spectacular scenery), with even the Kardashians making a visit on a recent trip according to Iceland Magazine.
Stretching to roughly the size of a football pitch at 5000m² under glass, the tomatoes are grown in a volcanic medium in place of soil, and 600 bumble bees imported from Holland take care of pollination. Four different varieties of tomato are cultivated in the greenhouse, including plum tomatoes, Flavorino cocktail tomatoes and the delicious Piccolo tomato.
In a country with a climate not traditionally suited to growing tomatoes, the year round prospect of delicious juicy, locally grown tomatoes has become a popular choice, and if the comments from visitors on TripAdvisor count, they make for a mighty tasty tomato soup.
In some other strange food growing trivia, Iceland is also home to the largest banana plantation in Europe, according to Iceland Magazine.
The one and only Friðheimar Tomato Soup served on a buffet with sour cream, home baked bread, cucumber salsa, butter and fresh herbs.
Fresh pasta - Tortellone with home made pasta sauce and pesto.
Grilled Tortillas with tomato, basil and Mozzarella.
Desserts and treats
Green-tomato and apple pie à la Friðheimar with whipped cream
Home made tomato ice cream à la Friðheimar
Mouthwatering cheesecake with jam of green-tomato, cinnamon and lime
Tomato schnapps – a hollow tomato filled with Icelandic Birch schnapps
Virgin Mary – a home made fresh tomato drink made from well riped tomatoes
Bloody Mary – now is the best time of the day for a Bloody Mary!
Home made tomato drink with vodka and a drop of Tabasco
Healthy Mary – our newest drink, made from green tomato, lime, honey and ginger, served chilled with sparkling water
Happy Mary – here we take our green tomatoes to a new level: One part Hendrik's Gin, two parts Healthy Mary and glass filled up with Bitter Lemon
Gin & tonic – Hendrik's gin with tonic and cucumber
Bláskógabyggð IS-801 Selfoss
Try making Mario Batali's gourmet tomato soup - recipe here