The Curious Adoration of Mushrooms in Iceland
Mushrooms seem to have a soft spot in the hearts of Icelanders, as they are as commonly found in Icelandic in art and design as they are tasted in savory dishes. I first noticed the Icelandic appreciation of mushrooms while out exploring our neighborhood in Reykjavik the day we arrived. Around the corner from our Airbnb was a groovy mural of a mushroom, made of mushrooms, on the side of a house. A walk into town led to the discovery of cheerful red toadstools on greeting cards and nestled amongst Yule Lads in Christmas displays.
I even found an old Iceland postage stamp adorned with the yellow Lerkisveppur variety. To me, that's kind of like making mushrooms one of your national symbols!
Kitschy toadstool lamps were for sale in several Reykjavik boutiques, and I saw a few glowing in the windows of downtown houses.
On the culinary side of things, cream-based mushroom soup is very popular in Iceland. On our day spent traveling around the Golden Circle, we took a detour to visit Flúðir, known for growing mushrooms in it's greenhouses. Obviously, I wasn't leaving without trying the local fungi in a dish. The mushroom soup I had at Cafe Grund was delicious- just enough cream was added to make it velvety, but not too rich. Best of all, they offered free refills!