Valdis (Reykjavik, Iceland)

One of the little details I like about eating in Iceland is that the dairy products are fantastic. On our main visit to Iceland in 2012, we discovered Brynja in Akureyri, which serves up some most splendid and flavorful vanilla soft-serve that’s got a nice, earthy richness of flavor. And probably much to the chagrin of my doctor, most every breakfast had me eating Skyr or schmearing a good half-inch thick layer of Smjor (Iceland’s major brand of butter) over some rye bread. I’m told it’s from the cows eating grass grown on highly volcanic soil that gives the milk and dairy products a lot more flavor. So when we heard that over on the west side of town was a new-ish ice cream place that people were raving out, we had to just set out and find it. Thus, we found ourselves in a weird little industrial area just west of Reykjavik’s harbor, which consists of all sorts of little garage-like bays. Some of these are now art boutiques. A few are restaurants. And one held ice cream: Valdis.

So we wandered in, and found that, while somewhat minimalist and functional in layout, Valdis has rather an impressive selection of flavors (hard ice cream, unlike the soft ice cream we had experienced at Brynja in Akureyri). I soon found myself staring at a surprisingly large cone of walnut and chocolate ice cream, and I’ll have to say, both flavors were good. The walnut had some nice strong bitter walnut notes and some seriously big chunks of walnut hiding in the ice cream. The chocolate was closer to dark chocolate in flavor, with some nice bold notes. And both had that same wonderful earthiness I remember from Brynja’s ice cream.

Carol was a bit bolder in her selection, having salted caramel vanilla, chocolate, and licorice. The salted caramel vanilla was a nice robust vanilla with a solid streak of smooth and salty caramel. The chocolate matched mine, and then for extra effect she got just a small scoop of their licorice. This was hard-core licorice, done up Finnish salmiakki style: bold licorice notes with more than a little bit of salt. Bold, but tasty.

Overall, I’m pleased we decided to walk over and check out Valdis: they are simple, affordable, and producing some really good ice cream that highlight’s Iceland’s wonderful dairy products. I’d love to return for another visit.

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