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Harboring the Homegrown

Magazine

Harboring the Homegrown

Iceland Review took a trip to Höfn, the largest town in Southeast Iceland and self-proclaimed ‘Lobster Capital of the North,’ to learn about the community’s local attractions and delicacies.

Published in the 2013 June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13. By Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

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The road to Höfn, a 1,690-person harbor town by the fjord Hornafjörður, is lined with reindeer. Whole herds of the wild horned animals rest peacefully on withered pastures, grace next to sheep and horses and bounce along the road. Reindeer are a common sight in the lowlands of Southeast Iceland in winter and spring but when summer arrives and the hunting season begins they move on to the eastern highlands. Soon, Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and the region’s biggest attraction, comes into view. Looming over Höfn, its outlet glaciers flow down from the mountains on which the bright white icecap rests.

Lure of Lobster

Caught off the country’s southern shore and served at five different restaurants in town, lobster, or langoustine, is quickly becoming one of Höfn’s major attractions. “We’ve experienced a significant increase in off-season tourists,” says Ingólfur Einarsson, master chef and owner of restaurant Kaffi Hornið. He serves a variety of lobster dishes, including lobster pizza, with the classic lobster tails with garlic and butter being the most popular. “Some of our guests don’t even look at the menu, just order: ‘lobster for five,’” says Ingólfur. Another popular choice is the reindeer burger. Ingólfur hunts reindeer himself and has the meat processed at the local slaughterhouse.

Tourism is growing in Höfn but fishing is by far its largest industry. Skinney-Þinganes, the seventh largest fisheries company in the country with a turnover of more than ISK 10 billion (USD 82 million), according to the latest figures, is the town’s biggest employer with a staff of 110 to 130 on land and a crew of 90 on seven fishing vessels. In addition to lobster, the company’s most valuable product per kilo, Skinney-Þinganes catches and processes cod, haddock, capelin, mackerel and herring, the vast majority of which is exported.

You can read the remainder of this article in the June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13.

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