For many of us, food and travel are kindred spirits which haven’t been accessible this past year for obvious reasons. But to travel, to have an authentic experience, one must eat the local cuisine at the heart of culture. I was skimming through old content and happened to find this piece I’d written five years ago. Oh, how much has changed in my life, and the entire world, in five short years. But does the list hold true? What do you think, do the Faroe Islands still deserve a spot? Let’s step back in time and see where we’ll be adventuring.
Oh, also, enjoy this picture of one of the Islands’ most famous residents, the adorable and quite quirky puffin!
There has been a lot of hype over the Jan. 9 release of The New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2015.” I must been having some sortof destination-karma with the Times travel department as I have an interesting relationship with so many of the cities on this list. 52 Places to Go is filled with very exciting, some obvious, some not-so-obvious, special destinations. Let’s start with some of my favorites on the list, 1. Milan (probably won’t be #1 in the post-COVID world) and 48. Rome. I am Italian-American and love Italy with my whole being; after living there you will never want to leave. Everyone should go and stay for at least two weeks, just to get to know La Dolce Vita. Milan is incredible and the Duomo is architectural artistry. With that said I would have inverted Milan and Rome, because Rome may in fact be the greatest city in all of Italy. One drive along via Appia and I know you’ll agree…say it with me, seppia ink pasta.
Next there was 3. Philadelphia. I am from south Jersey so Philadelphia is basically my home town (and no not Pats or Genos, go to Tony Luke’s for an epic cheesesteak). And 21. Cleveland, Ohio, both my parents and almost my entire family are either from Cleveland or still living there. Cleveland is made up of quality mid-western people with immigrant roots. In other words Cleveland is a great place to go for an Italian market or Jewish deli.
And at 2. Cuba, my college roommate comes to mind and the homemade plantains sent to us monthly from her Cuban-born mother.
BUT here is the one that gets me, 9: Faroe Islands.
Most of you probably don’t follow me on Instagram as I really just use it for fashion, but if you’re interested go ahead and find me: thecheekygenova. Anyway, I had posted a couple pictures of the Faroe Islands (mind you this was five years ago, so you’ll be scrolling for a bit) before reading the Times list. I was thrilled to see these islands I was not alone in lusting to see, these distant little diamonds in the heart of the sea. The Faroe Islands are a pretty small autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, an extreme foil to the #2 hot and sunny Cuba. They are remote, cool if not cold, windy, and cloudy. Despite the gloomy weather, they have an incredible beauty all their own. The cliché sight of sheep on the mountain top could not be any more accurate. A plain cottage in the middle of a field of green. Then there is Ólavsøka, the annual celebration of Saint Olaf. OLAF, I mean could they be any more Scandinavian, or Disney for that matter. But my fascination with the Faroe Islands moves far beyond the aesthetic appeal and rich Nordic culture.
I am a foodie and the current hot spot for international cuisine is Scandinavia. In fact, the 1. Ranking restaurant in the world as ranked by the renowned “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” (again, 2015) is Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Four other Scandinavian restaurants ended up in the top 50, making me wonder, what have I been missing all these years? Times writer David Shaftel wrote the piece on the Faroe Islands which only made the island seem a bit more tantalizing. “The Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the North Atlantic, has emerged in the last five years as possibly the most secluded destination for avant-garde food.” WARNING: you will not go to the Faroe Islands and be noshing on pasta and meatballs or a food truck gyro (I mean I am sure there are some, but that isn’t what all the hype is about.) Faroese ingredients include dried mutton (in fact dried everything), whale blubber, puffins, and the occasional fish and chips. With that said, what you will eat in the Faroe Islands will awaken your palette and challenge your taste buds. Koks, the restaurant featured in the Times piece is at the forefront of new Nordic cuisine. Taken from Koks website “Its cuisine is earthy and refined, ancient and modern. Instead of the new, it emphasizes the old (drying, fermenting, pickling, curing, smoking) and seeks to return to Earth’s own ecological balance. At Koks the cuisine is about seasonality, seriously engaging with agriculture and history, and making age-old food delightful to modern palates.” (“Press Release New Menus.” http://www.koks.fu. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.)