Published March 31, 2010
A group of Icelandic chefs this week offered customers a unique gastronomical experience: a gourmet meal cooked over hot lava and served near an ongoing volcanic eruption, one of the chefs said Wednesday.
"My philosophy is that if someone says that something is impossible, I feel the urge to try it," Fridgeir Eiriksson told AFP.
When Eiriksson heard about the eruption at the Fimmvorduhals volcano in the middle of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in southern Iceland on March 21, he began planning to "cook a delicious dinner at the volcano."
On Tuesday, Eiriksson and three colleagues at the gourmet restaurant of Reykjavik’s luxury hotel Holt drove supplies and "lots of champagne" up to the foot of the mountain in two four-wheel-drive trucks.
They set up a make-shift dining area near a lava field with a red carpet, a small table and two bolstered chairs for a couple of restaurant regulars flown up by helicopter.
"We did not know what to expect when we would approach the volcano, so we brought welder masks and gloves since we wanted to cook the food on the lava itself," Eiriksson said.
"We did not use any of the gear since we were never dangerously close to the glowing lava, but it was hot around the lava field and we even had to take off our winter coats when we started cooking on the lava itself," he added.
With wind-chill, temperatures at the mountain have in recent days dropped as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit), and despite the glowing fresh lava around them, the diners remained bundled up throughout the meal.
On the menu: lobster soup, followed by flaming lobster and monkfish and lava-cooked shallot onions, washed down with Veuve Clicquot champagne.
The chefs had intended to exclusively serve their two customers, who each shelled out around 60,000 kronur ($470) for the helicopter trip and meal, but they also wound up offering some curious tourists a taste of the lava-cooked food, Eiriksson said.
The chefs have not planned any more volcanic cooking expeditions, but Eiriksson said a Hollywood television producer had called to ask if they would give a repeat performance.