A delegation from the United States of America landed at Keflavík this week for the start of an international diplomatic mission on one of the foremost issues of the global agenda for the future of humanity. That’s right, bacon.
Members of the Iowa Bacon Board met with the Iceland Beikon Board on August 23 for the first International Bacon Summit held at Höfði, the former French consulate building where U.S. President Reagan and Soviet chief Gorbachev met for the Reykjavík Summit in 1986.
That historic meeting was anticipated to be a major turning point in bringing about the end of the Cold War, but both sides left disappointed with how little progress they had made. Twenty-six years on, these international meat-lovers hope to achieve far more.
As Iowa Bacon Board Chair Brooks Reynolds explained in a press release: “All participants have signed a preliminary agreement, promising not to leave Höfði until we drink all the Brennivín, eat all the bacon-wrapped whale meat and agree on key measures that will greatly improve the enjoyment of bacon for everyone, everywhere, all of them.”
Beikon Board head honcho Bogi Guðmundsson says he sees the summit as an opportunity “to bring a unified vision for bacon-lovers everywhere, building bridges between those who see the many possibilities of bacon.”
The Reykjavík Bacon Festival
Two days after the summit, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour will present the Reykjavík Bacon Festival, as part of its travelling bacon circus that crosses the States year after year, having rocked up at Keystone, Colorado, only last month. Their connection to Iceland is happily familial: “My brother is a cardiologist in Iowa State, and one of his friends is the brother of one of the members of the Iowa Bacon Board,” Bogi explains. “The more they discovered about the country, the more they thought, ‘We must go to Iceland!’”
Bogi says the festival will give bacon lovers the chance to try a selection of both American and Icelandic bacon, with local chefs contributing their own bacon-inspired dishes. “I don’t think we have the same variety of bacon in Iceland,” Bogi admits. “So this is a good way to introduce and import Iowan bacon.”
He describes the Iowan meat-eaters as “funny, bacon-loving guys,” with a wealth of knowledge in all things bacon, which they’ll be bringing to Saturday’s street showcase. “The Americans will be cooking a lot of the bacon; they have plenty of experience!”
He is also looking forward to trying the novel bacon-inspired dishes promised by some of the neighbourhood restaurateurs who are taking part, such as SNAPS and Fiskfélagið. But even he doesn’t quite know what culinary tricks they have up their apron sleeves: “They will surprise us!” he says excitedly.
Ultimately Bogi’s objective is simple. He wants to show the manifold possibilities of bacon and have a good time doing it: “It’s a good way to spread joy.” He is already planning to gather as many Icelanders as he can to travel to the States to join the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour next year. “We are trying to make friends in the States, so we can go over and promote Icelandic produce at their festival.”
A promising future is beckoning for Icelandic beikon this weekend.