From Iceland — Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 9, 2014

Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 9, 2014

Published July 4, 2014

Most Awesome Letter of the Issue

Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 9, 2014

Most Awesome Letter of the Issue


I just finished reading the Grapevine’s Big Ass Bar Guide 2014 and was dismayed by the fact that there was not one big ass mentioned in any of the reviews. Must be all that low fat Skyr you eat!

Anyway I noticed that you wrote “nearly 70 downtown bars isn’t too shabby for a town of this size”. Well maybe that’s a lot by Icelandic standards but we here in Ireland like to have a drink or two now and then too you know. Dublin has close to 700 bars. Yes you say but that is like ten times the size of Reykjavik. Well okay but what about Dingle, County Kerry, population 2000 with drum roll……..52 pubs!

Google it if you don’t believe me or better still come over and I’ll show you around some of them! Anyway cheers for the bar guide. I’ll have it in my pocket in less than six weeks when I’m over there.


Greetings Emmett,

You can’t see it, but we’re shaking our big ass as we write our reply. Shaking our big ass at a happening Reykjavík club—one of our proud 70 or so bars. We looked up your little Dingle and we’re impressed, but Dingle also has a longer history of being an incorporated town than Reykjavík. Reykjavík was incorporated officially in 1786 and had a population of around 300. We’ve only had so much time to build up our drinking culture. Give us a century or so, then get back to us.

Thanks for introducing us to Dingle, by the way. Looked at the Wikipedia page. We all hope to meet Fungie the Dingle Dolphin some day, if only just to say that out loud.



Letter to the editor (Grapevine):

I am flying to Iceland in several months and assumed I would be able to find Icelandic-style yogurt like that available in Whole Foods Market in the US. I was surprised to learn from Larissa Kyzer’s article “Real sugar, new recipes, and how Finns are the real gourmands” that skyr in Iceland contains the artificial sweetener sucralose. Sucralose is an organochlorine chemical that is an unacceptable ingredient in food products sold by Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest supermarket chain specializing in natural and organic foods. Our laboratory research in animals shows that sucralose reduces beneficial microflora in the gut over a period of three months. It also modifies the expression of certain proteins that are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs. For those with a scientific bent who want more information on sucralose, the following review article (a free download) may be of interest:
Susan S. Schiffman & Kristina I. Rother (2013) Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview Of Biological Issues, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews, 16:7, 399-451.

Susan Schiffman, PhD


Thanks for the heads-up, Dr. Schiffman. We had a feeling Larissa was getting at something sinister, but this hard research seals the deal! Unfortunately, MS (producers of and KEA skyr) has a monopoly on skyr production over here. But hope is not lost! In return for your research offering, we did some research for you, and, while we don’t have a long paper with names, dates, and big words, we have reached some conclusions:

Organic dairy producer Bio-Bú makes their own skyr in three flavors: plain, vanilla, and mango. They definitely don’t add sucralose, and the mango flavor only has the natural mango sugars in it. This should be available at the grocery chain Bónus.

Erpsstaðir in Búðardalur also makes their own skyr (and ice cream too!). You can get their skyr at the organic food store Frú Lauga in Reykjavík. They only sell unsweetened, plain skyr, so you can sweeten it to your liking.

There’s always the plain MS skyrs, but to be honest, we’re pretty excited about the alternative skyr scene popping up here.
Let us know what you think! We hope it compares to traditional American Icelandic yogurt…


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