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Babymoon during pandemic: Quarantine / rural food options? What to bring / buy at grocery store?

My husband and I are planning a pandemic babymoon in Iceland in early June. We are both vaccinated. We'll be spending time in Reykjavik, Southeast, South Coast, Westman Islands, and Reykjanes. I have a few food-related questions:

  1. Especially in the Southeast, South Coast, and Westman Islands, a lot of the restaurants listed in the Rick Steves guidebook (or even TripAdvisor or Google Maps) are closed or have limited hours due to the pandemic. I am thinking of going to grocery stores like Bonus and Kronan in Reykjavik before hitting the road. Having never been to an Icelandic grocery store before, what food do you recommend we buy for the road trip? For example, is Icelandic dairy products (skyr, cheese, milk, etc.) mostly pasteurized? Are Icelandic cold cuts and smoked fish ok to eat during pregnancy (American OBGYNs say no cold cuts or smoked fish, UK NHS say they're fine)? And overall, how limited are the rural food options right now during the pandemic?

  2. Based on current travel requirements, even though we're vaccinated, it sounds like we need to take (and pass) covid tests upon arrival, and will have to quarantine while we wait for test results. What food options are there while we wait for test results? Or should I plan to bring food from home to Iceland in case we have to wait a while? What food do they allow / not allow inbound?

  3. Our one splurge meal at the end of the trip is a tasting menu at the Moss Restaurant. How flexible are Icelandic chefs with tasting menus when it comes to pregnancy food restrictions? Would they be offended if I'm not allowed to eat raw fish, undercooked meat and eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products?

I've never been a picky eater especially when I travel (bring on the haggis, durian, and scrapple) but between the pandemic and pregnancy, thanks in advance for your tips and suggestions!

Posted by
2083 posts

For example, is Icelandic dairy products (skyr, cheese, milk, etc.)
mostly pasteurized?

As far as I know, they are all pasteurised.

Are Icelandic cold cuts and smoked fish ok to eat during pregnancy
(American OBGYNs say no cold cuts or smoked fish, UK NHS say they're
fine)?

That sounds like a question you should ask a doctor and not random people on the internet.

Posted by
9621 posts

I have been to Iceland a few times.

Please put the guidebooks aside as they have been written months ago and things change on a daily basis. Use the internet for up to date information. Iceland is opening up so restaurants that may have closed may be back in early June.

You will be shocked when you go into shops like Bonus because you will recognize many of the brands. (They even carry Hellman's mayonaisse.) Dairy products are pasteurized and safe. Many also have pre-prepared salads and sandwiches. The quality of these are excellent because they don' use preservatives and chemicals like in the U.S. . I think you will find the same for cold cuts. If you are looking for something in particular or need help with a label, ask. Most speak English.

Reports about "quarantine" after testing say you will get results in a few hours. If you need a snack you can bring it or just buy something upon arrival.

If you are concerned about that final meal, why not e-mail the restaurant and ask. Again, they probably speak English.

Another tip is to download Google Translate. You can point it at a lable using your camera and the translation will show up on the screen. It's not perfect but works well.

Posted by
7526 posts

Check with your doc, but the problem with coldcuts is the added nitrates and the length of time between slicing and ingestion. Nitrates are added in many countries, though I've seen "no added nitrates" versions in Europe, as in the US. The other problem would be a cut meat surface that is not reheated to kill bacteria. Your doctor could tell you if freshly cut cold cuts are ok.

Posted by
83 posts

Nitrates etc are not the main medical concern for cold cuts and pregnancy, Listeria is. If you microwave any meat it would be fine, Listeria won't survive a good nuking ;)
As far as smoked salmon etc, it's entirely up to you, talk to your doctor. People are often concerned with raw/ undercooked seafood and food born illness. Most cases of food born illness and seafood is from mussels, not sushi or smoked fish. If it is prepared in a clean kitchen and handled appropriately, it'll probably be perfectly safe, but that is entirely your decision.

Posted by
1682 posts

I am not doctor but watch medical TV. Do not eat raw seafood. Some sushi give you worms I know it is not fun haha.

New rules for test/vaccine next week. Keep eye on covid.is. I hope for you no test so you do not stay in hotel room most of the day.