Why Iceland is about more than kebab pizzas

I remember once seeing a kebab pizza in Iceland. (The supermarket, not the country.) An actual pizza, with kebab toppings.

I guess in my head, that’s exactly what Iceland was all about – cheap frozen food, that perhaps wasn’t the most gourmet choice going. When I told people I was working with Iceland, reactions seemed to reflect a similar sentiment – raised eyebrows, Peter André jokes, comments about having to defrost my dinner, that sort of thing.

Oh how wrong I was!

I went along last week to an event with Iceland to have a sneak preview of their new autumn collection and my MIND WAS BLOWN.

Here’s the menu, which was created for us by Iceland’s head chef Neil Nugent, all using ingredients currently available at Iceland, or coming out in the autumn:

Iceland new autumn collection

YOU SEE??

That’s not what you expect from Iceland is it? I’d never even HEARD of a deep fried avocado, let alone tried one alongside a crab taco. In fact, I didn’t even know that frozen avocado was a THING, so that was a bit of a game changer. Safe to say I was pretty excited on the train up to London, looking forward to getting my mouth around a warm Welsh cake ice cream sandwich.

I think it’s generally accepted nowadays that frozen food isn’t the evil thing we once thought it was. It’s had a bad rep in the past, but as things like frozen fruit for smoothies have grown in popularity, it seems to have dawned on us that actually there are a lot of benefits to using frozen food. It’s more convenient, often cheaper, and frozen foods don’t have to have lots of artificial ingredients added to them – the act of being frozen keeps them fresh, so they don’t need extra preservatives. It seems so obvious when you think about it – freezing is actually once of the most natural preservatives there is.

Anyway, there I was, rocking up to the super fancy Aveqia in London. You know that something’s swanky when they don’t even need a U after their Q. That’s like saying ‘guys, we are so cool that we are in charge of the alphabet, not the other way round. Remember that.’

We were ushered into a big kitchen, and sat down around large tables. The room was full of wonderful cooking smells and in one corner there was a table piled high with bread, pies and cakes, showcasing Iceland’s new luxury bread range and a selection of delicious desserts. (We got to sample the Amber Grain Crumpets, which I can thoroughly recommend.)

Iceland autumn winter range

And then, as if by magic, food starting appearing, and it kept on appearing for about two hours.

Some other guests were playing it cool, just having a little nibble of things to try them out, but if there is one thing I cannot abide it’s food waste, so obviously I had to eat everything that was put in front of me. Because I CARE about the environment guys.

We started with savoury.

It would be hard to pick a favourite as everything was genuinely so delicious, but I was rather taken with the red shrimp schnitzel, and the bonfire chicken toastie with sour cream was amazing. Head Chef Neil informed me that ‘the toastie is the new taco’, which made me feel terribly trendy, as I got a Breville toasted sandwich maker for Christmas from Bee. So far I’ve only used it to make baked bean and cheese toasties, so perhaps now I will feel inspired to branch out.

Iceland autumn winter range

Iceland autumn winter range

Iceland autumn winter range

I didn’t realise, but Iceland do a lot of unusual and exotic meats, so it was interesting to try things like the Belgian Blue steak, which was super lean and succulent. Fish is definitely something that Iceland do well too, and when you think that a lot of the supermarket ‘fresh fish’ counters actually sell fish that has been previously frozen, it makes sense to cut out that time spent on the counter and buy it frozen in the first place.

I could honestly have just stuck on the mains – I’m not sure you can have too much deep fried avocado or pickled blueberries and venison – but then puddings arrived and I quickly changed my mind.

Sicilian Lemon Tartlettes, Raspberry Tarte, Millionaires Tartlettes – what’s not to love?

The chocolate one was my favourite. I *may* have asked for seconds of that, just to make sure I had given it a proper test.

Iceland autumn winter range

And then ice creams and warm Welsh cake! If you are a peanut fan then you are going to LOVE Iceland’s new peanut butter ice cream. Oh my goodness, I could eat a big bowl of that RIGHT NOW. With just two or three casual Welsh cakes on the side. Just in case.

Iceland autumn winter range

By this point I was almost in a food induced coma. I’m actually feeling tired just writing this – clearly I’ve triggered some kind of physiological response and my body is shutting down, lest I try to fill it with tartlettes.

But just at that point where I was thinking ‘I’m actually going to have to lie down on the floor in the corner by the luxury breads’, they bought out triple dipped chocolate lollies – dark chocolate, soft caramel and then milk chocolate, all wrapped around creamy vanilla ice cream.

WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO?

I had to eat it didn’t I? Food waste remember?

And the rest of the day is a sugary blur.

Iceland autumn winter range

All of the desserts, including the ice creams, are going to be available as part of the new autumn winter range, coming into stores between 11th September and 8th October. A lot of the other items are available now though, including the crab meat, red Argentinian shrimp, venison steaks and, in selected stores, frozen avocado halves.

Minimum order value for deliveries is just £25 and this year Which? voted Iceland the UK’s number one online supermarket, so why no take a look at Iceland online now?

Who knows, you might surprise yourself.

Iceland autumn winter range

Iceland food

This post is produced in association with Iceland but everything I have said is my absolute honest opinion.

20 Comments

  1. 25 May, 2017 / 11:21 am

    Iceland is so much more than nuggets & pizzas & Neil Nugent really does show it off well. He even got me liking fish – I think it’s to do with all those little bits of greenery he puts on!
    I’ve recently seen that they do frozen avocado so I’m going to seek that out when I next pay a visit. I just can’t wait until they update the stores now 🙂

    • Jo Middleton
      25 May, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      The frozen avocado was a total revelation for me – I never even knew you COULD freeze it!

      • 25 May, 2017 / 1:24 pm

        me neither! I saw it online & desperately need it now. saves all that ‘is it ripe, is it not ripe, is it overripe’ hassle!

        • Jo Middleton
          25 May, 2017 / 2:33 pm

          And it could be the end to the ‘avocado hand’ crisis!

  2. 25 May, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I completely agree with you – Iceland is brilliant. It has totally upped its game in recent years and now I make a special trip to visit the store. A brand new superstore has opened near me too making it even easier!
    For me the turning point in my perception was when they started doing Slimming World meals, I went in to buy those and saw that they actually work with a lot of brands, including Greggs for their famous sausage rolls which my kids love! Now they do summer BBQ stuff too including maple pork steaks – yum! It’s worth a new look if you have not been in a store recently.
    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill recently posted…GroundedMy Profile

    • Jo Middleton
      25 May, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Ah yes, they do a lot of Slimming World meals don’t they? I feel really stupid that I never knew they delivered!! I love the fact that their minimum order is so low too.

      • 25 May, 2017 / 4:51 pm

        I have never used their delivery I have to say, but I don’t usually get £25 worth in one go! I tend to spend around £15 a time so I like to browse!
        JuggleMum, Nadine Hill recently posted…GroundedMy Profile

  3. 25 May, 2017 / 2:08 pm

    What an eye opener. I can see your kebab pizza and raise you a Chicken Tikka Lasagne. I don’t know if Iceland still sell these but they definitely used to! This lot looks lush though and frozen avo is so clever.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 May, 2017 / 2:33 pm

      Oh wow, I actually quite want a chicken tikka lasagne! I did once make a lasagne that had spicy chicken instead of mince, and then tortilla instead of pasta – that was pretty tasty!

  4. Michelle
    Twitter:
    25 May, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    My OH can confirm that the kebab pizza was actually nice (and he’s sad they don’t make it any more), but yes, I get a delivery from Iceland every week. Not as my main shop, in addition to, because they do have some good and innovative foods there. The Slimming World meals are nice, as others have said. Their own brand curries are easily on a par with other supermarkets. Our current favourite is the Hot and Spicy Chicken fillets – which we use to recreate a certain fast food chain’s spicy chicken burger.

    • Jo Middleton
      26 May, 2017 / 10:16 am

      No way! I didn’t imagine it then! (I did secretly think it sounded pretty ace.)

  5. Kathryn Hipkin
    25 May, 2017 / 10:39 pm

    I think Iceland’s great, do loads of food shopping for Xmas there.
    My mum loves it too, because you can go to the store, pick what you want and then they deliver it, which is a much beter way for older people who are a bit nervous of going online.
    Only thing is, the new Iceland superstore up the road don’t actually DO home delivery, so hope that isn’t rolled out to all Iceland shops.
    The new food sounds great too.

    • Jo Middleton
      26 May, 2017 / 10:14 am

      I like the thing they do too where you can shop instore but then have it delivered – that’s very cool.

  6. Toni
    Twitter:
    26 May, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I actually love Iceland and I think it has gained a little bit of an unfair reputation in recent years. I’ve heard a lot of people turning their nose up at Iceland and I’ve even heard – and I quote – “could you imagine, some people actually have parties with this food?! I don’t know what I would do if I went to a party and they brought out Iceland food” – but my favourite part of Christmas is the Christmas Eve Iceland Buffet my mum does! I’m really looking forward to it this year if all these tasty treats are going to be on the menu!

  7. 26 May, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    I’m not keen in Iceland. Or it may be due to the type of clientelle that frequent our local branch. I avoid at all costs

    • Jo Middleton
      26 May, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      You need the home delivery option Daniel 😉

  8. 26 May, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Iceland lately! Especially their sweet potato chips! I need to check them out! Xo

  9. 27 May, 2017 / 8:01 am

    Wow, I was so surprised reading that menu! Definitely not what I imagined from Iceland. It’s made me want to go and have a browse in our local branch now – LOVE the sound of deep fried avocado.

  10. 27 May, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    This is very interesting as I really didn’t know they offered such variety and interesting dishes plus home delivery! I have to be honest and say I have very rarely shopped at Iceland – it’s been a few years since I have bene in one but I am certainly inspired and intrigued by this post to go and check my local one out

    Laura x

  11. 26 July, 2017 / 3:59 am

    Iceland has many delicious dishes, I also like chocolate and cream or cake with chocolate flavor. When I have the opportunity to come to Iceland I surely enjoy these dish. Thanks for sharing your experience about Iceland.

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