Cod from Iceland in focus at Barcelona culture festival
Reykjavík and Iceland were in the limelight at the La Mercé culture festival in Barcelona, Spain, September 22-25, during which two million people attended 600 events around the city. Therefore, throughout September, Promote Iceland organised an extensive presentation of Icelandic cod – the project is called “Bacalao de Islandia” – as well as a presentation of the country as a tourist destination, as part of the Inspired by Iceland marketing initiative.
For the past four years, Promote Iceland in partnership with producers and exporters of cod have been running a marketing project in Spain, Portugal and Italy with the slogan “Taste and share the secrets of cod (bacalao) from Iceland”. The goal is to further strengthen Iceland’s image as the country of origin for quality products.
Therefore, the travelling Little Red Kitchen (Eldhús), was moved to Parc Ciutadella, one of the main venues at La Mercé, where people could learn about and taste delicious dishes made from salted cod. The cod was also on the menu at 14 restaurants in the vicinity, as part of the project “Islandia al Plat”.
Islandia al Plat – the secret of Iceland's cod
During La Mercé, Bacalao de Islandia and DAMM brewery in Barcelona collaborated on a Islandia al Plat. Fourteen restaurants near Parc Ciutadella served dishes made from "Bacalao de Islandia" complemented with DAMM’s Inedit beer for 5 Euros only. The goal was to give guests a chance to taste and then share their experiences on social media. Those who shared photos on Facebook could win a trip to Iceland.
Also as part of the Islandia al Plat project, media representatives were invited to one of the participating restaurants on September 14, where the project was introduced. They learnt about Icelandic fish, Iceland, fisheries management, fish processing and how communities in fishing villages all around the country work together on supplying quality products for Spanish consumers. Journalists could taste dishes prepared by all 14 participating restaurants and then cast their vote for the best one. The top chef won a trip to Iceland and can visit the country from where the fish originates. The prize is part of the initiative to recruit spokespeople for Icelandic fish among chefs in its main markets.
Media coverage about Iceland and Icelandic products which sprung from the Islandia al Plat project is extremely valuable. In addition, the La Mercé festival effectively promoted the City of Reykjavík as a partner with a number of Iceland-themed cultural events being on offer during the festival days.
The Little Red Kitchen – centre of attention
During La Mercé, the Eldhús at Parc Ciutadella served as Promote Iceland’s “headquarters” and has previously served the same purpose in other countries. There, visitors could learn about Iceland and the famous “Bacalao de Islandia”. The atmosphere at the Eldhús was cosy, similar as inside an Icelandic home, creating an interesting contrast with the hustle and bustle of Barcelona.
Visitors could participate in games on social media. Among prizes was a shirt with Icelandic footballer Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen’s name. Eiður used to play for FC Barcelona, where he rose to esteem, and there was great interest in the shirt.
Local radio station RAC1 has an afternoon programme called “Islandia” (“Iceland”), during which representatives of Promote Iceland were interviewed. Listeners, who number around 158,000 a day, were invited to drop by The Little Red Kitchen and taste Icelandic fish.
Promotional material about the cod and Iceland as a tourist destination was distributed and Promote Iceland’s representatives chatted with visitors. Mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson and Icelandic Ambassador to Spain Kristján Andri Stefánsson were among those who participated in the programme.