Narsaq is a typical, quite picturesque town in South-Greenland with around 1,600 residents who live mostly from fishing and tourism. Colorful houses, a busy harbour below, icebergs floating around in the steel blue waters of the bay and even two large supermarkets in the city centre, which is a luxury in Greenland. Also exceptional in this corner of the world: Inuili, the only hotel school in Greenland. In the south of Greenland everything grows, blooms and grazes more easily, so it makes sense that the school is located here, surrounded by almost all of the 52 registered Greenlandic farmers in the country.
Narsaq is the perfect spot to host the Igasa Food Festival. A local food event, which started in 2012 and functions as as platform to honour indigenous products of Greenland. The previous editions attracted around 1600 locals with almost no tourists in sight. In anticipation of the start of the festival, we grab a coffee at Hotel Narsaq. The place has just been taken over by Fridrik Magnusson, an Icelander with his Greenlandic wife Kattie Nielsen. After the somewhat strange experience at our last place to stay, we get a genuinely warm welcome here. Fridrik knows how to receive guests and charming Kattie, who is seriously pregnant, flits between her kitchen, reception, car (fetching and bringing her guests to the harbour) and back to her cosy bar.
With almost 15 degrees plus and a full, blue sky, itâ€™s tropical warm in Narsaq. Around the supermarket we find some food stalls with snacks, some offered by chefs from famous hotels in Greenland and others by the hotel school, located a bit further on top of the town. We spot a range of more delicate dishes with halibut and local lamb to the more traditional pieces of dried meat coming from whale or seal. A bit further away there are more northern delights cooked together by local residents. Peter Frederiksenip is grilling musk ox on a piece of stone, and serves it with a delicious marinade of local black berries and angelica, a plant that grows voluptuous here during the summer and is very diverse in use. “Vote for me, please?” Asks smiling Peter when heâ€™s leaning over in his chair next to his home-made grill while enjoying the sunshine. The competition is organized by Brugseni, one of the two supermarkets, and the winner earns a year fame as the best home cook Narsaq. While the cooking contest is underway, a local rock band hits the stage. Locals dance, eat and drink. True Greenland ambiance.
Meanwhile Inuili is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Guests, elegantly dressed and ready for the gala dinner, are arriving from other corners of Greenland and Denmark. Chef inunnguaq Hegelund from the famous Arctic Hotel in Illulisat serves a gourmet seven-course dinner for fifty guests. Heâ€™s nervous and busy as hell. While down in the village, the locals are feasting on grilled Greenlandic musk ox and a pint of beer, here at the institute, they are sipping glasses of champagne with a snack of crackers made from Greenland shrimp. In Narsaq today, itâ€™s eat or be eaten, no matter who you are or where you come from.