I have just  been to Iceland, the shop not the country. It was virgin territory for me, as I have always considered it to be a shop with only frozen food and inferior frozen food at that. That and really bad ads over the years have not persuaded me to cross over the threshold.

Then, I was kindly sent a hamper of products of their newly-introduced luxury Christmas goods. We sampled and were impressed, gorgeous crisps, biscuits and award-winning mince-pies have already been eaten by GG of the sweet tooth. Come January he is on a serious sugar ration.

So, we headed to our nearest store in Coolock. Well, don’t judge a store by its car park, because if you do, you will turn around and go home again! But I was on a mission and flanked by hubby, in we went.

The store, seemingly newly re-furbished, is well laid-out, bright and cheerful with lovely wide aisles and the products are well-displayed. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.

Oh and they have groceries (I thought it was only frozen goods) and the prices seemed very competitive. I was also impressed to see Irish suppliers; for example, you can buy Irish free-range eggs (10) for €2. That must be the best value around. There was a small fresh vegetable section, but in truth you could get all the basics you would need.

Avonmore, Kerrygold, Johnston Mooney and even O’Brien all featured, but of course there were also plenty of British labels, which you find in every supermarket. The confectionery section was very well stocked and two packets of  medium-sized After Eights for €5 seemed ridiculously inexpensive.  They also stocked Thornton chocolate Santa Clauses, which my two loved as children.

Graham was intrigued to find Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney Pie which he seemingly ate as a child selling for €1.75 (though he wasn’t inclined to get re-acquainted with it!). I was far more impressed with seeing bottles of Fever Tree tonic for €2.75. Regular readers know how much I love my G&Ts. I wrote an entire post about its benefits here.

But Iceland is also about the frozen stuff and I have to say if packaging is anything to go by, then the Luxury range looks incredible. Luxury Lobster Tails, Luxury Sushi Platter, top cuts of meat and incredible desserts, for instance, so if you are short of time, or not proficient in the kitchen, there is no excuse.

As well as plenty from the grocery section, we bought prawns, but I will be back to try out some more products like the Salt Baked Sea Bass, and with nearly 19 stores nationwide and plans for more, there soon could be one near you.  I popped onto their website and found that they have won many awards in the past few years for their innovation and the quality of their products. Check out www.iceland.ie for more information.

Have any of you shopped in Iceland before? If you have please share your favourites. Or are you like me, an Iceland virgin?  Well, virgin no longer! I have now graduated to the novice section!