Saturday 16 June 2012

Life tastes good in Copenhagen

Nyhavn - Copenhagen

Hello all!!! I must apologize for my disappearance, as I haven’t posted for a while. One needs a break sometimes to be able to welcome creativity and new ideas.

I have mentioned in previous posts how tired and overloaded with work I was. I stopped posting because the work doubled and, when that finished, my wonderful husband took me to a long weekend break in Copenhagen, as a birthday surprise. 

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find a table at the world’s number one restaurant, Noma. Thanks to its head-chef Rene Redzepi, Nordic cuisine became fashionable. Claus Meyer, the force behind the Nordic cuisine manifesto, says that in the  region, they have an unexplored territory where they can forage fungi, beech leaves, wild berries – some of them can only be found there -, edible weeds, wild garlic etc. In the Nordic cuisine, you can find ox, reindeer, king crab, oysters, grouse, Greenland ice water, cold water fish and shellfish, grass fed cows, sheep, goats. Basically, they restrict their cooking to ingredients that can be foraged, grown or caught locally. No lemons, no olive oil in their cooking.

Although we didn’t get a place in Noma, we got lucky with a table at the Geranium Restaurant, run by the head-chef Rasmus Kofoed, who won the European Bocuse d’Or in 2010 and 2011.  My personal cooking is a lot simpler, but I must say I get wowed by some of the dishes and flavours these chefs achieve. The food at the  Geranium was very good. They were pieces of art with a healthy eating input. It is a Michelin restaurant with all its snobbery, but at the same time it has a down-to-earth aspect. Rasmus brought some of the dishes to the table himself - which was a nice touch! I love it when chefs do that.  

After finishing our main course, we were invited to go to the kitchen to have our pre-dessert, a delicious palate cleanser made with elderflower. There, we had a chat with Ramus who is a lovely guy, surrounded by very friendly staff. He kindly gave me some tips on where to go in Copenhagen for a nice pastry and a cuppa: a part of town with an arty atmosphere. We did what the locals do: you buy the pastry in the bakery (owned by Claus Meyer), and cross the road to eat it in the coffee house

Ramus also recommended a cheese shop that sells organic and national Danish cheeses, Osten ved Kultorvert, owned by the friendly and super-knowledgeable owner, Mikael Ost, who has a story to tell for each cheese you chose.

Another two restaurants that I utterly recommend are Frederiks Have - it has the most delicious and moreish bread and the most tender roasted and braised veal -, and Aaamans, where we went to its restaurant and to its deli to try their open sandwiches . It was a delight, just writing about it now makes my mouth water.

I fell in love with Copenhagen and its food and I can now understand all the fuss about the Nordic cuisine. Next week, I’ll post a popular Danish recipe. 

Till then.

Biodynamic red onions and melted hay cheese at Geranium
Farro and Spelt bread with herby buttermilk dip
Jellied ham, tomato water and radish flowers
Hake wrapped in seaweed, horseradish juice, curd cheese
herb stems and burnt hay
Razor clam sashimi inside an edible shell
"Elements of the sea" Herring roe, oysters and samphire-like
Langoustine and hay aroma...
is served on a hot plate to finalize its cooking
Deer with beetroot and berries and their burnt stems
White chocolate with frozen beech tree juice
and wood sorrel
Frosty Flowers, rhubarb and Thyme
The super talented Rasmus Kofoed and me
Mint tea served with carrot biscuit and pine needle chocolate eggs
The "arty"street
Meyers bakery
Breads to die for
The best cheese shop in Copenhagen...
where you meet the lovely and knowledgeable Mikael Ost
Delicious open sandwiches at Aamans deli


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