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Cuisine of Denmark - An Introduction


Danish Lamb

Modern Danish Cuisine     photo by Jeanie Dizon Britton

Cuisine of Denmark - An Introduction

As travelers, we always have certain expectations of every destination we visit, a testament to those who have traveled the wilds before us. We plan to surf and sunbathe in Hawaii, take in tequila and Chichen Itza in Mexico, eat dim sum and scour markets in Hong Kong. So when I booked my ticket to Denmark, visions of Little Mermaids and Arne Jacobsen chairs danced in my head. Never did I anticipate a culinary adventure.

When one hears ‘Denmark!’, one doesn’t automatically think: ‘food!’ In fact, Denmark often finds itself in the same boat as England – a vessel weighed down by smoked and salted, brined and boiled foods that suit only the heartiest sea-faring types. Likewise, when foodies take their tastes abroad, they choose to land in France or Italy, the charms of Provence and Tuscany being irresistible and oft written about. Travelers possess general perceptions of what to experience and what to avoid in each country. As the joke goes, the European dream is an English policeman, a German mechanic, and a French chef… whilst the European nightmare is a German policeman, a French mechanic, and an English chef. With Denmark, the instinct may be to embrace Danish Modern design but hesitate at modern Danish cuisine… yes to the dining set, no to the actual dining. My advice: challenge your expectations, take your English chef friend with you, and dive in. Denmark is a new foodie frontier.

Since this is uncharted territory, I’ll map out my gastronomic guide to Denmark according to the types of food experiences every visitor should have. But if there’s one word that can describe and unify Danish cuisine, it is ‘crisp.’ The snap can be heard from golden pastries bursting with raspberry filling (and baked just that morning) to vegetables bought from a farmer’s roadside stand. Crispness likewise resonates with the mantra of Copenhagen restaurants and their young edgy chefs, who often use fresh ingredients particular to or only found in Scandinavia. Indeed, every meal will have an element of 'crisp.'

Let's start with the most important meal of the day...  breakfast!