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Cuisine of Denmark - Part Two - Pastries

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Culinary Crown Jewels     photos by Jeanie Dizon Britton

Part Two - Pastries

The Danish are naturally the best at what we Americans call ‘danishes’ but what they call wienerbroed (Viennese bread, due to the influence of Viennese baking techniques that created flaky pastry). Whatever suits your semantic fancy, Danish pastries are heady treats in a league all their own, and in my experience, can rival a French version any day. Actually, I would pay good money the equivalent of title-fight ringside seats to watch a French chef beat a Dane with his baguette, only to suffer return fire in the form of ‘snails’ (cinnamon rolls) to the face. Do note that Danish pastries are much slimmer and crisper than their American cousins, which tend to be more dense and sugary… the way pizza in Rome compares to, say, Chicago. I only hoped that wienerbroed’s airiness meant I could eat more in a local bakery than I could in Starbucks.

My pastry crawl in the single city of Copenhagen was nearly as epic as my cupcake tour of America. One suffers much in the name of research, so I am compelled to reveal my finds. All Danish bakeries seem consistently good, so you really can’t go wrong with any you may try. But there are a few joints whose greatness insure an eternal return, and they are Taffelbay and Trianon.

Taffelbay

I stumbled upon Taffelbay in Norrebro by literally tripping out of a bus and into their shop. We were en route to Rosenborg Slot but the sweets beckoning in the window distracted me from my quest to see the Crown Jewels. I tiptoed in to see rows of fresh-baked bread and a phantasmagoria of pastries. I’ll let a few pictures do the talking:

With so many temptations siren-calling my sweet tooth, I had to sample a sneaky bite, despite having just had breakfast (recall the smorgasbord!). I indulged in a cheeky piece of the raspberry tart… the pink icing smoothed out the sharpness of the berry jam, and I knew I’d never be able to eat a Pop Tart again.

Trianon

As a contrast to Taffelbay’s on-the-go atmosphere, Trianon on Hyskenstraedet is a bakery where one can spend hours lost in conversation with an old friend over coffee and pastries.

Trianon

Trianon also bears an illustrious history, supplying pastries to the Royal Court since 1970. Indeed, several framed photographs of the Queen grace the walls of the establishment, lending a magnanimous nod to the goodness of the treats. My chosen indulgence was a circle of crisp amber pastry with a raspberry dollop in the middle. It was love at first bite. Not to be outdone by sugary counterparts, loaves of bread waited patiently for a customer armed with deli meats or Galle & Jessen’s chocolate thins.

Denmark’s pastries illicit wonderful sugar comas from which you never want to wake… that is, until it's time for lunch.
 

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