I’d been prepared for the fact that Denmark was an expensive country to visit, somewhere on a par with Switzerland… but it felt even worse in comparison to Poland and the Czech Republic. Looking at the standard prices of the restaurants I passed, I thought it was going to take a bit of detective work to find a Danish meal for a reasonable price… so for my first dinner, I ended up heading to the supermarket. Nothing particularly interesting, but I bought some fishcakes to go with my salad in an effort to get into the spirit of being by the water.I kept a beady eye out for places to eat while on a walking tour the following day and there was the odd menu board boasting a Danish flag, “traditional” dishes and prices that didn’t seem quite so horrendous. I headed back to one of these restaurants on the Kultorvet square… oddly enough, named Restaurant Kultorvet. It would have been cheaper to go there for lunch, and in fact quite a few places in Copenhagen do good lunch deals, but my dinner was also reasonably priced… for Copenhagen at least. I was in a fishy mood again and opted for salmon with potatoes and béarnaise sauce… which was nice enough, but very like something I’d eat at home. I wasn’t sure my quest for Danish food had got off to the best start.
The following day, I decided to sack in looking for local food and instead headed for Tivoli, the historic amusement park slap-bang in the middle of the city. I’d been dying to go on some rollercoasters the whole time I’d been travelling but, what with many theme parks being an expensive bus journey out of town, I’d held fire until getting to Copenhagen. To my surprise, though, I did happen to stumble across a bit of confectionary that’s quite popular in Scandinavia and the Netherlands while in the park; salted liquorice. It’s known to be a bit of an acquired taste, the salt adding a cutting, acerbic edge to a sweet that’s already a bit of a “love it or loath it” thing. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I like salted caramels a lot so maybe I was thinking that the salt would enhance the flavour and sweetness of the liquorice… but no, “biting” and “a bit vicious” are probably good ways to describe what you get from salted liquorice.The following day was my last full one in Copenhagen and I decided to make a more concerted effort to have a Danish lunch. I’d found a few recommendations via the internet and, after walking around a few of the quieter streets in the city and discovering that a few of the restaurant proprietors were off on their holidays too, I was glad to find that Puk was open and serving.
Puk was a great little find. Copenhagen has had quite a few issues over the centuries with fire, with 2 devastating blazes in 1728 and 1795 that destroyed many of the buildings in the centre of the city, meaning that many of the buildings date from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Puk, however, is situated in one of the oldest remaining buildings in Copenhagen, which in 1539 was used as a Royal Brewery by King Christian III. And, a little like the Red Peacock in Prague, it has a saucy side to its history as the place where King Christian VII met up with his mistress. It also serves great, reasonably-priced, traditional Danish food. I went for Danish meatballs (frikadeller, which are simply fried rather than braised in a sauce) with potato salad and rye bread, which turned out to be a surprisingly apt dish for the beautiful summer’s day.I did a last bit of sightseeing over the afternoon before deciding that I fancied something sweet to round off my day. On the walking tour a few days previously, one of the most famous department stores in Copenhagen, Magasin du Nord, had been pointed out to us… and we’d been told of a basement full of chocolate, so I thought this was worth a visit. And actually, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was full of chocolate from Danish chocolatiers. One set of chocolates I sampled were a selection of chocolate “eggs” from Summerbird, a company that started by developing its own marzipan recipe in the 1980s before moving on to chocolate confections. My “eggs” featured the famous marzipan base, topped with different flavours of ganache or caramel, including a liquorice offering and, my personal favourite a blueberry and lemon ganache.
I also tried a bar produced by Copenhagen-based chocolatiers Simple Chocolate. Although they have a substantial range, the bars were the things that particularly caught my eye, with plenty of fruity, nutty and caramel combinations… and with some equally interesting names. I opted for a “Grainy Sue”, which is in fact “Made of homemade muesli based on organic oatmeal, spelt flakes, homemade caramel and peanuts, everything covered in dark 60% chocolate”. So, a supped-up, organic Snickers.I was back to travelling by train on my way out of Copenhagen. Lunch was going to be a train affair so I nipped to a Copenhagen-based bakery called Emmerys that I’d heard good things about. They have a few cafes around the city and sell sandwiches, bread and plenty of sweet treats as well as coffees. I grabbed a sandwich but also spotted a snack pot of yoghurt, with cardamom biscuits for dunking. I couldn’t resist! These spiced biscuits, sometimes referred to as pebernødder, are more traditional around Christmas time but were just as good for dunking in yoghurt on a changeable summer’s day… yep, the rain had finally arrived!
I felt a little like I’d begun to flag on reaching Copenhagen. Travelling… and attempting to find descent local food everywhere… was starting to tire me out. I vowed to make a renewed effort at my next stop... and possibly fill in some of the gaps in my culinary exploration of Denmark.References