My final four nights in Denmark were spent in Copenhagen. Other than dinner at the famous Geranium (to be posted later this week), we didn’t book any other meals and on our second night we ended up here at Cafe Norden. Perfectly located on the major shopping strip (Ostergade) in the main square with two floors, we sat on the second floor at a window banquette with a great view down Ostergade street. This was a great casual cafe, lively with many local patrons and unexpectedly good food. I ordered the Smorrebrod which is a traditional Danish open face sandwich. What was great with this was it came with three different kinds: eggs & prawn, liver pate and pork loin. They were all fresh and delicious but my favourite has to be the roasted pork loin with pickled red cabbage (almost sauerkraut like), cucumber and roulade (mayo). Not only was the food dynamite but so was my iced tea, almost like a virgin sangria, it was made with quince tea, lemon, elderflower and a splash of orange juice – I couldn’t get enough of it!
When it came to finally making a decision that we were going to Denmark, my first thoughts were, I’m going to the land of danishes and butter cookies! And well, it definitely lived up to my expectations. In Ribe, we found a traditional Danish cafe full of delicious goodies, Radhus Conditoriet. Everything from my newly discovered favourite hindbaersnitte to danishes to the flodeboller (chocolate covered marshmallow cookies) – all originating from Denmark. I wasn’t able to try them all from this pastry shop but I did buy a couple of boxes of their homemade Danish butter cookies. We all know the familiar blue tins covered with scenes of Denmark’s countryside filled with 5 varieties of butter cookies and they are good, but these were definitely a lot fresher and you can taste it – they were buttery, crumbly and delicious!
Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark, was high on my list of cities to hit on my tour. With cobblestone roads and old timber houses and a beautiful prominent Domkirke (Cathedral), it was a charming town fit for leisurely walks up and down its narrow streets. However, with a town so small, dining options were very limited. We happened to stumble upon a small quaint restaurant and hotel called Weis Stue. Located in the centre square and across from the Domkirke, we noticed the restaurant was bustling inside so we decided to take a look. Inside an old house, with the hotel rooms on the second floor, we were brought to a private dining room in the back of the house beside the kitchen. Serving very traditional fare, I ordered the very popular fried filet of plaice (a white fish) topped with a salad of cooked shrimp and white asparagus, sliced dense rye bread and caviar. It was simple yet satisfying. Definitely worth experiencing the charm and character of Weis Stue.
So I can’t remember why but one morning we decided to go searching for a McDonald’s and lucky for us, we found one in the main square in downtown Aarhus. The breakfast menu wasn’t as extensive as they are in the North American McDonald’s but the staples were there. The egg, sausage and bacon mcmuffins, pancakes, coffee and hashbrowns (which taste exactly the same as those sold here) were all available but the Morgenbrod is what caught my eye. Literally translated, the “morning bread” is ham and cheese (tasted sharp like swiss cheese) on a handcrafted poppyseed roll. To be honest, there was nothing special about the ham or the cheese but the bread roll was absolutely delicious, almost artisan like with a crusty exterior and not the usual “wonder bread” texture that is typical of their sandwich buns. They need to bring this to Canada!
Everyone who knows me knows that wherever I go I must visit a grocery store at least once during my trip. I love walking up and down the aisles looking at the different products, discovering what flavours are popular or in season at the moment. You really get a feel for what the locals are buying and eating. One of the grocery chains we discovered in Denmark was Fotex. In this particular location, I spent almost two hours combing the shelves and found some awesome products. Items like Heinz American Hamburger sauce (aka “Big Mac” sauce), Heinz curry mango sauce (which I brought home with me) and Wasa’s cracker sandwiches made with cream cheese and chocolate. I’m a chip lover and I love the unique flavours you can find and this was the first country where I found Lay’s Ketchup chips outside of Canada! I also discovered that the Danish like their salads, I found an entire refrigerated section dedicated to this product. Everything from shrimp, tuna, herring, mackeral, pickle and egg salad to only name a few. I only wish I was able to try them all :)
For our only night in Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark, we decided to hit a microbrewery/restaurant called Sogaards Bryghus for dinner. If you love craft brews, this is a great place for a beer tasting. I went with a Pils, a nice light and fruity beer which was perfect with my dinner, herring. I actually love herring, especially when pickled so when travelling through Denmark wherever I found it on the menu, I ordered it. Sogaards had a dish which prepared herring three ways and served similar to a “charcuterie plate”, it was great with the dark grainy bread.
As we were walking around Aarhus and eventually around the country of Denmark, we notice the large pink round signs with a distinct image of a man and resting on his elbow in front of a cup of joe. Joe & The Juice offers a very healthy menu of fresh juices, sandwiches and a very simple coffee menu in a pretty stylish and relaxed setting, we had to try it out. As soon as you get to the counter I noticed the piles of fruit sitting in baskets waiting to be used so you get the sense that everything here is made right in front of you. I ordered the spicy tuna sandwich and of course, the Joe’s famous “ginger latte” that caught my eye. The sandwich was really tasty and satisfying made with chunks of jalapeno and served on the very “Danish” grainy flatbread. However, the ginger latte, to use Guy Fieri’s famous words, was the kicker. Made without any espresso, it was lots of minced ginger topped with steamed milk – really unique and definitely wakes up your taste buds!