Tak Copenhagen: a Sicilian palate in Scandinavia's gourmet capital
As I mentioned on our FB page a couple of weeks ago, this month I took my Sicilian palate to the Gourmet Capital of Scandinavia, Copenhagen, and its fantastic cooking festival.
I really enjoyed it, I must admit that selecting the events out of a busy programme was not easy and that many of them were fully booked. But I added my personal touch to my culinary itinerary, including visits to supermarkets, Nørrebro Farmers Market and special food shops.
Needless to say that famous Michelin star restaurant Noma was fully booked for the rest of my and their lives;)!
Trying to summarise my experience and impressions here is not easy.
Let me start by saying that I loved the strong commitment to organic food, the word "økologisk" was everywhere and even in the most conventional supermarkets, the number of organic products available on the shelves was impressive. From an Italian point of view, I found food really expensive though, both in restaurants, cafes, markets and supermarkets. But I guess, this relates to Danish average salaries, etc. Not a discussion to have on this post;)!
Here are some of the most interesting points with related pictures:
I enjoyed tasting various types of the famous Danish open sandwich "smørrebrød", but my Sicilian palate preferred their excellent crab &/or lobster based main courses. The one I had at Zest, came with three wonderful sauces: saffron, dill and baby spinach.
I loved all various kind of bread and pastries available in bakeries and supermarkets too. Just so interesting, good and beautiful!
For the first few days, I was desperate as I could not find a butcher in the centre. Supermarkets had some ready packaged meat, with unreal shades of purple-reddish colour. No matter how many times the word "økologisk" (organic) was written on the packaging, it was not what I was looking for.
I seemed hopeless, until I encountered the world of Kultorvet , great meat and cured meats, organic and fresh, plus a unique atmosphere just in the centre of Copenhagen as pictures show. Loved Slagteren Ved Kultorvet (Butcher by Kultorvet) and Osten ved Kultorvet (Cheese by Kultorvet), just around the corner, selling 120 different organic cheeses. I was happy:).
Then I took my sweet Sofia to an open air cooking class for kids organised by cooking school Meyers Madhus. What a pity it rained so much that morning! Too much for both Sofia and me, coming from sunny Sicily:)! I must admit we left the lesson early, for a 3 year old coming from 37° Celsius with no wellies or rain trousers on, it was simply too much.
It was very interesting, though, to see how in big cities people have to come up with ways to teach kids where food really comes from. Meyers Madhus set up a lovely garden near a school in Frederiksberg, west of central Copenhagen, to make this happen within a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.
I think that in small towns you tend to be closer to the source and the fact that vegetables come from the earth is just a given. For Sofia going to the field is just how you shop for vegetable with mamma and grandma, as you can see in the pictures. Nevertheless, she was excited about picking a carrot in rainy Copenhagen as well.
Last but definitely not least, for those who appreciate quality beer, Denmark is the right place. I was particularly impressed with a brewery called Nørrebro Bryghus. The brewery is housed in a former metal factory and has also a nice restaurant and bar. Just a year ago, in April 2009, they released Denmark's first CO2 neutral beer `Globe Ale´ produced with the utmost consideration. They bought CO2 quotas to make sure that the beer would not be a liability for the environment and from December 2009 Nørrebro Bryghus itself turned into a CO2 nuetral beer.
And while Sofia and I went fishing for food at the festival, dad was busy with his Drupalcon conference but got me bottles of a fantastic beer just created for the conference in a limited 5000 bottles edition, called awesomesauce, and I think the awesome in the name came for a reason;). Well done guys! Italian roast coffee fully deserved;)!
Now for Danish palates, the most appreciated Sicilian products I brought with me were: Caciocavallo Ragusano DOP, Sicilian Extra Virgin olive oil, Italian roast coffee and Modica's chocolate.
One last note, if you are looking for Italian delicacies while in Copenhagen you cannot miss Spaghetti Martelli where you can find the best quality Italian delicatessen. If you are missing Sicilian gelato then Siciliansk Is is the the right place for you , but I am going to write more on this little Sicilian paradise in the gourmet capital of Scandinavia soon.
TAK (thanks) Copenhagen indeed!