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Smørrebrød, Pastry, and Crickets, Oh My!
  • Writer's picturesbcrosby .

Cuisines and Castles of Copenhagen

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Our final two days in Copenhagen were just as lovely as the first two days, in spite of some very baltic weather! Thursday was rainy, windy, and cold. Is it ever not windy in this beautiful city? I think not. We had a leisurely morning and visited a few of their landmark stores, including Illums – the Danish version of Harrods. We also visited the Legos store – did you know Legos began in Denmark in 1932? Also on our list was the Vans store, to add to the 52-pair Vans collection of David and Shona’s son, Josh!

That evening, we attended a gourmet food tour with our very capable guide Olivia, a native Dane with an incredible understanding of the local food scene and culture. We began our tour in the Torvehallerne, an incredible food market with all kinds of locally-sourced specialty stalls.

We tasted three types of Danish cheese: Havgus, Gammel Knas, and Gnalling. A lovely apricot brandy accompanied our cheese. Next up was some tasty crackers with local jams – including a tasty buckthorn marmalade, an incredible soft salted caramel, and a piece of locally sourced and made licorice, accompanied with a Rabarber (rhubarb) soda – SO good!

Next up was a cornmeal blini, covered with grains, mushroom pâté and cornflower petals – so good!

We also sampled miniflødeboller from chocolatier Summerbird – a chocolate covered marshmallow on wafer!

Then we moved on to Musings, a local fish restaurant, where we were treated to an incredible entree of poached cod with micro greens, English peas, and a Beurre Blanc sauce.

We ended our tour in the hip Nørrebro district of the city, at a local microbrewery, Nørrebro Bryghus, for a flight of beers and rhubarb ice cream and rhubarb mascarpone panna cotta. Thankfully, there were several kilometers of walking in between all these stops!

We ventured out of town on a beautifully sunny Friday morning, with our private guide Morton, to visit two of Denmark’s most famous castles. Our first stop was at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, built in the early 1600s for King Christian IV. Today it serves as a museum of national history, and it’s grounds and gardens are equally as lovely as the castle itself.

The castle suffered a serious fire in 1859 and was rebuilt to its original state from old plans and paintings. We were able to explore much of this vast building, including the beautiful Renaissance chapel. It is the best-preserved area, having largely escaped damage in the 1859 fire.

The Rose room, the Great Hall, and the Audience Chamber were also highlights of this personal tour.

After walking around the beautiful grounds, we continued our journey with a quick stop to see Queen Margrethe’s summer house, Fredensborg Palace.

After a nice lunch at a local café in Helsingør, we proceeded to Kronborg Castle. Said to be the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s Elsinore castle in Hamlet, Kronborg was built in the early 1400s and is situated at the narrowest point between Denmark and Sweden at the entrance to the Baltic from the North Sea. As such, those dastardly Danes used it to collect tolls from any vessel who wanted to enter the Baltic, or fear being shot! This was so profitable, it accounted for nearly two-thirds of the Danish economy in the 16th century!

With its shoreline borders overlooking the deep blue seas, the exterior grounds are the real draw. It’s a beautiful display of a classic Northern European Renaissance castle.

Our final stop was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. While we struggled to understand many of its interior pieces of art (including the series of black and white photographs of individual thumbs), we thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor space overlooking the water and its surrounding gardens.

Although the lighting installation – strings of lighting hanging from tree to tree with “used” panties and underwear serving as “shades” over the bulbs – was interesting to say the least!

We ended our day with the best meal of the entire trip, all by chance from a Trip Advisor rating! If you are in Copenhagen, you simply must make time for a meal at Olive Kitchen & Bar. While the prices in Copenhagen can be steep, this little gem of a restaurant is reasonably priced, with incredible service and happy staff, and food that will blow you away – from the first course to the last. Hands down, their cream of mushroom soup was probably the best we’ve ever had. Mark & Shona selected the green apple and asparagus risotto – sounds crazy, right? It was sublime. My Norwegian salmon was perfectly cooked.

All in all, the best way to end our entire Baltic journey – a lovely evening, surrounded by happy people, with full tummies and even fuller hearts. Until our next journey, we will cherish the memories we’ve created and captured over the course of our two weeks in the Baltic.

PS. We may or may not have had those incredible rhubarb and mascarpone Danish pastries two more times before leaving beautiful Denmark!!


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