Denmark is an often-forgotten gem of Europe. Its people have been declared some of the happiest on Earth. Even better, as I discovered during 2 months abroad there, Denmark has some amazing foods to offer. Don’t believe me? Its capital, Copenhagen, is home to Noma, which was named the best restaurant in the world in 2014 and currently sits at third.
The friendly people, gorgeous countryside, and amazing culinary scene are only a few reasons to visit Denmark, but they are very good reasons. When you go, here are 9 foods you must try before you leave.
One of the most iconic Danish foods, these open-faced sandwiches can be topped with any number of things. Made by covering a slice of rye bread with eggs, fish, shrimp, or pork, as well as pickled veggies and sometimes lettuce, Smørrebrød are an essential part of the Danish experience.
Frikadeller are traditional Danish meatballs usually served with rye bread and red cabbage (so put away the marinara sauce!), though they’re also delicious plain. Closer to a meat patty in shape, good frikadeller are packed with flavor and highly addictive.
Yet another traditional Danish food, æbleskiver are fluffy little balls made from a pancake-like dough. Served with powdered sugar and jam (or nutella, or plain, or really however you want), æbleskiver are far too good to eat just one.
4. Elderflower Juice
This can be found in the US, but not often. I’m not talking about some mass-produced drink. I mean fresh juice, as in I-picked-the-flowers-in-the-backyard-and-made-it fresh. It’s obviously harder to find, but well worth it. I highly recommend adding some lemon or lime, as elderflower is very sweet, and tartness balances that to create a refreshing treat.
Technically skyr is from Iceland, but it has really taken off in Denmark in the last few years. Skyr is like Greek yogurt in texture, but generally dryer and less acidic in taste. For those who think Chobani is too tart or smelly (like me), skyr is probably for you. Skyr, despite how it looks, is not actually yogurt; it’s a type of cheese, and it contains more protein and calcium than yogurt. And this isn’t wildly popular in the US because…?
I know what you’re thinking: a potato is a potato, regardless of where it’s from, right? Wrong. Danish potatoes, especially in the summer when they’re newly harvested, are just better. Maybe it’s the freshness, or the wider variety than what we have in the US; whatever it is, once you’ve had Danish potatoes, it’s hard to go back.
Danish produce in general is top notch, but in the height of summer – when the country gets 18 hours of daylight – the strawberries take the cake. Little farm stands on the road sell the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever tasted.
Snobrød is the Danish equivalent of s’mores in that you cook it on a stick over the embers of a fire. But that’s where the similarities stop. Snobrød is a type of bread made by twisting the dough around the stick before cooking it over the embers. When it’s done, you have freshly baked bread that, after removing the stick, can be filled with jam, Nutella, or whatever else you like.
Does this need an explanation? Often made from butter, marzipan, and/or chocolate, Danish pastries are basically the greatest things ever. The more common varieties include wienerbrød (what Americans call a Danish), snegle (a flattened cinnamon roll), and hindbærsnitter (which looks like a Pop-Tart but is infinitely better), but you really can’t go wrong with anything.