Co-Founder of Culinary Concepts Catering Travels to Copenhagen to Research Sea Change in New Nordic Cuisine
Being in the food and hospitality industry for more than three decades, Koenig was surprised by the restaurant’s recent opening, given the artful presentation, complex flavor profiles of each course and the expert timing and flow of food from the kitchen–a sign that the team functions as a whole. Koenig commenced her five-course (small plates) prefix with a glass of champagne from an impressive and intimidating wine list. Food service began with deeply seeded warm bread muffins and butter, followed by:
Cured Pike-Perch, Quince, Seaweed, Smoked Tea Vinaigrette
Young Celeriac, Lovage, Crispy Potato, Egg Yolk
Agnolotti of Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Chicken Consommé
Duck, Endive, Rosehip, Aromatic Sauce
Petit Gâteau of Pumpkin Seeds, Caramel, Chocolate
Another highlight of the tour was to Copenhagen Street Food, accessible by walking over one of many bridges to access Papirøen (Paper Island). Koenig described Copenhagen Street Food as an innovative food and beverage warehouse concept that rents to between 30-40 built-in quick service stalls offering food from around the world mixed with the lively atmosphere of American classic rock, pop, R & B, DJs and nightly family-friendly events. “I had one of the most delicious duck sandwiches I ever had from what is basically a pop-up restaurant. It goes to show that quality can be found in unexpected places and great flavor and delightful service is not commensurate with an establishment’s décor.”
Pico Pizza is another interesting place to check out: picopizza.dk
Copenhagen is experiencing a boom in real estate development, which continues to increase demand for housing and the cost of living. An outcome of the boom is that Copenhagen Street Foods is closing December 22nd, as Papirøen will be developed for luxury condos.
Koenig had limited time to garner an abundance of knowledge about changes in culinary arts and any potential impact on American palates. Although the changes in the culinary arts is evident, it wasn’t difficult for Koenig to see why the Danish remain the world’s happiest people. It’s embedded in their culture – which is one of simplicity. From the café-lined streets illuminated by oil lanterns and the consolidation of global street foods to Nordic-infused small plates – the simplicity of it all allows you to focus your energy on your companions. Bring all of this together, with overcast skies and biting wind outside and you find yourself quite comfortable and content on the inside of any of these establishments. The Danish have a word for this feeling of contentment, it’s ‘hygge’ (/ug-‘ga’) – translated to mean a sense of happiness.
(sidebar) How the Danish Create a Sense of Hygge
- Rather than watching tv or using digital devices, they get together with a few friends at home or a cafe
- Rooms are lit with non-scented candles of various sizes
- Play background music like Spotify’s Crooners and Coffee radio station
- Serve simple meals like a small selection of open face sandwiches
- Linger with group of companions over wine and coffee
Koenig was able to visit some of Copenhagen’s most iconic sites during her trip including the Design Museum Danmark, the Rosenborg Castle and The Treasury, home to the Crown Jewels as well the historical Nyhavn district, where Hans Christian Anderson was prolific in writing his most beloved fairy tales and novels. Of the tour, Koenig said “I accomplished what I intended and am back in the office, inspired by new ideas for our Chef, sales and operations teams. We are at our best when we draw from meaningful experiences that can be executed in an authentic manner. This is a differentiator in our business and is reflected in the happiness we bring to our each of our clients.”
Kathy intends to journey back to Paris in the springtime and live the Parisian life for a month….or two.
For more culinary insights from Kathy on what to do and see in Copenhagen, private recipes from her Chef or tips for planning the perfect party, visit her blog at www.culinaryconcpets.com or request a copy of her 2018 Food and Wine Report.
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