Aside from the numerous kebab shops and pizza stalls, eating in Denmark may be pricey, but it’s a worthy investment. As a family with children, you may eat at almost any restaurant in Denmark as long as your children are well-behaved. Many restaurants provide a special children’s menu (brnemenu in Danish) at a reduced price.
Copenhagen has emerged on the world stage in the last two decades as a very happening place for food enthusiasts and gastronomic travellers, with the highlight being the world-renowned restaurant Noma serving and evolving the New Nordic Cuisine, but many restaurants serving an international gourmet cuisine have also been celebrated and are attracting international attention. Copenhagen is not the only city with high-end restaurants worth visiting, and in recent years, worldwide culinary guides have expanded their discriminating gaze to include many locations across Denmark. Since 2015, three restaurants in Aarhus have earned Michelin stars, and many more locations in the province have been included in culinary guides.
Restaurants and restaurants offering traditional Danish fare are also on the increase throughout the nation, and they are popular with both Danes and visitors.
Eateries serving foreign cuisine, as well as restaurants of various ethnic flavors, particularly Mediterranean and Asian, are widespread in most large cities. There are also specialty restaurants such as Japanese, Indian, and Ethiopian cuisine. Food quality is usually excellent, thanks to a national quality control system that is rigorously enforced. Every person who prepares food is required to have a hygiene certificate, and the competition is generally too fierce for most low-quality companies to survive.
Avoid tourist traps where there are no Danes; popularity among locals is usually always a good indication of quality.
Traditional Danish fare includes the ubiquitous smrrebrd and a variety of hearty hot meals such as frikadeller (meat balls served in various ways), stegt flsk (fried pork with potatoes and parsley white sauce), flskesteg (roast pork with cracklings served with red cabbage, potatoes, and brown sauce), ggekage (large omelette with fried pork, mustard and rye bread), Traditional Danish food pairs very well with beer. Shots of aquavit or schnapps are also popular, although only on special occasions or when visitors are present. Finer Danish food has historically been inspired by French cuisine and includes a variety of soups, roasts (duck, beef, veal, and pig), and mousses (called fromage in Denmark). Roasts are usually accompanied by potatoes, blanched vegetables, pickled berries, and a brown sauce or glace. Fine traditional Danish food should be accompanied with wine. Drinking during meals is recommended since the beverages improve the dishes and vice versa.
If you’re looking for a fast lunch on the move, consider a Danish hot dog, which comes in a bun with a choice of toppings such as pickles, fried or raw onions, ketchup, mustard, and Danish remoulade (a Danish take on the French remoulade sauce, consisting of mayonnaise with the addition of chopped pickles and turmeric for color).
Menus vary during the holidays of Christmas and Easter, and roast duck is the dish of choice on Mortensaften (St. Martins Day). Without getting into specifics regarding Christmas and Easter meals, bleskiver, glgg, “ris á la mande,” and brndte mandler are popular sweet sweets in December. bleskiver are fried dough balls (similar to American pancakes in texture) eaten with jam and powdered sugar. Glgg is a mulled wine made from different recipes that is served hot (to adults) on its own or with bleskiveror Christmas cookies. Ris-à-la-mande is a sweet rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla, and chopped almonds that is served cold with cherry sauce, while brndte mandler (burnt almonds) are caramelized almonds that are usually cooked in huge open cauldrons and sold on the streets.
Smørrebrød (open sandwiches typically on rye bread) are a classic Danish meal with a wide range of toppings such as pickled herring, fried plaice, shrimp, cold meat cuts, patés, different salads, or cheeses. Seafood, with the exception of herring, plaice, and mackerel, is served on white bread, although many establishments provide a variety of breads. Smrrebrd eaten on special occasions, in lunch restaurants, or purchased from lunch takeout shops is stacked higher and more luxuriously than everyday food. Danish rye bread (rugbrd) is black, somewhat sour, and often wholegrain. It is a must-try for all tourists.
Denmark provides some of the world’s finest dairy products. The manufacturing is well-organized, and the hygienic, educational, and technological standards are excellent. For a nation the size of Denmark, the diversity is remarkable, with both large scale industrial producers (mainly Arla) and tiny local dairies, but also various cow breeds and conventional, organic, and biodynamic production; all of which are accessible in most major shops throughout the country. Danish specialities include ymer, a fermented dairy product comparable to yogurt, and koldskl, a sweetened dairy beverage (or dessert) available in spring and summer. Denmark makes several fantastic cheeses, which may be of particular interest to visitors. Several of them are traditional local specialties, such as rygeost, Danablue, pungent old semi-soft cheeses (Gammel Ole and others), and Vesterhavsost, a semi-hard cheese cured in caves in western Jutland. You may find them at stores, delicatessens, and numerous restaurants. Under the brandname Unika, the Arla business has lately introduced a range of high-quality dairy goods, most notably cheeses, which are now available in Unika stores in Copenhagen and Aarhus. Unika dairy products are also available at a few restaurants and shops.
Denmark’s climate is ideal for fruit and berry cultivation, and many businesses make outstanding jams and fruit juices. Den Gamle Fabrik (The Old Factory) is by far the biggest jam maker and exporter. Their jams have a high fruit content and are made without boiling, which preserves the flavor, nutritional value, and consistency better than other goods. This business alone offers a wide range of products, some of which are sugar-free. For example, try solbr (black currant), jordbr (strawberry), rabarber (rhubarb), or hyben (rosehip). The flavor is deep, nuanced, and simply excellent. When it comes to juices, try to avoid the cheaper juice from concentrates and instead go for the more costly cold-pressed unfiltered juices. Denmark offers numerous apple varieties; some older types were practically forgotten for many years, but are currently being brought back to the notice of general consumers. Ingrid Marie, Grsten, Filippa, and rble are only a handful of the more than 300 famous Danish apples. Dansk Landbrugsmuseum (Danish Agricultural Museum) grows 281 Danish apple types in their orchards at the manor of Gammel Estrup between Aarhus and Randers in Jutland. Every year on October 4th, apples are gathered here and sold and sampled on-site, as well as in Viborg and Hje-Taastrup outside of Copenhagen. Frilandsmuseet, an open-air museum in Lyngby, a northern neighborhood of Copenhagen, also produces and preserves numerous ancient Danish kinds of apples, fruits, and berries, nearly all of which are not commercially available. Denmark has also been known as a cherry liquor exporter for more than a century (the Heering brand is perhaps the most well-known abroad), but in the last one or two decades, the Frederiksdal estate on Lolland has developed high-end luxury cherry wines that have received several international appraisals and prizes. Frederiksdal wines are rich, complex, and come in a variety of flavors according on the cherry variety and production technique, but they aren’t as sweet (or inexpensive) as most liquors. Federiksdal cherry wines may be purchased at specialized stores throughout the nation, certain restaurants offer them alone or with sweets, or why not visit the estate yourself while in Denmark? There are frequent guided tours with tastings.
For such a small nation like Denmark, there are a plethora of regional and local specialties to sample. Special lamb from the Wadden Sea area in the south-west, mussels from the Limfjord, fresh catches from the North Sea in particular from north-west Jutland, heathland honey from central and west Jutland, langoustine from the island of Ls, smoked fish and various herring dishes from Bornholm, and others. Aside from locally grown food, the regions of Denmark also have their own culinary traditions.
The “Eat” part would be incomplete without mentioning the “Danish” in Denmark. No, we’re not talking about the people, but about the delectable Danish pastries, which are renowned all over the globe for their crunchy sweet pleasure. For historical reasons, Danish is really known in Denmark as Wienerbrd (Bread from Vienna), but if you ask for “a slice of Danish,” most people will understand what you want, so don’t be hesitant about asking. In Denmark, there are many different varieties of Wienerbrd; the well-known round pastry with icing is only one of several, and it is of exceptional quality. Every baker sells some kind of Danish pastry, although some bakers have a very wide selection. There are custard-filled Danish pastries, some with prune or raspberry jam, some a metre long, covered in slivered nuts, raisins, and filled with marzipan, and others the size of large dinner plates, flavored with cardamom or cinnamon, and meant to be shared with good friends and a cup of coffee or tea.
The world of Danish baking does not stop with Danish pastry, and many desserts here are unique to the nation, such as the marzipan and chocolate filled strawberry tarts sold throughout the summer months or the complex and sophisticated cream cakes served cold. Many bigger bakeries have their own café area where you may enjoy your cake while daydreaming about the next one, but Konditorier, Denmark’s take on French Patisserie, has a long history as well. These are obviously for the more seasoned cake enthusiast, and can be found in most major cities. La Glace in Copenhagen is probably the most well-known, having been providing beautiful pastries since 1870.
Sweets of various kinds are available across Denmark, and every major town has at least one slikbutik (candy store). Denmark is well-known for its high-quality marzipan and chocolate, with the Anton Berg business being the biggest and most well-known exporter.
A few select shops specialize only in chocolate and marzipan and provide a wide selection of handmade delicacies, some flavored with orange peel, some filled with brandy, and yet others combined with almonds or Danish nougat. Fldeboller are a chocolate-covered meringue speciality that originated in Denmark in the 1800s and is now widely accessible. They are currently enjoyed all over the globe, however certain candy shops in Denmark provide excellent quality handmade fldeboller of different types, which may be recommended.
Bolsjer (drops) are a popular traditional Danish candy that has been made and eaten for generations, and there is now a wide variety available. A few ancient drop-boilers (Danish: Bolsjekogeri) still remain and may be visited as living museums throughout the nation where you can observe or participate in the art of boiling drops. In Copenhagen, historical drop-boilers include Smods Bolcher in the city center, and Tivoli also features a drop-boiler. Drops of different sorts may be purchased at almost every shop.
Liquorice is another kind of candy that has a long history and is extremely popular in Danish culture. Liquorice candy, which was formerly used as medicine, is now available in various kinds, both light and extremely powerful, but liquorice with salt, or salmiakki, seems to be especially popular among locals. It may be an acquired taste, and many tourists are frequently surprised that anybody can like it. If you’re feeling brave, try a Super Piratos or some Salt-lakrids and make your own decision. Liquorice ice cream is also popular at ice cream shops and in factory-made popsicles. High-quality liquorice production has reappeared in Denmark in recent decades, particularly on the island of Bornholm, and has even made its way into contemporary experimental cuisine.
Candy and sweets of more recent origin may be purchased in packets at nearly every shop, but if you want to see the diversity and ingenuity of Danish chocolates, go to a candy store slikbutik. You may select and combine your own bag of candy, and some bigger shops have over a hundred different types, ranging from gummies, liquorice, chocolate, marshmallows, bolsjer to nougat, chewing gums, caramels, and other confectionery delights.