One of my favorite things about traveling is the food. Not only is it fun to explore the city and find cool places to eat, but I also enjoyed learning a few things about Danish/ European cuisine from the people that I stayed with during my visit in Copenhagen. These foods or traditions may not all be traditionally Danish, as the friends I stayed with are German and have been influenced by the different European countries that they have traveled to and lived in.
What first stood out to me when I came to stay in Copenhagen was the idea of a meal. Every dinner and most meals on weekends were eaten together. Even when I woke up late and was the only one having food, we would all sit down together. For me, this was very different than I was used to in the United States. Family meals were something that we talked about doing but were usually never made a priority. Obviously, each household operated differently, but from my experience, European families make more of a point to have a sit-down, family meal. I have to say that this is what I enjoyed most about eating with Thomas and Ursula (the couple I was staying with) every night. Meals also were much longer and more elaborately prepared, and we always tried to eat outside when possible. They also took care to be sensitive to the fact that I am a vegetarian, which was greatly appreciated.
The end of a very good breakfast
Aside from that, some of their foods and preparation styles were different than what I was used to. One of my favorite foods was the soft-boiled egg. Although not too unusual in the US, they aren’t as popular or traditional as they are in Europe. Here, breakfast was not official if we did not have a soft boiled egg. In terms of preparation, it was fairly simple. Bring the water to a boil, poke a tiny hole in one end of the egg, and let it boil for about 5-6 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. Once done, we put the eggs in a very adorable little egg stands to be brought out to the table. A little sprinkle of salt makes it even more delicious.
Also a breakfast item, and definitely Danish, is Danish Rye Bread, or Rugbrød. This bread is dark, sour, and seedy. I certainly felt a lot healthier eating it as opposed to a white bread. We ate this for breakfast with cheese or butter, and it was very good toasted. I also occasionally would make a lunch sandwich out of the bread, but in terms of sandwiches, it ended up being on the smaller side.
My next new food item is water kefir. This drink has nothing to do with dairy or Danish food traditions for that matter, but I did really enjoy it. I actually am pretty well informed about the process of making this drink, as Ursula has a business selling the product. (Check out her website here) Essentially it is a healthy, slightly sweet, fermented, and carbonated drink full of microbes.
Fruit basket featuring homegrown apples
In general, I have also enjoyed the fact that Europeans seem much more aware of what they are eating. All the meals that I have had are very balanced and healthy, and the only truly unhealthy thing that they have in their house is a jar of Nutella, which I admit I snacked on more than I should. And while I have loved being able to eat home cooked meals every night, I have also had the chance to eat out a few times, so stay tuned for that post! Now I am excited to see what kinds of foods I’ll be eating in France, the next stop on my trip.