Sunday, January 10, 2010


Despite the extreme cold, an outstanding visit to Copenhagen and the Denmark countryside was one of our most anticipated destinations. Copenhagen is bike city and after seeing grandmothers biking around in the late night in bitter cold snowy conditions we really couldn't complain about the weather. We had an appointment in a few days to meet with Rene Redzepi and Peter Kreiner of renowned Noma Restaurant but first it was time for dinner at Kodbyens Fiskebar in Copenhagen. Owned by Anders Selmer, former wine director at Noma, Fiskebar is a beautiful restaurant located in a redone classic old meat market. Delicious and unfamiliar Nordic seafood (to us) are featured. Anders enthusiasm for Denmark products soon led to a long list of potential farms and seacoast sites to visit.


Copenhagen's Noma restaurant is part of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement. The Nordic Cuisine Manifesto can be seen here. Noma's culinary philosophy fits right in with the ideals and goals of Outstanding in the field. Chef Rene Redzepi and Noma believes nordic restaurants should have the signature of place. Jim, Katy and Dave had a warm and enthusiastic meeting with Chef Rene Redzepi and Director Peter Kriener of Noma. A collaboration for late August was agreed upon and several possible sites were mentioned. Peter generously made a few phone calls setting us up with farm visits for the next day. The farmers and foragers central role in our summer event in Denmark was agreed to be the most important aspect of a collaboration. With the meeting out of the way we went for a walk in anticipation of dinner.

We arrived at Noma later in the evening to experience the tasting menu. What an amazing and delicious dining experience! Katy and Jim both thought it was the best meal they had ever had. The menu was composed solely of mid winter Nordic ingredients-quite a feat. For service knowledgeable and warm members of the kitchen staff brought out and described each dish. Sated, we headed out into the Copenhagen night thinking of Denmark farms and the potential dining sites we would visit the next day. Check here for an excellent description of the Noma experience.

First stop was the biodynamic dairy farm of Niels Stokholm and his herd of 60 red Danish cow. We were welcomed into the farmhouse by Niels and enjoyed hot tea Danish breads, farm butter, preserves and fresh cheeses. We heard Niels' story of his work as a bridge engineer traveling the world until one day he decided he really wanted to be a farmer, found some land and made a life of it. He gave us a detailed explanation of his farming practices and then it was time to take a look around. First stop was the cow barn where Niels convinced Katy to ride the bull. As Niels explained, modern farming practices ignore the welfare of the individual animal giving them the ‘cold shoulder’and just like any relationship with that kind of treatment things tend to not go well in the long run. And as Katy learned, bulls treated well are gentle enough to ride!

After our walk around the farm Niels said he had something special to show us. We drove a few miles down the road to see an amazing ancient Druid earthwork believed to be constructed around 3000 BC. Niels and Jim sang together in harmony which when resonating correctly caused the an eerie humming noise that shook the ground, something many other visitors surely practiced in the same space thousands of years ago.

Our next visit was Camilla Plum's fuglebjerggaard farm. Camilla greeted us in the kitchen and quickly offered us some delicious danish black bread. Besides baking bread, herding cows, raising fruits and vegetables organically and growing plants for seeds and growing and milling their own wheat that they grow on the farm and having there own farm market... they grow hops for their own beer!! Camilla has several cookbooks in print many of which were on display in the small market. We walked around the farm that evening in bitter cold. Probably much more comfortable when we return in the late summer.

After leaving the farm we decided to go visit the nearby Louisiana Art Museum so Jim could meet with a curator. Among other things we spied this group of thin Giocomettis.

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