About the Food of Denmark

Why Denmark, why? Just when I start to think the winters in Tulsa are dark and bitter cold, I learn about Denmark…and my heart breaks a little. You see, Denmark beats anything we’ve got going on in Tulsa. Situated way up in northern Europe, winter is not just a season in their great country, but a state of being.

In the time up to Christmas, sunlight is scarce. The winter solstice on 22 December marks the shortest day of the year where the sun rises as late as 8:39 and sets as early as 15:36.

That’s 3:36 pm, for those of you who don’t read military time… which makes 17 hours of darkness. Yikes.

But where’s theres darkness, the Danes bring their own light. In fact, the winter season is alloted comfort and joy in the form of cozy fireplaces, warm candlelight, and good food. They call this warm, tranquil atmosphere “Hygge” and it is an integral part of Danish culture.

From what I’ve read, the best way to warm up on a cold winter’s night is with Gløgg, or steaming hot, mulled red wine [Recipe]. Cooked with fresh spices, orange peel, and port, one sip of this beverage could even thaw out the Grinch.

If you’re looking for fun finger food – try a platter of Frikadeller – or Danish meatballs [Recipe]. Recipes generally combine pork and beef (or veal) for this tasty treat. Leftovers can be served as a topping for the popular open faced sandwiches called Smørrebrød [Recipe]. Other Smørrebrød toppings include liver pate, smoked salmon, and herring. While these sandwiches can be beautiful works of art, they are usually mounded with ingredients so thickly, the bread disappears. Diners manage them with a fork and knife. Personally, I rather like using them as finger food for a special appetizer.

Desserts can be simple or extraordinary. Many utilize fruits such as apples, plums, or berries. Common treats include Danish Apple Cake (Æblekage) [Recipe], assorted pastries, and rice pudding.


  1. Collette Lemons says

    Hmmmm…. a fire place on a cold almost never ending night, red wine, awesome food…

    I could be Danish… ; )

  2. In my visit to Denmark the food wasn’t the highpoint….my one Smorrebrod was a tiny mound of shrimp with an even tinier dollop of mayonnaise on white bread. Expensive and a one time experience. The bakeries were outstanding and quite frankly the ethnic food and street hot dogs were way more appealing.

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’ve heard the pastries in Denmark are wonderful… would love to try! I’m always a fan of street food…

  3. Jessica Bennett says

    Like BK, I also had trouble with making cuisine a more prominent point of my trip. I didn’t do any research ahead of time because I was so busy, so I was just hoping to follow my nose and find interesting things. I followed my nose around where I was staying (in central Copenhagen), took transit to various other areas of the city, visited a small town, and could not find many restaurants featuring local cuisine. I did find one, but the Smorrebrod I had wasn’t very tasty. I found one cute bakery, which I enjoyed three times during my 4 day stay. Otherwise, I saw a lot of American fast food, plenty of pizza joints, a few Chinese and Mongolian restaurants (the Mongolian restaurant was nice). The upside was that in spending more time looking for places to eat than actually eating, I was able to walk off all the great cuisine I had in Germany the week before I arrived in Denmark 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      It’s hard travelling and not being sure where to eat… I can think of a ton of terrible places to eat at here, in Tulsa… but thankfully I know to stay away from them. Oh, and the other upside to walking a lot – you get to see the sights 🙂

      • Jessica Bennett says

        I usually have good luck/instinct in finding interesting restaurants when I travel (I almost always have a few planned things that I figure out before I leave and then wander around to find other out-of-the-way places). Denmark was the one place I had trouble doing that. Well, and many places in the U.S. (even when traveling off the Interstates, you have to really know where to find or get lucky and stumble upon something other than McDonalds and Applebees or the like). Have you ever read Roadfood (they have a website too)? That can be useful if you’re specifically going to one of the areas where they reviewed a restaurant.

    • Sasha Martin says

      The menu has a little of everything, but definitely keep your eye out for the Gløgg recipe. Yum.

  4. A looong time ago, we were bumming around in northern Germany and picked up a couple of Danish hitchhikers. On a whim, we decided to take them home to Denmark – all the way to Odense, ferry and all. We were invited for dinner with their family and ever since then I have been convinced that the best food in the world could be found in Denmark! But maybe you have to have check in at a family dinner rather than a restaurant! Or maybe we were just lucky and got hitched with the best Danish cook…

    • Sasha Martin says

      That’s such a cool story – sounds like something out of the movies! 🙂

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