Confession...I LOVE food tours. I try to take one in every city I visit. As someone that tends to travel solo, its a great way to meet new like-minded foodie people and get to know the real story behind a city's cuisine. When it became clear that I wasn't going to get off of the waitlist for lunch or dinner at Noma, I decided the next best thing would be to take a food tour to learn all about Nordic cuisine. After reading a fellow blogger's recap about her tour with Copenhagen Foodtours, I signed up for their four hour "Culinary Experience" tour. Our guide was fantastic and I learned a ton of new things about Nordic cuisine.
Our meeting point and first stop was the impressive Torvehallerne market. You can find more than 60 stands selling fresh fish, gourmet chocolate and exotic spices, along with places to grab a bite to eat.
Our guide started off by giving us the history on how Copenhagen became one of the leading gastronomic destinations in the world now boasting 16 Michelin-starred restaurants in 2016. Back in 2004, René Redzepi of Noma fame, food activist Claus Meyer, and several Scandinavian chefs met and came up with the Nordic Kitchen Manifesto. Its purpose was to focus on purity, season, ethics, health, sustainability and quality by encouraging restaurants to use local, organic and seasonal produce, as well as meat and fish typically found in the local landscapes, climates and waters. The manifesto brought about dramatic changes in the culinary scene and has shaped Nordic cuisine into what it is today.
After the history lesson, we headed off to one of the market stalls to taste cheese from a nearby micro dairy, who was actually able to tell us which cow produced which of their cheeses.
We learned that, like wine, cheese can also have terroir and be influenced by the climate, terrain, etc. We tried an amazing organic blue cheese, along with an apple wine that had a 22% alcohol content! Fun fact...Denmark is full of apples...they have hundreds of different varieties in the country.
Next up, was a stop at a local shop to taste caramels, liquorice, and preserves from the small island of Bornholmer.
While walking around the gorgeous Botanical Gardens, we learned about how the city is doing its part to help with the lack of bees by installing 40 beehives throughout Copenhagen. We were able to sample the honey from a couple of them, including one within the gardens, and it was interesting to taste the difference based on which beehive and which location it came from.
You definitely can't leave Copenhagen without trying the open-faced sandwiches called smørrebrød, which didn't disappoint. We followed them up with a stop at a local brewery. I'm not a huge beer fan, but have to admit I enjoyed what we tasted with my favorite being the Ravnsborg Red.
L-R: Salmon mousse with pickled onion, Egg with smoked salmon, Grilled round steak with crispy potatoes, and Smoked Danish cheese with rhubarb compote. Delicious!
Apparently, the humble hotdog is a classic street food item in Copenhagen and something that can't be missed. We most definitely had the gourmet version at a local stand called DØP. I opted for the pork sausage with wild garlic and all of the toppings and it was pretty mind-blowing.
We were all pretty stuffed by this point, but couldn't end the tour without dessert, stopping first at Sømods Bolcher, a six-generation family run candy shop. We followed that up with a stop at Summerbird, a chocolate store located in the Torvehallerne market where we had kicked off the tour.
I had such a great time on the Culinary Experience tour and learned so much. Also, I got to spend the afternoon with some fun and interesting people discussing food and politics and exchanging travel stories. There were two retired couples, one from New York and one from Maryland, who were in Copenhagen to meet their cruise ship, and a lovely newlywed couple from Slovenia. Great food, good company and unseasonably warm weather wasn't a bad way to spend my final afternoon in Copenhagen.