October 26, 2023
5 Restaurants to celebrate Mortensaften
Mortensaften is just around the corner, an evening where all Danes eat Duck and which emerges as the first glimmer of the festive season. But, what is Mortensaften all about? Who was Morten? What did he do, and what does it all have to do with Duck? Don’t worry, we’re here to unravel the delicious mystery behind this culinary celebration.
Mortensaften has its roots in a tale of unexpected humor, since it tells the story of Mortens revenge on a flock of geese. This might sound a bit dramatic, but which holiday isn’t?
Jokes aside, Morten was known for his modesty and altruism, so much so that it was decided he should be named Bishop in the town of Tours, where he lived around 300 DC. However, he was so, so! modest he did not want to become Bishop, which is why he hid between a flock of geese to escape. The geese weren’t having it so they started honking up a ruckus, giving Martin away, and that is how Martin was found and made to become a Bishop. He wasn’t too happy about it, so he decided to take revenge on the treacherous geese by making it a tradition to turn them into a delicious dinner, every year.
However, there’s also a small plot twist: you might notice that the restaurants we recommend serve Duck. Duck is great, but you might wonder: why duck? and not Goose as the story tells. Well, there isn’t a clear answer, but some say that it’s because Duck is cheaper that Danes started serving Duck instead of Goose, and it has now become part of the tradition (and it is delicious…so why not!?). Whatever the reason, Duck is the star of the evening, and it’s safe to say that no one is complaining.
It isn’t a holiday as popular as Easter or Christmas, but many Danes celebrate it. Therefore, so that you can be a part of Mortens delicious revenge, we have decided to put together a small list of 5 restaurants that celebrate Mortensaften in Copenhagen.
Right by the canals in Christianshavn, with a view of the harbor, this traditional Danish Restaurant, which true to tradition only serves Smørrebrød for lunch, uses this holiday to prepare the most exquisite array of dishes, always true to tradition, but with a modern and elegant take. They pride themselves in offering only homemade dishes and snaps, “just like mother would do it”, with a focus on high-quality seasonal ingredients and traditional handcraft. The restaurant is situated in an old cornerhouse in Christianshavn, and offers the perfect setting for this dinner: small but cozy, with creaky floors and timber frames. You will feel like a sailor that just got home from a long trip for the second best dinner of the year – the first of course being Christmas Dinner.
Since it is very small, be sure to book a table quickly if you want to celebrate Mortensaften here.
An option for those who want to make sure to have the right beer to go with their Mortensaften-duck, Nørrebros Bryghus is situated, as the name very well says, in the heart of Nørrebro. It prides itself on offering an experience of authentic Danish brewer-culture and gastronomy. They have created a menu, based on seasonal and organic ingredients, that perfectly fit and enhance the experience of their beers. Last year they were sold out on Mortensaften, not a bad sign!
Well-known for their award-winning and Michelin-reccomended Smørrebrod, Aamans 1921 offers their own interpretation of classic Danish dishes for a very special dining experience. In the heart of the city, Aamans 1921 welcomes you with their high ceilings and their aesthetic interior design, enhanced by the handmade brass-chandeliers that illuminate the room. Enjoy their evening menu, designed carefully as a whole dining experience, which on this special day will include a dish with duck. Accompany it with their homemade snaps, which decorates the wall behind the bar. Aamans 1921 is the proud owner of the certification of Det økologiske Spisemœrke in silver, which means that 60-90% of their raw ingredients and drinks are organic.
Spend Mortensaften in the heart of Frederiksberg, which is a city in its own right within Copenhagen, offering a unique and beautiful setting for a night out. Fasangården is located within Frederiksberg Have, a green oasis in the middle of the city. Behind it are the minds of Meyers, founded by Claus Meyer, well known as one of the pioneers of the New Nordic Cuisine trend. Fasangården is a place for “Casual Fine Dining”, and its passion is to serve food that tastes “pissegodt” (let’s just translate this to “really really good”), while being simple, honest and down to earth. Seasonal and local ingredients are a must, and they serve the traditional duck for Mortensaften, but with their own twist, creating an explosion of taste and contrasts. A greatoption for those who want to go traditional, but with something new.
It doesn’t get more local, or Danish, than Kareten.
Prepare for the ultimate experience of Mortensaften seated amongst Danes. This Bodega-like place (without all the smoke) is the definition of “Brun Sovs” restaurant. Situated in the up-and-coming island of Amager, it offers a great excuse to explore other areas than the more popular or well-known neighbourhoods of Copenhagen. The menu is of course traditional, offering a small fresh salmon entree, followed by the “old-fashioned” (gammeldags) Duck with brown potatoes and, of course, brown sauce, finished off with an Appletart with cinnamon cream. Be sure to book a table in advance!
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and that it inspired you to try out something new, or at least, that it made you hungry.
Anyway, happy Mortensaften!