May 28, 2019
Life as a Gastro Traveler
Always on the hunt for culinary experiences?
Over the recent years gastro tourism is booming worldwide and in our small country as well. In Denmark the change over the last two decades has been remarkable; going from being a destination where people went despite of the food (the pickled herring and heaviness of traditional cuisine were not giving us the best reputation) to becoming one of the world’s leading gastronomic hotspots. The development of the new Nordic cuisine has turned everybody’s attention towards our little nation, and we continue to excite foodies with amazing produce, innovative chefs and outstanding artisanal products.
From the perspective of a local foodie the change has been a true blessing. Don’t get us wrong, we love the traditional food we grew up with. Especially when it was prepared from scratch around the holidays and shared with loved ones. But the options where very limited and the food was often poorly made for the sake of convenience, because the consumers were not caring about the quality of the produce. Now we are rediscovering our rich culinary heritage, consumers are demanding better produce and are more willing to support skilled artisanal producers. For us as local foodies, it seems like the Danes are starting to notice the piano has more than just a few keys, and the result is a symphony of amazing local food.
These changed circumstances are vital to us in Foods of Copenhagen. Without such an exciting food scene, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love: Share our passion for Copenhagen with fellow travelers and introduce them to our local food scene. Food tours and other culinary experience are for us a medium to share our knowledge, local flavors and our network of passionate food entrepreneurs with our guests. We are thankful for the growing amount of gastro tourism in Copenhagen, which is why this blogpost is dedicated to investigating the phenomenon in Denmark from our perspective as local foodies. .
Who are gastro tourists and what is gastro tourism?
Food is a huge part of our lives both when it comes to business and pleasure. We are always on the hunt for unexplored cuisines and culinary experience in Copenhagen as well as when we travel. When we travel ourselves the local cuisine and food scene always play a crucial role when choosing our next destination. For us, this is what characterizes gastro-tourists: food is the motivation for travelling. The gastro tourist is always on the hunt for culinary experiences combined with cultural insights, getting behind the scenes and hands-on-participation. The word gastronomy is one of the best to capture the desire; exploring the relationship between food and culture. Essentially it is a quest to get under the skin of a foreign culture through the local cuisine. When we travel, we seek out the local gastronomy in numerous ways: food markets, local restaurants, private dinners, artisanal producers or cooking classes. We do basically design our own private food tours stretching over several days. We are on cloud nine, when we find a great local food tour offering the insights only accessible through local hosts.
Our own experiences and interests is the core motivation for creating Foods of Copenhagen and offering culinary experiences to fellow travelers. We want to offer other gastro travelers the same experiences, tastes and insights we are craving ourselves when we travel. We are constantly searching for new ways to share our food scene and all of its hidden gems. Over the last year a new dream has emerged: offering longer and more in depth travels in Denmark. Our amazing local food scene extends far beyond the borders of the capital, and we would love to use our network and expertise to make these remote destinations more accessible to other foodies.
Our Nordic Gastro Travel
This is why we have chosen to design a unique gastro travel exploring the new Nordic cuisine from its cradle in urban Copenhagen to its borders in the remote and unexplored Faroe Islands. This is a gastro experience of a life time with local hosts sharing the hidden gems of the food scene as well as private dinners in some of Denmark’s most exciting restaurants. In 2019 we chose to visit Noma in Copenhagen and Koks on The Faroe Islands. Each in their own way they showcase innovation, new tastes and outstanding experiences. We can thank these amazing and ambitious restaurants for now being a destination for gastro travelers coming from near and far to get a bite of the Nordic cuisine. If you are curious to learn more about our gastro travel and how to book, you can find more information here: https://foodsofcopenhagen.com/gastro-travel/
Only working with local ingredients at a high-end restaurant was unheard of in Copenhagen, when Restaurant Noma opened 15 years ago. How where you supposed to do fine dining without foie gras and caviar? However Noma’s founding fathers Rene Redzepi, Claus Meyer and Mads Refslund were determined to create an exceptional kitchen focusing only on local ingredients. Denmark has an abundance of amazing local produce, but most seasons are very short. So a full-blown local cuisine would take not only dedication and innovation, but always careful planning and preservation of the seasonal goods in order to be able to serve complex and exciting dishes all year around. It took years of research and close collaboration with local farmers and foragers, but their hard work paid off. In 2008 they gained their two Michelin stars and in 2010 they gained the recognition as the world’s best restaurant.
The international recognition of Noma and the new Nordic cuisine has had a tremendous effect on the local food scene in Copenhagen. Gastro travelers as well as food professionals come from all over the world to taste, experience and learn more about our Nordic cuisine. With them they have brought their own culinary heritage, knowledge and skills, which has contributed positively to the constant development of the local food scene. These influences from the rest of the world might be one of the reasons why Rene Redzepi decided to close down Noma in 2016. Rene Redzepi and his team spend a year abroad in Mexico gaining inspiration, while working on the concept of a new restaurant. In 2018 Noma reopened in new and larger facilities designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. The new restaurant is built around former military buildings on the old ramparts of Copenhagen in the outskirts of the controversial Freetown Christiania. It is the perfect surroundings for Rene Redzepi and his team to carry on exploring and innovating the possibilities of a Nordic cuisine. With their new seasonal concept focusing on seafood, vegetables and the forest, Noma continues to prove why Copenhagen is a gastronomic hotspot.
If you dare venture out of our capital, the rest of Denmark offers some amazing food as well. Lately we have fallen in love with one of the most remote destinations in our small kingdom: the Faroe Islands. Despite of their small size and limited resources, the islands are packed with flavors and worth a visit for any gastro travelers looking for new experiences. At Restaurant KOKS head chef Poul Andrias and his team has found a way to present the islands culinary potential and hereby build one of the world’s most remote Michelin restaurants. The once feared local delicacy ‘ræst’ (wind dried, fermented meat) is now becoming a culinary attraction. When you dine at Restaurant KOKS, you are taken on a sensory journey through the Faroe Islands. Through the local flavors, produce and techniques you get to know the Faroese people, their landscape and traditions. For the adventurous eater the Faroe Islands offers extraordinary culinary experiences and a new understanding of the potential of the Nordic cuisine.