At the beginning of the 2000s, the best restaurants in the Danish capital were still under the influence of French Nouvelle Cuisine and among the local dishes were roast pork with parsley sauce and in the field of street-food, smorrebrod, black bread sandwiches with herring or salmon. In twenty years, Copenhagen has become a world capital of gastronomy and with it the whole country. Today, Denmark is a world model, with the ability to do research and innovation in a difficult but sensitive field such as food and wine. This is all thanks to the commitment of public and private institutions, of young chefs ready to challenge themselves and thanks to an area with quality agricultural products. In 2004, entrepreneur Claus Meyer brought together 12 chefs from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Finland: together they created and signed the manifesto of the ‘New Nordic Kitchen‘, a ten-point document that spoke of purity, seasonality, ethics, health, sustainability and quality. Representing Denmark are Erwin Lauterbach of the historic restaurant Lumskebugten, and René Redzepi of Noma, who has not yet risen to international prominence. The manifesto revives ancient techniques such as pickling and fermentation, which have always been used in the countryside to preserve food in winter. The manifesto calls for the use of local and seasonal ingredients, revitalising the harvesting of wild herbs, which are increasingly present in chefs’ dishes. The new Nordic cuisine appears pure, fresh, simple and above all very innovative and attracts many young chefs with a desire to understand, but also to experience first-hand the new word in international catering. Denmark fills up with young people who perhaps make their bones at Redzepi’s and then open their own bistro, cafeteria, bakery, dairy and play their own game. In just a few years, from 2010 to 2021, the number of Danish starred restaurants tripled, from 12 to 36, and Danish cuisine was showered with international awards: René Redzepi’s Noma repeatedly topped ‘The World’s 50 best restaurants’ list, which in 2022 saw Rasmus Koefed’s Geranium, the only chef in the world to have won the Bocuse gold, silver and bronze awards, take first place. However, the boom of the new Nordic food culture is not limited to the restaurants of the capital: it invests in street food, markets and the countryside all over the country and leads, among other things, to the birth of festivals and events, from the Aarhus producers’ festival to the oyster festival on the island of Romo, which attract more and more tourists from all over the world. Behind the success of this phenomenon lies a country with a great agricultural vocation, not forgetting that of fishing. To understand this, just take a trip to Jutland where barley, wheat, rye and oats fields abound, there are pig farms and on the coast lobsters, herring and salmon are fished and oysters are cultivated. Also contributing to this ‘miracle’ are political decisions such as the one that since 1987 has established government control over organic products, the sale of which has multiplied in recent years, or the more recent one requiring that 60% of the raw materials used in public kitchens be organic. Climate change, the economic crisis, and the post-pandemic make it necessary to have strategies that go increasingly in the direction of sustainability, and the Danish miracle can be a reference from which to draw elements to be adapted in different contexts.
Cooking, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Faroe, Finland, Food, Food & Drinks, Greenland, Iceland, Lapland, Norway, Restaurants, Scandinavia, Society, Sweden, Tourism