For this edition of Global Around Town we are heading to Copenhagen, where among other things, we will celebrate the birthday of one of the Fathers of Scandinavian Design: Arne Jacobsen. He would've turned 107 on February 11th.
Arne studied at The Royal Danish Academy of The Arts in Copenhagen and began winning awards for his Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe influenced works at a rather young age. He designed every inch of, and much of the contents of, The Royal Hotel in Copenhagen which remains quite a time capsule. I have the Series 7 Chairs (pictured above) at my dinner table and dream of the day when my home is graced by the presence of an Egg Chair (top) or perhaps a Swan (below).
To celebate Jacobsen's Birthday you just might want to head on over to The Royal Hotel and take it all in. Better yet book a couple nights there and surround yourself with all this beauty. You may also want to contact Republic of Fritz Hansen which manufactures Jacobsen's goods to see if you can arrange a tour of the factory.
I ended up staying at the seriously beautifully designed Hotel Skt. Petri right near where Montmartre used to be. I enjoyed my stay very much. Looking forward to their pastries every morning for breakfast was enough to drive one mad! The quality of the ingredients in Denmark is very high indeed. Beautiful butter, cheese and pork products. With the sea right there, you can be sure that its bounty, found on many a table, is only the freshest. That said you can be sure that there are many wonderful restaurants to try. I did!
My first night in Copenhagen I had a lovely meal at a restaurant named after the wild Peter Greenaway film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Here's an example of a set menu offered there.
Salted langoustines served with mayo, cabbage, dill and apple
Fried Gurnard with green asparagus, mussels and savory
Confit of roe deer with pea purèe and rhubarbs
Saddle of roe deer with shiitake and peas, dried blueberries and lardo
Selection of cow milk cheeses, peach-onion chutney and manitoba bread
Mascarpone cream with strawberries sorbet, nougatine and pepper
There has been something of a change of guard since I visited, but from all reports the cuisine, wine and atmosphere (a quaint 18th century townhouse that used to be a brothel) are all just fine.
One night I ventured north to Klampenborg to Den Gule Cottage for another special treat. This beautiful little place on the Bellevue Beach serves wonderful Modern Danish cuisine.
Also up in Klampenborg, another way to celebrate Arne's Birthday would be to drop in to Restaurant Jacobsen. Surround yourself in things Jacobsenian and dine on good fusion cooking. All around you "ant", Swan" and "Egg" chairs. The view of the Oresund Sea is to die for. Not a bad way to go!
I also had a very special French meal with a very special Danish gal at the much lauded (two Michelin stars) Kommandanten. Exquisite regional/seasonal cuisine. Lovely ambiance.
The one culinary experience I wished I'd revisited was smorrebrod. Those lovely little open faced sandwiches that the Danes top with just about everything. If I had my way I'd head on over to the more than 100 year old "Carl Faberge of the smorrebrod world", Restaurant Ida Davidsen. With so many delicious toppings, deciding what to have there can be a real chore! Perhaps you should try the Victor Borge. "The old showman is a piece with salmon, freshly marinated lumpfish caviar, crayfish tails, Greenland shrimp, lime and dill mayonnaise." You can see why I'm kicking myself for missing out on this landmark of Danish Cuisine. Yummers!
I would not go to Copenhagen and miss visiting The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
A visit to the museum Ordrupgaard, with it's new wing designed by Pritzker Award winning architect Zaha Hadid, is also a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Currently on view there you'll find a lovely exhibit of the works of French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte.
Another treat while in Copenhagen is their relatively new and stunning Opera House. When I visited I felt very fortunate to be able to attend the world premier of a song cycle The Secret Songs from Elvis Costello's opera about Hans Christian Andersen and his obsession with the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. This week if you're lucky, there will still be tickets left for Mozart's "romantic comedy of dreamers and schemers" Le nozze di Figaro.
Take in Henning Larsen's brilliant building, glass of something bubbly in hand, and thank Arne Jacobsen for giving us a wonderful excuse for visiting this great city.
Happy Birthday Arne!