Denmark’s culinary specialities to tantalise your taste buds before you go on your next work placement abroad! Because before any international work experience, it’s worthwhile – and polite! – to find out more about your host country and its culture, so that you can settle in. International Horizons has also put together a blog on the cultural differences between France and Denmark, so that you can quickly build up a social life there! Culinary specialities in Denmark: here we go!
Culinary specialities in Denmark: table manners
In Denmark, table manners and social codes generally reflect a relaxed, informal culture, but there are still a few important norms and customs to observe at mealtimes. Here are just a few of the table manners and social codes common in Denmark:
- Punctuality: It is important to be punctual when you are invited to eat at someone’s home in Denmark. Arriving at the agreed time is appreciated and shows respect for the host.
- Greetings: Before starting the meal, it is customary to say “Velbekomme” (bon appétit) to wish everyone a good meal.
- Use of cutlery: In Denmark, cutlery is used in a similar way to other Western countries. The knife is held in the right hand and the fork in the left to cut food, then the fork is changed to the right hand to bring it to the mouth. Danes often use a small spoon for desserts or to stir coffee.
- Sharing policy: Meals in Denmark are often family-style and convivial, and dishes are generally shared between guests. It is common for dishes to be placed in the centre of the table, and everyone helps themselves.
- Respect for food: It is impolite to refuse outright a dish proposed by the host. However, if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is acceptable to inform the host in advance.
- No waste: Danes are sensitive to the issue of food waste. Try to take reasonable portions and don’t hesitate to ask if you want leftovers wrapped up to take away.
- Not finishing your plate: Unlike in some countries, it’s generally acceptable to leave a little food on your plate at the end of a meal. This shows that you’ve been served enough and that you’re not starving.
- Respect for privacy: When you are invited to someone’s home in Denmark, respect the host’s privacy. Don’t walk around the house uninvited and avoid rummaging through personal belongings.
- Shared laundry facilities: Some Danish homes have shared laundry facilities for guests. If this is the case, ask the host how to use the facilities.
- Tidying up: If you’ve been invited to someone’s house, it’s polite to help tidy up the table and dishes after the meal.
On the whole, Danes appreciate conviviality, relaxation and sharing at the table. By respecting these table manners and social codes, you’ll feel more at ease at mealtimes in Denmark and be able to enjoy the Danish culinary experience to the full.
Denmark’s culinary specialities: the main ingredients used
the basics of food and the ingredients most commonly used in Danish cuisine:
- Dairy products: Denmark is renowned for its high-quality dairy production. Milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese are an integral part of the Danish diet.
- Rye bread: Rye bread is a staple of Danish cuisine. It is dense and high in fibre, and often accompanies meals in the form of slices for smørrebrød.
- Fish and seafood: As a country surrounded by sea, Denmark is rich in fish and seafood. Salmon, herring, mackerel, cod and prawns are common ingredients in Danish cuisine.
- Pork: Pork is a much-loved meat in Denmark, and is found in many different forms in many traditional dishes.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are a common side dish in Danish cuisine. They are often served mashed, sliced or simply boiled.
- Berries and red fruit: Red berries, such as strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants, are used to make desserts, jams and compotes, such as the famous “Rødgrød med fløde”.
- Cabbage: Cabbage is a popular vegetable in Danish cuisine, particularly kale, which is often used in winter dishes such as “Grønlangkål”.
- Onions: Onions are a basic ingredient used to flavour many Danish dishes, including meatballs (frikadeller) and fish dishes.
These basic ingredients form the foundation of Danish cuisine and are used to prepare a variety of delicious and authentic dishes. Danish cuisine emphasises local and seasonal produce, making it fresh, tasty and environmentally friendly.
Culinary specialities in Denmark: the great specialities!
- Smørrebrød: As mentioned above, smørrebrød is an emblematic dish of Denmark. It’s a slice of rye bread topped with different kinds of accompaniments, such as marinated herring, smoked salmon, meat, eggs, vegetables and sauces. It’s a typical lunch dish, served open and often accompanied by a beer.
- Frikadeller: Frikadeller are balls of minced meat, usually pork, mixed with onions, eggs, flour and spices. They are fried and served with potatoes, vegetables and a sauce.
- Rødgrød med fløde : This traditional dessert is a sweetened and thickened compote of red berries (such as strawberries, raspberries or redcurrants). It is usually served with whipped cream (fløde) on top.
- Leverpostej: This is a liver pâté made with pork, onions and spices. Leverpostej is often spread on rye bread and served with pickled gherkins or onions.
- Wienerbrød: Wienerbrød, also known as “Danish pastry” in English, is a world-famous Danish pastry. It is usually made with puff pastry and filled with a variety of jams, marzipan or custard.
- Stegt flæsk med persillesovs: This traditional dish consists of crispy slices of pork belly served with a parsley sauce and potatoes.
- Grønlangkål: This is a winter dish based on kale cooked with bacon, onions, flour and stock. It is often served with sausages and potatoes.
- Pølser: Pølser are Danish sausages, often served with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and fried onions, rolled up in a hot dog bun.
These traditional culinary specialities have been enjoyed by Danes for generations and are an integral part of their culinary culture. They reflect Denmark’s history, farming traditions and Nordic environment. If you have the opportunity to visit Denmark, don’t hesitate to try these delicious specialities to discover the authentic taste of the country.
Denmark’s culinary specialities: the Christmas tradition
During the Christmas period in Denmark, the Danes celebrate the festival in a warm and friendly way, with delicious traditional culinary specialities. One of the signature dishes is “risengrød”, a creamy rice pudding served hot with melted butter and cinnamon sugar. This dish is often accompanied by æbleskiver, small balls of dough resembling doughnuts, sprinkled with icing sugar and eaten with strawberry jelly or jam.
Festive Christmas meals in Denmark often include pork and duck dishes. Flæskesteg” is a crispy oven-baked pork roast served with caramelised potatoes and red cabbage. Andesteg”, a roast duck with crispy skin, is often served with caramelised apples and cherry sauce. Sylte” is a cooked pork terrine, served cold and sliced, with mustard and vinegar.
The Danes also like to eat ‘medisterpølse’, fresh pork sausages seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and pepper, which are grilled and served with potatoes and a mustard sauce.
Christmas desserts have a special place on the Danish table. Ginger biscuits, known as “pebernødder”, are spicy little sweets with ginger and cinnamon, perfect to enjoy with coffee or tea during the festive season.
To accompany these culinary delights, the Danes enjoy “gløgg”, a hot drink made from red wine, spices, orange and almonds. Gløgg is eaten hot to warm hearts on festive winter evenings.
Christmas meals in Denmark are more than just feasts, they’re an opportunity for families to get together, share moments of joy and enjoy the magic of the season. These traditional culinary specialities add a delicious and festive touch to this time of year, creating an atmosphere of comfort and happiness that brings joy to all.
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