Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Copenhagen Birthday Adventures: Mermaid Serenades and
The Best Brie in the World

Swededaddy shares a birthday with an important person. The Little Mermaid. The famous statue on the danish waterfront in honor of danish storyteller Hans Christian Anderson was installed on August 23rd, 96 years ago. To celebrate her birthday, 'Hans Cristian Anderson' comes in a top hat and reads 'The Little Mermaid' out loud, and then a boat full of danish mermaids- a number equaling how ever many years old the statue is- come waving danish flags and release red and white balloons, then jump in the water and swim in formation to make the magic birthday number while a marching band plays 'Happy Birthday' . So of course we went! SwedeDaddy got a 96 mermaid birthday serenade. And the band finished off with "It's a Wonderful World". A video of the whole upaloopma, screechy 96 mermaid birthday affair:

Perhaps more fitting for Swededaddy was the Triton sculpture.

So, you get that I live in EUROPE, now, right? Copenhagen, with it's many verdi gris rooftops and city sculptures, is all you would hope for in a European City.

This tower is made of alligator tails twisted into a spire.

After the mermaids, I took Swededaddy to the Eat 2009 Food Festival (link), part of The International Copenhagen Cooking food festival (link). We missed the kick off event, the roasting of the Whole Ox. Maybe next year (link).

We parked one block from the event, and got the 'treat' of realizing we had parked in the red light district. After walking past some very interesting and colorful window displays, sex shops, girly shows, and 'men's shops', we passed the drug dealers who did a deal right in front of us. SwedeDaddy spied someone shooting up as well, but I was too enthralled watching a guy smoke crack on a set of recessed stairs to notice. The next block over, and we suddenly were on a lovely street lined with open cafes and a splash fountain. Which SwedeGirl was under no circumstances allowed in. And this is where Denmark and Sweden diverge....after going to Denmark, I appreciate the urban cleanliness of Sweden. But, I diverge...back to the food festival!

One of my favorite danish words "FlodSkum"- (has nothing to do with whatever 'Flood scum' that could be in that splash fountain!) It means Whipped Cream. Chocolate Flodskum Balls, Yum
Now, for a moment we thought we had erred showing up hungry to a food festival. I had a panicked moment when I thought we were going to have to feed the family on nibbles of chocolate and sips of wine. But to our relief, we found The Danish Crown cooking school inviting guests to learn to cook the perfect pan fried chops and filets. They welcomed Swedegirl at the line of burners and pans, and gave her an apron and taught the class in English for my benefit. We had a 'meat tasting' and after cooking the meat under expert supervision, we sampled free range organic, conventional, and Bornholm grown pork chops, and well as veal, angus beef, and some other beef. Tips we learned- sprinkle salt on the chop a few minutes before cooking, let the pan get scalding hot, use oil for high heat and butter for flavor (using just butter will cause it to burn), then brown on one side until crispy on the outside, the flip and take off heat while still lightly pink in the middle, so the juices run. Serve quickly or the juice will run out.

Ah, protein! Served as a sit down meal with bread and sides and everything. We had some smoothies and carrot cake to fill our tummies, then we were off to drink the danish microbrewed beers and spirits, wines, and other tasty little treats sampled throughout the hall.

From a Danish Chef who wrote the cookbook "Chop Chop" a little salad of watermelon, feta cheese, chorizo, gomashio, roasted pumpkin seeds, basil, and cilantro. He also had a lovely white apple gazpacho topped with pistachio nuts. Creator of the best AquaVit in Denmark, 2008. We bought some of his microbrewed cider, as the Viking Ale was all out. He learned about microbrewing when he lived in California from the founders of the American microbrew movement, the guys who started AnchorSteam Brewing . I looked for a link his website to link to here, since he says he has a great tasting event every month in a lovely village 30 minutes outside Copenhagen. Trying french brie cheeses...we were given tastes of "the best brie the world" What is chocolate made of? Chocolate artistry, in spun chocolate bowls The butcher demonstration. Yes, that is a bone saw. Yes, we just watched Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd last week. In view from the butcher table was the fellow destined for the slaughter. Marked in chalk to demonstrate how he will be butchered, outlining the various cuts of meat. This is what happens when two former vegetarians start eating meat, and raise a daughter eating meat. We take her to cooking lessons at age four to teach her how to cook the perfect pork chop, then take her to see butchers, cows, and pigs and say "you know that pig is what we were just cooking and eating, right?" Eating in full consciousness. Milk cow, and the 275 liters of milk the cow makes in a week. While feeding my baby some milk, the baby cow came and stared longingly the whole time, and actually mooed at me. We were able to bring the 'how grain turns into food" lessons from the harvest festival to completion by hand grinding wheat into flakes, which we will use for breakfast, and flour we will use for a loaf of bread.

After being in city and festival madness, we headed out looking for a restaurant, with the hope of finding a kid friendly place Swedegirl could run around at. 'The Powder House' near Christiania in Copenhagen was the perfect place to get a breath of fresh air and a little space to run around. The downed tree near the outdoor seating was made into this fun playground. Plus, I was able to get another local microbrewed beer. Copenhagen has bunches of canals, and people living in house boats. This geodesic house boat and greenhouse floating nearby was fabulous! You can see through the windows to all the plants growing the greenhouse on deck.
So this brought us to the part of Copenhagen that was right around the corner from Christiania (link). But that deserves a post of it's own!


Mama Bird said...

Wow! This festival looks so great -what a contrast to "food" festivals in the US which feature as far-from-their-source as possible delicacies as funnel cakes, sausages and fried twinkies! You are livin' the life, mama!

kollene carlsson said...

what a life you have Heidi!!! I loooove that little cow looking at you and even mooing... made me smile... so cute! I miss you!