As I prepare to make my first festive trip to Copenhagen, instead of turning to my usual travel guides and blogs for inspiration, this time I’ve been reading a recipe book.
In Copenhagen Food, leading Danish chef and food writer Trine Hahnemann explores this amazing city through its food culture.
Taking readers on a fascinating journey through its individual districts, she brings to life her favourite Copenhagen spots, secrets and traditions. Is it any wonder I’ve been completely hooked?
So you can imagine how excited I was to then chat with Trine in person; to learn more about her new restaurant, Hahnemanns Køkken, and her passion for sustainable solutions, organic sourcing and food cooked with love.
Here’s what Trine had to tell me:
Within your latest book, Copenhagen Food, you take us on a tour of your home town. Why do you think the food of a city evokes such a sense of place in us all?
I think there is a big group of people that travel and plan their lives around food.
It was only when I became a chef in the early 1990s that I realised how food has always played a crucial role in the way I saw the world, or how I was inspired and drawn to people who loved food like me.
Over the past few years, gastronomes have started to realise what an exciting, dynamic and cosmopolitan city Copenhagen is, with a jewel to discover around nearly every corner, which is where the idea for the book came from. It’s my love letter!
Food in Copenhagen is a blend of traditional Danish, new Nordic cuisine and pioneering street-food, how important has these three different styles been in influencing the book?
The ‘new’ street food scene is not part of my life in Copenhagen. For me the very best Danish street food will always be a traditional hot-dog or smørrebrød (open sandwich).
We also love a good everyday snack here, a cup of coffee, with a cake or pastry is essential.
Earlier this year you opened Hahnemann’s Køkken, a restaurant, cafe, shop, cookery school and events space. How important was it to create the right hyggelig atmosphere to complement the food?
The essence of the whole project was to host and welcome people, to create a community. Successfully presenting locally sourced and organically grown produce was also a driver.
Hahnemann’s Køkken is a food space where we eat, talk and cook while we try to change the world through food.
My family and I will be staying in Copenhagen on New Year’s Eve, what and where should we be eating to give our celebrations a truly unique Danish twist?
In Copenhagen the majority of people actually spend New Year’s Eve at home having dinner. Some go out and dance later, but you really must be prepared for the fireworks. It is crazy; people spend so much money on them and for an hour the city goes absolutely insane!
Speaking about 2019, what are you most excited about and looking forward to in the year ahead?
Now we’re over all the teething troubles of starting up the restaurant I’m looking forward to getting deeper into my new business, as I will have time for a lot of new things.
We have a very exciting dinner with world-renowned Danish chef Kamilla Seidler coming up, and in February London based Honey & Co will bring their unique Middle Eastern flavours to a very special pop up.
Over the summer I’m also looking forward to starting to bring local producers closer to people who live in cities.
There is still so much ahead!
Thank you so much to Trine Hahnemann for chatting with me.
Images 1-4 courtesy of the Copenhagen Food book by Trine Hahnemann. Photography by Columbus Leth. Image 5 by Nicola Capper.