Getting hold of ‘food from home’ in Copenhagen

It is important to accept that food in a new country will be different to your own and that adaptation is essential to really settle in however it would be silly to deny that we all sometimes miss food from our home countries. When I was pregnant I suddenly really wanted certain British food that were impossible to get here so my lovely husband slaved away in the kitchen and produce things such as Cornish Pasties for me. You may also have loads of cook books which require ingredients that are impossible to find easily, for example self-raising flour. I can tell you that the version here produced by Amo is really not up to much!

As time goes on you miss things less but in the early days the comfort of finding your favourite food can really help in adjustment. I thought today I would pull together a list of places where you can find ‘food from home’.english foodFor the Brits and Americans it is a little easier. Meny has a reasonable selection of produce although some of the choices they make baffle me but I guess they know their customers. There is also online places such as Abigails (which used to have a bricks and mortar shop but is now online) and The British Corner Shop (which I personally use).

If you happen to be heading over the Bridge, The English Shop in Malmo stocks English, Australian and South African food and they also offer mail order.

If you are looking for Kosher food then Copenhagen Kosher in Østerbro is the place for you.polish foodPolish food can be found in a couple of places I know of. Den Polske Købmand in Christianshavn and Delikatesy Polskie at  Aboulevarden 32. For online shopping there is also Polski Koszyk which I think delivers here. Eurodeli  also has food from Bulgaria. Russia, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland.

Indian groceries can be found in a few places but I hear the best are Golden Foods (also known as Double Diamond) in Valby (although from their website it is a little confusing as to the location) and Spice Mart on Vesterbrogade.

Asian fresh food can be found in the small selection of grocers behind the main station, mainly on Colbjørnsensgade, as well as in other shops on Istedgade. There is a small Asian supermarket in Østerbro called Asien Supermarket.italianFor Italian food then the huge supermarket, Supermarco is the place to go. And for French food with a price tag then Ma Poule in Torvehallerne is a great place to go.

I think I have covered all the place I know but do leave a comment if you can recommend another international grocers you would like me to add.

A guide to baby food

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to undertake some market research about baby food available in shops here and I thought I’d use the information to write a short guide for here. Like most things in Denmark the choice is relatively small and it would seem that it reflect the demand for preprepared baby foods with most parents preparing food at home. There was certainly a perception amongst Danish parents that premade baby food is expensive and they only use it as a supplement or an on-the-go solution.

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When you have a baby here the Health Visitor tells you to buy a guide from the Government health department about feeding you baby from birth to toddler age and the emphasis is very much on home cooked and family foods. It can be bought from the pharmacy for around 75dkk or you can download it here. I found it very useful.

All the types of food I mention below are available in most supermarkets and offered mainly by Semper but you can find Heinz and Ella’s Kitchen in some places (Helsemin carry the full range of this) and most supermarkets offer an own brand as well. There is a big emphasis on organic (øko) food too.

Pouch food

This is the predominant type of baby food available and it seems to be that sweet ones are the ones the supermarkets stock the largest selection of. There are pouches of the usual suspects of spaghetti Bolognese etc but nothing too exciting. There are also new flavours of sweet ones reflecting the current trend for green smoothies.

Jar food

The traditional type of baby food is, of course, jarred food and this can be found in all supermarkets with varied selections.

Powdered porridge or grød

This is something that is everywhere and a type of baby food that is popular with Danes. It is powdered smooth porridges with varieties of flavours from plain to fruit ones and can be mixed with water, formula, breast milk etc and are usually used to supplement homemade foods.

Snacks

Since I had my son, when there are no baby specific snacks available on the market here, I have noticed there are now corn snacks like crisps in some shops and also baby biscuits although these are still not very widely available.

Formula

This is available in all supermarkets and is either the powdered variety or premade cartons. Organic options are widely available now and it is easy to avoid Nestle if that is what your ethics demand (as mine do and here’s why, in case you are interested)

The best shops to go to for the widest selection of baby food are Kvickly and Føtex. If you are looking for the full selection of Ella’s Kitchen then Helsemin is the place to go.

 

Getting hold of English books in Copenhagen

I am a huge reader and my son is fast taking after me with his love of books. After eight years of living out of the UK I still really miss being about to pop into a bookshop of a good browse. The good news is that books shops offering a good selection of English language books are on the increase in Copenhagen. So here is a short guide of the places I know that sell English books but please do leave me a comment if you know of others and I will add them in.


New Books

Books and Company – Sofievej 1, 2900 Hellerupbooks and coI have written about this bookshop before here and I still maintain that the selection here is outstanding and the assistance they give is amazing. Well worth the trek to Hellerup from the city.

ARK books – Møllegade 10, 2200 København NDSC00422Again this is a place I have written about here and if you are looking for more usual books or to try something new this is the place. Their motto is “Home of the best stories you’ve never heard”. Run by passionate volunteers who love literature its a great place to visit. They also run a selection of courses and events in English. There are other bookshops in this street which are also worth a visit if you can read Danish.

Palermo Hollywood – Jægersborggade 31, 2200 Copenhagen N

This is a little quirky boutique on the trendy Jægersborggade that carries an interesting selection of books by female authors. I have made some great discoveries here.

Thiemers Magasin – Tullinsgade 24, 1618 Copenhagen Vthiemers mainThis is another little independent bookshop with a small selection of English books, they also have book readings and events. Here is my post about this bookshop, located off Værnedamsvej.

Arnold Busck – Købmagergade 49, 1150 Copenhagen K

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This Danish bookshop chain has a huge shop on Købmagergade and carries probably the largest selection of English books, fiction and non fiction, in the city.

Magasin – Kongens Nytorv 13, 1095 Copenhagen K
The book department on the third floor at Kongens Nytorv has a selection of English adult fiction books.

Second-hand Bookshops

Rasmussen the book trader – Skindergade 23, 1159 Copenhagen K

This second-hand book shop has been around for years and if you have the patience to poke around its busy interior you may come out with a treasure.

Næste Runde at Riccos – Sluseholmen 28, 2450 CopenhagenDSC01215The Riccos coffee shop in Sluseholmen is home to a second-hand bookshop run by Næste Runde as well as selling great coffee. The books are sold by a separate business but you can pay for them at the counter. Again some interesting books here.


Public Libraries

The library system in Copenhagen has a central website where you can search for specific titles and either reserve them (if they are out on loan) or order them to be delivered to your closest library (if you have a CPR number). You can also return them there. The main library at Krystalgade 15 has a large English language section if you want to browse including a number of books for children and young adults.


Kindle books

If you are looking for Kindle books then you may not be able to buy them from the UK Amazon store but you can from the German one.


And thanks for my readers for the following suggestions:

Academic Books – online and at various University locations in the city.

Owl Books – this is a book rental scheme that you need to sign up to.

Book Swap in a Pub monthly meet up – details here.

Facebook group – Free your books

Cinnabar close to the round tower – The shop presents a handpicked selection of international, visually inspiring books on graphic design, illustration, architecture, street art, fashion and industrial design.

St Albans Church summer fete – check their website for details but it seems it takes place in June.

 

Six places to buy gluten free food in Copenhagen

Six places to buy gluten free food in CopenhagenA while back I wrote about cafes and bakeries offering gluten-free food in Copenhagen  but I realise that people who need gluten-free food also need it to cook with it on an everyday basis and finding that food can feel like a challenge. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 people in Denmark suffer from a sensitivity to gluten and for a small country that seems a lot.

I asked a friend who needs to eats gluten-free about the kind of foods she buys regularly and also the foods that are the holy grail of gluten-free eating and below are the places in Copenhagen that meet these needs. For reference there is no specific logo to look out for but most suitable products are marked Gluten Free (in English) or Glutenfri (in Danish).

All of these places offer crackers, baking mixes, flour, porridge oats and breakfast cereals, pasta, biscuits and bread so I have mentioned other items.

1 Astrid Och Aporna – this is a new shop opened on Christians Winthers Vej, Frederiksberg that sells organic, vegan and gluten-free foods. There is a wide selection of the usual foods but also a big selection of dressings and mayonnaise. They will soon be stocking gluten-free breadcrumbs and other products If you are looking for lactose free, vegan, organic or other specialist foods including ready-made salads, this is the place for you.  Astrid Och Aporna is a Swedish brand and you can see more of their own brand products here.astrid och aporna

2 Urtehuset – there are three physical shops (Østerbro, Frederiksberg and Lyngby) and an online shop offering a selection of gluten-free foods. They sell gluten-free remoulade and baking powder as well as the products above. They also have a cafe, Raw and Rustic, in the Fredriksberg one, which serves lovely gluten free food.

3 Meny (formerly Superbest) – this supermarket offers the best selection of gluten-free foods I have seen in a supermarket here. You can read (with a translator tool if you can’t read Danish) about their approach to gluten-free foods here.

4 Other supermarkets – including Irma, Kvickly, Føtex – most of the other supermarkets offer a small selection of the usual gluten-free items above. But particular mention to Føtex that sells pizza base mixes, soy sauce and one gluten-free beer. Kvickly has a couple of gluten-free pizzas in their freezer section. You will normally find all the gluten-free food in a dedicated section. Schär seems to be the main brand carried in supermarkets here.

5 On line grocers – Nemlig.com and Irma.dk – on-line groceries are quite a new concept to Copenhagen. One of the biggest is Nemlig.com sells a basic range of gluten-free food but interestingly have a number of gluten-free recipes in their recipe section including a cauliflower pizza. Irma.dk is the best online grocers for gluten-free food with all the usual suspects but also sausages/hot dogs, a couple of frozen ready meals, fish frikadeller, and leverpostej (Liver pate). You can also (for a higher delivery cost) order some gluten-free foods from The British Corner Shop online shop.

6 Health food shops – there are a number of health food shops dotted around the city that sell small selections of gluten-free foods and you may find a place that sells a hard to find product amongst them. But again this is where the internet is your friend. Naturoghelse.dk offers a massive selection of gluten-free foods and some I hadn’t seen elsewhere or infrequently including baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, vitamin tablets, tinned soups, curry pastes, falafel mix, stock and sweet chilli sauce.

I was pleased to find all the products my friend mentioned available somewhere in Copenhagen or online but sadly one thing my friend mentioned she wished she could get gluten-free was tortilla wraps and they still seem to be elusive here.

Do you eat gluten-free and have any recommendations in Copenhagen to add?  Please leave a comment below.

Ica Maxi – the supermarket of giants in Sweden

I am not alone in my passion for visiting supermarkets in foreign countries. I love looking at all the different food, even ones similar to what I can buy at home but a little bit different. As an exercise in cultural observation, there is no better place than a large supermarket to get a grasp on a nation’s passions and interests.

I spent Tuesday in Malmo, Sweden, with a good friend and after we had visited a number of very lovely interiors shops in the city centre (Åhlens and Granit amongst them) she suggested we went to the ‘grocery store’, Ica Maxi. And what a grocery store it was. By Danish standards it was a hypermarket on acid!

I made a deal with myself that I would only buy things when I visit foreign supermarkets that I can’t get at home, despite the fact that the exchange rate against the Swedish Crown is very much in our favour. So here is my (slightly tongue in cheek) observations.

Firstly please excuse the iPhone pictures I was too excited to get out my real camera.

So I have a question – is there a secret race of giants living in Sweden who have the need for these enormous knækbrød (crisp breads)? To add more to this there were also similarly enormous meringues disks. And these strange large savoury ‘cakes’ covered in roast beef or smoked salmon.IMG_3728The latter have been on my mind since I saw them. Please can someone in Sweden tell me what is inside them. I read the ingredients but I still couldn’t work it out. Is it bread or cream cheese, more meat or something else completely. Please leave me a comment as I am dying to know.IMG_3719Now, things in squeezy tubes that are not normally in squeezy tubes. We have a few food stuffs in these tubes here in Denmark that are a step on from tomato puree but the Swedes seem to have taken it to a whole new level. With fish paste in tubes and this enormous display of flavoured cream cheese in tubes. I understand the convenience but I am not sure about the presentation once squeeze out – probably onto the aforementioned huge crisp breads (or directly into a giant’s mouth, perhaps?)IMG_3717Next fizzy capsule vitamins and minerals. It seems that rather than just the run of the mill Vitamin C in a fizzy capsule, in Sweden you can take all your vitamins and minerals with a big dose of added sparkle.IMG_3721When it comes to sweets and chocolate the Swedes take no prisoners. A whole aisle of Marabou chocolate bars containing everything from fruit to salt liquorice and oddly Japp (which is like a Mars bar) so I assume this is a bar of chocolate with chunks of Japp bar inside? A pick and mix bar of gargantuan proportions (no photo of this as I was too busy shovelling enormous amount into an equally enormous (giant size if you will) bag to scoff in the car on the way home).IMG_3722It also seems that helping yourself is very much encouraged in Ica Maxi (but paying first of course) with an exciting muesli, oats and dried fruit toppings bar (you know you have lived in Scandinavia for too long when you consider muesli and oats exciting) and a few other self-service spots.IMG_3720The other big plus point in Ica Maxi was the deli and cold meat counter, something I miss a lot living in Copenhagen, with some super looking hams and salamis and the fresh cake counter with jumbo cream filled semla.

I left the supermarket with two bulging bags filled with muesli, cream cheese (but not in tubes I couldn’t quite bring myself to that), crackers, chocolate, sweets, Roberson’s Silver Shred and magazines in a language I have a rudimentary grasp of and it was the highlight of my shopping trip to Malmo!

Finderskeepers – my highlights

I have been going along to Finderskeepers design market since it started a few years ago and I always find it such an inspiring place. It is hard for new designers to showcase their work and this place opens that wide open. There are a number of designers that I recall seeing and buying things from that are now super successful such as Nur. It is also a great way to spot emerging trends before they are fully grown, probably even more so than at the more official design shows. Themes I noticed were more earthy colours, plants (particularly succulents which still seem to be having their day), colourful clothes and leather work. There were also a number of stands selling products directly aimed at men.

Over the last few Finderskeepers I had started to notice there was a very dominate theme of graphic designers so it was refreshing to see this weekend’s market featuring a little more diversity. There were also a few innovations on the organisation which much improved the experience. Firstly the Finderskeepers people walking down the queue scanning e-tickets and stamping hands so once the doors opened people who had pre bought tickets could go straight in. The addition of food stands from Kødbyen food market was a great touch and I can heartily recommend hotdogs from Foderbrættet. Finally there was still a separate section for clothes but it was nice to see more fashion designers amongst the design stands.

So these were my particular favourites from the market:DSC01283 Japanese inspired hanging plants from Planteplaneter. Perfect for high ceiling apartments and by all accounts they are pretty easy to keep alive.DSC01290 These absolutely divine silk kimonos from Sissel Edelbo. Judging by the interest around this stand it looks like the next trend here is actual real colour!DSC01293 More plants, this time amazing succulents from Kaktus København.DSC01300 Finally these amazingly simple yet stylish greeting cards (and other very beautiful calendars and to do pads) from Kartotek. I adore the coffee cup one, there is no way I am parting with that!DSC01305Finally I was delighted to find a ceramicist I once bought a spoon rest from back in 2008 at the market . It was very precious to me and I broke it last week so it made my day to find a replacement here. IMG_2042And finally the icing on the cake (groan) was to meet the amazing Cecilia Fahlström, the author of Copenhagen Cakes, a book I have been lusting after. With my soon to be sticky hands on the book, I was delighted that she agreed to sign my copy too. Watch this space to see more of this book and my baking adventure with it.

The next Finderskeepers takes place here in Copenhagen (there are also markets in Århus  and Odense) at the end of November, keep an eye on their website, Facebook or Instagram pages for more information.

Greenify your home

Whilst I was at the Finderskeepers Apartment Store I got chatting with one of the women, Michala, working there. After explaining about the Apartment Store concept she also told me about her own business called Greenify, which was also featured in the pop up shop.

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I have written before about how hard it is to have even a small garden space here in Copenhagen and to find the right things to grow. Greenify is a genius concept to make this  much easier. You visit their website and select either a balcony box or a smaller tub and then drag and drop the herbs or edible plants such as tomatoes or peppers or flowers into your virtual planter. The smaller balcony box (although both boxes are pretty substantial in size) takes three plants and the larger one takes four. You can move them around into your desired arrangement. Greenify then plant it and deliver it to your door. The short video on their website gives you a great idea of the concept from the farm to your home.

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All the plants are organic and grown at Greenify’s farm close to Holbaek Fjord by an expert gardener, Niels. They are subject to the Danish climate so strawberry plants in May may be a little petite but ready for later in the summer. Greenify believe that fresh herbs and plants bring both taste, beauty, life and energy to our homes and who can disagree with that?DSC00933

Greenify’s website.

NB this is not a sponsored post.

Finderskeepers Apartment Store- the most original shopping experience ever

Imagine pressing the door buzzer, walking up some normal Danish apartment stairs and going into a beautiful apartment that looks like it is straight from the pages of a Danish interiors magazine and everything inside is for sale? Sounds like a dream but this is the most inspired shopping experience I have ever had and it is happening right now in Copenhagen. Finderskeepers Apartment Store No. 9 is located in a quiet apartment building at Jagtvej 9 until the 28th June.DSC00909This amazing shop is located in the apartment of the CEO of Finderskeepers. Finderskeeprs is a design market that takes place here in Copenhagen and also in other Danish cities and they have decided to hold the most inspired and unique pop-up shop, showcasing many up and coming designers, handpicked by Finderskeepers.DSC00912They wanted to present the products in an actual apartment setting and to give people a feel of how each item would actually work in a real home setting. The dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom and balcony are all laid out as if the most stylish person you know lives there and it can all be yours.DSC00913Many of the larger furniture items are prototypes from design students’ final projects or new designers and if they get a certain number of orders from the apartment store then they can go into production.DSC00914It is a fantastic way to promote the work and talents of the new generation of designers and craftspeople, and it gives people the chance to get something really unique for their homes. The shop runs until the end of the week so there is still time to experience this.DSC00919 DSC00922 I love the tree coming up from the centre of the dining table, often lost space.DSC00924 DSC00928 DSC00932 More information and news (in Danish) on their Facebook page here. The store is open  Monday-Friday 11-19 and Saturday-Sunday 11-17 until 28th June.

Friday Fun – Crazy trousers

Danish women, in general, are pretty conservative when it comes to fashion, that is until the summer comes. Every year since we moved here (and probably before that) the shops have sold some variation on colourful patterned summer trousers – from MC Hammer style ‘pants’ to ones with a more slender silhouette. I bought my English friend’s daughter a pair of colourful MC Hammer style ones which she hated as she just didn’t get whether they were a skirt or trousers. It did get me the cool nickname of ‘Crazy Danish Auntie Mel’

This year is no exception with both boldly coloured trousers and slightly more conservative black and white ones filling the shops. And women are sporting them all over town despite the chilly weather. I love them paired with a loose Tshirt or simple vest and my trusty Birks.

Thumbs up or down?crazy danish trousersShop the style…Vero Moda pattern trousersVero Moda wide trousersVila trousersH&M trousers, H&M Hawaiian print and Sandals

Prik – a unique and nostalgic toy shop

DSC00686The first time I walked into Prik, a unique toy shop on Gammel Kongevej, I felt as if I had been transported back in time and a wave of nostalgia washed over me. As a child my grandmother would take me to a little toy shop called Tiger Tiger on the Kings Road in London and some of my most treasured toys came from this shop, including a now very tatty and well loved Snoopy. Prik is full of the kinds of toys Tiger Tiger was all those years ago. Little bright pocket-money toys, toys that I remember from my childhood (and some my mum remembers). Traditional toys that still please children today.DSC00664 This shop is a treasure trove of things for every child. Bright beads, pencils, hand knitted dolls clothes, wooden toys, jigsaws, dressing up clothes, play food and kitchen utensils. The list could go on forever. This toy shop is a unique gem in a city dominated by BR. And in a world of strict gender directed toys, Prik seems to avoid that.DSC00665

Whilst there are more expensive items in the shop (and these are all great quality and in most cases made from wood not plastic), the vast majority of things are pocket-money prices and the kinds of things that really entertain children, grow their imagination and skills without any sounds and flashing lights. DSC00666 DSC00670 I have bought toys and bits and bobs from this shop for my son ever since he was a baby and they have always been enjoyed and treasured. In the main (except for Lego) we are generally quite careful about how many toys my son has, although as he gets older this is becoming harder, but the kind of things in this shop will keep your child’s interest for a lot longer than a flash in the pan must have toy. My son has owned and played with a wooden parking garage for years and it still gets played with now, ditto for his toy kitchen and all its paraphernalia, his doctors kit and dressing up clothes, and jigsaws. All toys I had as a child and loved and all things you can buy here.DSC00671 DSC00672 DSC00673 DSC00674 DSC00678 DSC00680

In a world of plastic and junk toys, Prik offers the perfect antidote. So next time you need to buy a present for your child or for another, you need things for party bags or just something different for your child to play with – don’t just head to BR but try something more unique.

Address: Gammel Kongevej 130, 1850 Frederiksberg C