The new Michelin Nordic Guide also recognises outstanding culinary experiences in the Danish countryside for the very first time and restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen has become the country's first ever restaurant to receive three Michelin stars.
Denmark is simply covered in star dust, as 2016’s edition of the Michelin Nordic Guide has awarded 3 stars to Rasmus Kofoed, winner of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or and World’s Best Chef 2011, for his organic world-class restaurant Geranium. The guide also includes four new restaurants, bringing the number of Danish Michelin restaurants to a total of 22 with 20 of the coveted stars being awarded to 16 restaurants in Copenhagen; a new record for the city, underlining its position as the Nordic region’s gastronomic capital. In addition to the prestigious stars, Copenhagen and second city, Aarhus, were also awarded 11 Bib Gourmands given to restaurants that offer excellent value for money.
Copenhagen and its culinary prowess has snatched the international headlines over the past years with chef René Redzepi’s two Michelin star restaurant Noma taking the title of ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ for four of the past six years. It is therefore hardly surprising that other regions in Denmark are also successfully turning the taste buds of foodie connoisseurs and making their play for distinguished international gourmet titles.
Across the country, chefs, both Danish and from around the world, are adapting time-honoured Danish dishes with their own original preparations, using local, seasonal ingredients and incorporating the influence of international cuisines. A prime example of this is British Michelin chef, Paul Cunningham, who took over as head chef at Henne Kirkeby Kro in West Jutland in 2012. Set in the relaxing countryside on Denmark's West Coast, the inn, which first welcomed guests more than 175 years ago, now celebrates its first Michelin star and is a must-try for food lovers. Restaurant Kadeau, another newcomer to the Michelin star family, continues the New Nordic movement with a menu focused on produce from the Danish island of Bornholm, the 'sunshine island' in the Baltic Sea. Meanwhile, the restaurant at Hotel Frederiksminde offers exceptional dining experiences, with ingredients of the highest quality with fresh assortments from the sea, seasonal game and delicacies from small, local suppliers.
For the past decade, Copenhagen has blazed its own trail as one of the world's leading gastronomic hotspots but gastronomy in Aarhus has also seen huge advancements in recent years with many new restaurants, bars and cafés adding to the city’s evolving culinary scene and making Aarhus more vibrant and stylish than ever. The kick-starter for the movement was the annual Aarhus Food Festival which has grown to become one of the largest in Scandinavia and will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. This lead to three of the city's acclaimed restaurant’s being recognised with a coveted Michelin star for the first time in 2015, all of which have maintained their star in the new Michelin Nordic Guide 2016.
Headlining these three is Restaurant Frederikshøj where Wassim Hallal shows off his extraordinary talent for top level international cuisine accompanied by a superb wine collection and comfort in the midst of a protected forest next to the Mindeparken in Aarhus.
With a more modest approach to its cuisine, Restaurant Substans also regained a star. Taking contemporary inspired dishes it combines a relaxed atmosphere with solid craftsmanship using organic ingredients from local producers, whilst a Bib Gourmand was handed out to Substans’s little brother, Pondus, for the second year in a row.
The third restaurant to be recognised with a star again this year is Restaurant Gastromé which aims to unite gourmet rural cuisine with the raw, urban cuisine of the city, transforming the countryside gastronomy of the Vilhelmsborg Forest in to the urban setting of the restaurant’s city centre location.
Meanwhile, well priced Hærværk picked up a Bib Gourmand for its delicious tasting menus yet again. These rely on a varied daily menu depending on the availability of ingredients and leading to spontaneously changes according to individual variances of the product. The tasting menus for each table may even vary leading to a unique and personal experience.
Building on the many new gastronomy initiatives and showing the strengthening cooperation between chefs and food manufacturers, the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism has awarded Aarhus and the surrounding area the title of European Region of Gastronomy for 2017 augmenting an already packed calendar of gastronomic experiences and events.
As the cradle of the New Nordic Cuisine and with a distinctive terroir for growing some of the best produce in the world, culinary aficionados flock to Denmark to experience a wide range of unforgettable culinary experiences – from oyster safaris to foraging!
A great way for visitors to experience Denmark's tasty food scene is at one of the country's many food festivals. The Danish capital is sizzling with events for foodies of all ages during the 10 day Copenhagen Cooking festival in August. Events include food markets, wine and cocktail tastings, street kitchens and "Taste of Copenhagen", allowing diners to experience some of the city's best restaurants at lower prices.
Aarhus, Denmark's second city, hosts the annual Food Festival, set in the city's beautiful bay each September. The festival has fast become a fixture on every food lover's calendar with a wide range of special events and tastings – from seaweed safaris to sausage-making and cabbage workshops, to gourmet picnics along the shore.
Grønbech & Chirchill (2 stars) (UPDATE: Closed as of 31st October 2016)
Guide Michelin was founded in 1900 as handbooks for motorists but became the benchmark of good food after the introducing a star-rating system in 1926, publishing regular updates on thousands of restaurants in a list of countries.