Copenhagen: What to eat, drink and do this summer

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Copenhagen somehow seems to have become more complete. With the end of restrictions (which were lifted in January) and summer approaching, the city’s outdoor spaces have multiplied, designed to extract all the joy of summer. There are more harborside spots to drink wine and swim, while devotion to environmental sustainability has spawned a whole new hangout for greens. The Danish fetish for buttery pastries has turned into a veritable rash of new bakeries, while the wider food scene – already world-class – has gotten bigger and better. And in a city where bicycles are already the main mode of transport, Copenhagen is gearing up for its cycling apotheosis: the Tour de France starts here on July 1st.

For the first time in history, the Grand Depart of the Tour de France starts in Denmark, with a 13km time trial through the streets of Copenhagen before moving on, during days 2 and 3, to stages starting further west in Roskilde and See. On June 29, competing teams will be presented first in a city tour and then in a special event, complete with live music, at Tivoli Gardens. The first day’s race ends at Copenhagen’s city hall, but a big cycling-themed party will take place on Fælledparkenon Days 1 and 2, with live music, bike games for kids and big screens to watch. On the morning of July 2, the route will open to cyclists of all skill levels to ride a “Tour of Copenhagen”.

But that will hardly be the only celebration. Danes love a festival and are greeting a summer calendar that is once again filled with them with palpable relief. This year, all the old favorites – from the heavy metal paroxysms of Copenhagen and mellow vibes of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival to the gastronomic excesses of Copenhagen Cooking and the intellectual discussions of the Louisiana Literature Festival are back, and they’ve been rounded off with new additions like Syd to Solen. But the biggest of them all – more of a rite of passage than a mere festival – is Roskilde, which runs from June 29 to July 2. — 132 acts, including Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, and the Strokes — in their story.

Several cultural institutions in Copenhagen have used the pandemic to finalize long-planned improvements. The Danish Design Museum, which for a time was basically a maze of rooms full of chairs, reopens on June 19 after a two-year restoration, with an exhibition on how design can tackle global challenges like climate change and pandemics. And one of Europe’s finest collections of 19th-century French art got a new showcase earlier this year when Ordrupgaard opened his new wing, underground but open to the sky, on the edge of town.

But perhaps the most relevant renovation is the Museu da Liberdade. Formerly called the Danish Resistance Museum, it was destroyed by arson in 2013 and has been completely rebuilt from the ground up. His interactive exploration of how Germany’s largely unobstructed takeover of Denmark in 1941 gradually turned into active resistance that sabotaged German weapons and assembled a volunteer fleet of fishing boats to bring the country’s Jews to safety, is an especially poignant lesson these days.

Buoyed perhaps by two long lockdowns where coffee and cake to go were among the few remaining pleasures, the city that invented the Danes (although here they are called wienerbrød), has entered a new Golden Age of pastry. There’s now an independent bakery led by chefs in almost every neighborhood, and often long lines stretching down the sidewalk. Some of the newest ones to try: Albatross & Venner, Benji and Ard – not to mention Apotek 57 and Studio X, two cafes linked to different design stores, where they also make some mouth-watering homemade cakes.

The rest of the food scene is also thriving – perhaps a little too much. For all its fame as an international foodie destination, pre-pandemic Copenhagen still had a hard time convincing its residents that the restaurants were more than just birthday celebrations and weekend nights. But since the restrictions were lifted in January, they seem to have gotten the message; suddenly places at every level of the food chain are packed most nights.

Fortunately, there are a number of new places to meet the demand. Chef Christian Puglisi’s groundbreaking Relæ and his natural wine bar, Manfreds, closed during the pandemic, but from those losses, three exceptional points rose. At Koan, housed in what was once Relæ, chef Kristian Baumann injects some of the flavors and techniques of his Korean heritage into his precision-cut Nordic cuisine, for dishes like a plump, spicy mandu with fjord shrimp or a roasted Jerusalem artichoke served with a delicious crayfish cream. Across the street, in the cramped, convivial space that was Manfreds, its former chef, Mathias Silberbauer, serves joie de vivre at Silberbauers Bistro, along with laid-back Provencal cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood and comforts that satisfy soul, like onion pie and white bean stew.

After a residency at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, chef Jonathan Tam returned to Copenhagen and opened Jatak, an intimate gem of a restaurant designed by his wife, Sara Frilund, where refined dishes – delicate curves of raw brill combined with sweetness. of steamed pumpkin; endive strips, whose crunchy bitterness is enhanced and softened with a homemade sesame sauce – are a deeply personal reflection of Tam’s Cantonese origins, his many years as Relæ’s head chef, and his commitment to local produce.

New gastronomic districts are also emerging. Hidden in a postage stamp in a forest on the southwestern edge of the city, Banegården used to house Copenhagen’s railway works, but the wooden buildings have been repurposed by green food companies, including a farm shop, a locavore restaurant and, yes, a bakery — one with excellent croissants and a commitment to sustainability so serious there are no disposable cups; you can only get coffee to go through a deposit system for the thermal style cups.

But perhaps the most exciting transformation is on the stretch along the southern end of the city’s lakes. At Propaganda, Youra Kim’s Korean fried chicken, all gooey and spicy, is already iconic, and it, like her other high-stress dishes like grilled white asparagus and tteok, pair well with the impressive selection of natural wines. . And at Brasserie Prins, which manages to be cozy without falling into twee, American chef Dave Harrison takes advantage of his time cooking in Paris to make some very old-school French dishes – plush quenelles with Americaine sauce, a crispy pancake. fried veal brains, even a robust île flottante – somehow they look totally modern.

A city that has long lagged in interesting places to stay is finally catching up by transforming architecturally interesting spaces with history into inviting new hotels. A former university building centrally located behind the Round Tower, it has been transformed into 25Hours Copenhagen (from 1,296 kroner, or about $182, double occupancy), where the colorful rooms offer a nice visual break from all that Scandinavian minimalism, while the former post office, opposite Tivoli Gardens and Central Station, has been transformed into the imposing Villa Hotel (rates start at 2,331 crowns). Kanalhuset (also from 2,331 kroner) has transformed a canal house in the very hygge neighborhood of Christianshavn into a beautifully designed apartment hotel that offers optional community dinners every night. And two new places offer an even more individualistic experience: the bright and cozy Kaj houseboat (from 3,000 crowns), which comes with its own kayaks for guests to use, and the intensely chic The Darling (from 7,440 crowns). ), which features Danish Design and is filled with works from a varying list of acclaimed local artists.

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