After Berlin, Ditte and I flew to her hometown of Copenhagen. I was so excited to see Denmark for the first time. Unfortunately, I came down with a wicked cold at the end of our stay in Berlin and by the time we got to Copenhagen, I could barely breathe. A lot of our site-seeing had to be cancelled and instead Ditte and her lovely partner had to take care of a sick Bazu passed out on her couch! So a lot of this post is going to be about lovely vegan homecooking. And you know what? When you're traveling through Scandinavia in the dead of winter, a little warm food at home can be the most healing and wonderful thing ever!
European vegans are spoiled for choice when it comes to various sandwich spreads! Above you see some slices of hearty brown bread with, clockwise from bottom, Tartex "liverwurst", Streich, vegan cream cheese, and a roasted red pepper spread.
Homemade soup with deep-fried tofu.
All this wonderful nourishment (and a lot of sleep!) helped me be able to get out of the house by my third day. And oh my goodness- if there is one thing worth leaving the house for, it's freshly baked vegan chocolate croissants, am I right? These were heavenly. I'm ashamed of how many I ate in my few days in Copenhagen...
We went to Ditte's friend Asla's house, and boy was I in luck, because Asla had just made a fresh batch of a classic Danish dish, pictured above. This was warm øllebrød (beer bread) bread pudding, a holiday dish that is indescribable. It's a dark rye bread pudding made with a special kind of beer:
This Christmas brew is sweet and very very low in alcohol. It makes for an amazing bread pudding- a deep and complex flavor, accentuated with a bit of sugar on top. I crave this all the time now, but where to find Danish Christmas beer???
Part of Ditte's job is running a soup kitchen of sort. She cooks a big vegan feast, and people can come and eat whatever they want and donate whatever they can. I was so happy to be able to help her out, it was fun working together, and I got invaluable experience in cooking large batches of food in a commercial kitchen.
And we made a big sweet potato soup, and some rice to go on the side. It was so cool to make the food, and then sit down with everyone and eat the yummy results!
By the end of the week, I was feeling all better, so we were able to arrange a meet-up in Malmö, a southern Swedish city that is a short train ride from Copenhagen. I was really happy to get a chance to go back to Sweden (after my trip to Stockholm to visit my uncle the previous month), but extra excited because of who we were meeting up with...
Vegbitch!! That's right, everyone's favorite Swedish vegan, Emmie, and her wonderful partner Alex showed us around Malmö. In the above photo, from left to right, you see Alex, Emmie, Ditte, and me.
The first thing we did was check out Astrid & aporna, a huge health food store with a most intriguing selection of goods. Above, you see vegan lobster. !!!! Realistic, eh?
I remembered loving these Tofuline ice cream bars, but had never tried this flavor before: pear! It was good, even on a freezing day.
For fun, we then visited a store selling American things, like the cans of pumpkin, above. It gave me a tiny bit of homesickness, seeing "normal" American grocery items in an exotic context.
We checked out a Polish supermarket, where we found soy chicken cutlets, above. (How weird for an American and a Dane to go to Sweden to meet up with a Swede and a Briton, only to go to a Polish market to buy vegan goods... ah, globalization...)
For lunch, we went to Vegegården, a mostly vegan (some vegetarian items) restaurant that had an all-you-can-eat buffet. We were spoiled for choice!
After lunch and some more walking around, we sat down at an Espresso House, which is a chain of coffee shops. After double-checking that their mocha mix was vegan, we ordered these soy mocha lattes- they hit the spot!
Did I mention that this was the first time I saw snow while staying in Europe? Pretty good for a displaced Syracusean! I want to thank Ditte for showing me such great hospitality and caring for me when I was sick. I want to thank Emmie and Alex for meeting up with us and showing us around for a day of fun and conversation (and good food!). I think staying with local vegans and forming friendships is such a privilege, and pretty much the best part of traveling. I was glad to be feeling better, because soon it was time to leave Copenhagen to go back to London and on to Belfast from there...
To see all my Copenhagen and Malmö photos, click here.