Pork Love: Denmark

Pork Butcher
Pork Butcher

The most surprising and impressive food find I was introduced to is the Danish love of pork. Yes, pork was all over the menus. From bacon and pork belly to roasts and a whole pig’s head served on a platter. Many of the smørrebrød had an essence of pork; from slabs of bacon and pork meatballs to pork chops and crispy pork bits. Oh, I’m not complaining – pork, and bacon, makes everything taste better.

In addition, the Danish table enforced farm-to-table dining. The Danes pride themselves on serving locally grown herbs, vegetables and locally raised pork and seafood – we can’t forget the seafood. And a lot of these foods were served pickled and/or smoked: herring and vegetables alike. (I’m getting back to the pork. Hold your horses.)

I didn’t make it to noma – one of the best restaurants in the world; but I did enjoy a succulent feast at Bror – founded by former chefs of noma. Noma, and its founder Chef René Redzepi, is known as one of the influencers of the Modern Nordic Food Movement in Denmark (and probably the rest of Scandinavia). And the influence has definitely trickled down to other eateries and at the home kitchen (as presented by my friend Pernille).

The team at Bror incorporated that Danish farm-to-table and modern food movement into their seasonal menu. We were presented with two appetizers: smoked squid in a wine butter sauce (served in a teacup) and thick slices of juicy pork belly topped with currants. Our starter dish was fresh raw cod on roasted squash. And our main dish was a thick succulent slice of, you guessed it, pork.

As we noshed on our juicy pork steak, we looked over at the excitement happening in the kitchen. The chefs were plating a huge pig head on a board. The head was sliced in two, down the middle and both halves were garnished with greens and served to a table of five young and rowdy men. We asked our server what was going on (pig head was not on the menu) – she explained that the group of men were chefs from over the bridge in Sweden and that the pig head is a special dish that must be called in ahead of time. One of those “secret menu item” situations. The pig head, or bacon face as one of my companions referred to it, was a beautiful sight. It may be an item to order on the next trip.

Viva Pork!

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