The Saints Day of Morten Bisp, otherwise known as St. Martin, falls on November 11 – this Thursday. In Denmark, it is customary to eat duck the evening before, Morten’s Evening.
The story behind the evening is this: Shy and humble St. Martin, not wishing to be elected bishop, chose instead to hide in a goose pen. When the gaggling geese gave him away with their noise, Martin was forced to become bishop and used his new position to punish the noisy birds by marking November 11 as a day dedicated to the killing and eating of geese.
And so in Medieval Europe – principally Germany and Denmark – geese were served with apples, currants and chestnuts. Today, however, as families have become smaller and geese rather expensive and extravagant for a party of four or less, a duck is generally served instead.
Should you wish to celebrate Morten’s Evening this week, here is the NileGuide selection of where to find the tastiest duck in the Danish capital.
- Wild duck is on the menu at Peder Oxe in Gråbrødretorv Square, where a Morten’s Evening meal can be enjoyed next to the restaurant’s warming open fire for DKK 198. The duck is cooked according to a traditional old recipe, with a rich sauce of game gravy and cream seasoned with port wine and a hint of Roquefort.
- Enjoy a very cosy and traditional two-course meal at Frederiksberg restaurant Sans Souci, where roast duck is prepared in true Danish style with browned potatoes, red cabbage, apples and prunes, along with apple pie for dessert: all for DKK 249 per person.
- The old 18th-century apothecary on Store Kongensgade, Restaurant Vita is serving an equally traditional and home-cooked Morten’s Evening menu for DKK 169.
- If you’d like to show off your hospitality skills at home this Morten’s Evening, you could cheat a little with a take-out meal from Meyer’s Deli on Gammel Kongevej. The three-course menu (which can also be enjoyed on the premises) comes with smoked salmon with beetroot and a sweet-sour creamy horseradish sauce as starter, followed by roast duck in red cabbage and cherry vinegar, roasted potatoes, a caramelised aspic sauce and a celeriac salad with vegetable salsa, followed by apple pie made from Meyer’s own apple plantation on the island of Lilleø, and costs DKK 285 per person.
- Should you prefer your duck more crispy and Peking than Scandinavian, established Chinese restaurant Yan’s Wok, close to the Planetarium, serves the best Peking duck in town – together with pancakes and hoi-sin sauce. Should you not be able to find it on the menu, try looking under ‘starters’ – though this really can suffice as a main meal.
Top photo credits: Flickr/ creative commons/ mrT. Lower photo courtesy of Slagter Lund.