Regional Cuisine from the Sunshine Isle of Bornholm

Food — By Jane Graham on January 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Copenhagen’s restaurants found recognition across the globe by turning ‘Nordic cuisine’ into a marketable brand. The latest trend, however, looks to be even more regionally specific: the Bornholm kitchen takes the very best in raw ingredients from the farms and waters around this Danish island.

An island in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Poland, Danish-owned Bornholm is a traditional vacation spot for summering Danes, who have dubbed the destination ‘the sunshine island’. Its characteristics are its rolling hills, the sandy beaches along its southern coast, rocky cliffs and fortified ruins at Hammershus, its distinctive, white-painted round church towers—and its cuisine.

Bornholm’s cuisine is known primarily for its freshly-caught fish, including herring smoked according to old-fashioned methods over wood in smokeries on the island. But its uniquely-flavored, handmade produce doesn’t stop there: Some of the world’s purest cold-pressed rapeseed oil is harvested and made on Bornholm, which is also famed for its mustard production and fiery schnapps, and can boast a thriving microbrewery at Svaneke.

Visitors to Copenhagen can experience a taste of Bornholm’s food culture at gourmet restaurant Koefoed in the city’s upscale Frederiksstaden district. With a recommendation in the Michelin Guide for three years in succession, Koefoed receives almost everything in its kitchen from Bornholm, and has its own herd of cattle as well as a sheep flock on the island. And while most Danes have heard of the classic smørrebrød dish ‘Sol over Gudhjem’ (sunrise over Gudhjem, named after a town on Bornholm and made with chives and egg on rye bread), Koefoed’s seasonal dishes include free-range lamb served with apples and root vegetables and cod freshly caught in the Baltic, accompanied by Bornholm’s own truffles.

The more established Restaurant Koefoed gained a rival recently when the popular summer restaurant on Bornholm, Kadeau, opened up another eatery, Kadeau København, in the old coaching inn Den Sorte Hest on Vesterbrogade late in 2011. With imaginative dishes like ‘grilled brill fish and cockles with cabbage and black salsify’ and a three-course menu priced quite reasonably at DKK 450, Kadeau has already won over the critics with its casual dining atmosphere combined with great attention to culinary detail.

Those looking to buy Bornholm ingredients to make their own island dishes can find them in many of the city’s supermarkets. In addition Bornholmerbutikken, a store stocking everything from the island, from mustard and schnapps to souvenirs, now has a branch in Copenhagen’s new market, Torvehallerne Kbh.

Image courtesy of Kadeau.

Tags: Bornholm, Danish islands, Danish seafood, regional cuisine