YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO A SCANDI STAYCATION
Bored? Worried? Exhausted? And are you in need of getting your mojo back?
Then why not treat yourself to a little imaginary city break to Copenhagen? Let's be honest, lockdown, tiered systems, social distancing etc etc can be pretty upsetting. The inability to see and hug you best friends and family - not least up to and over the holidays and a big family events - feels bizarre and wrong. As humans we are social beings, and we love to explore, enjoy life and try new things. So though we intellectually fully understand the need for staying put and staying apart, emotionally we still crave to see people, stimulation and to wander the world.
So, here goes your complete guide to a Scandi staycation in the form of an imaginary city break to Copenhagen. I hope you will play along and challenge your tastebuds and inner child. The guide include suggestions for what to eat, do, see and read, which you can all do from your home wherever you live, all you need is a bit of online shopping for some food items.
Copenhagen Staycation Guide
In the words of Hans Christian Andersen ‘To travel is to live’. However, nurturing our wanderlust is off the table currently, so let’s resort to traveling in our minds. This little guide is meant as a little pick me up, and as a mental stimulus for your senses as you transcend yourself to Copenhagen, even if just for a little while.
So, here goes. All the food items listed are things you can get in UK online food stores in general or in the Scandi Kitchen. I have no affiliation to any of the businesses named, they simply carry lots of Scandi goodies.
First off, decide whether you want to do the whole weekend Scandi style, and then plan when, so you can shop online for the various food items, or whether you just want to do a Scandi evening. No checking flights with EasyJet nor Norwegian from Gatwick is required : )
Upon finishing your work Friday afternoon, pretend that you land in Copenhagen Airport at around 6 PM local time. You are a bit knackered, so you plan to just go for a meal and put your feet up.
You are staying in the city centre of Copenhagen, and have decided to go for a stroll for a glass of vino in one of the many vine bars in town aka your kitchen during lockdown ; ) If you were in Copenhagen I would head to Sans Souci, Falernum, Ancestrale or La Banchina to name but a few, as so many cosy vine bars are shooting up.
After a glass of vino, you and hubby stroll to Meyers, a Danish go to eatery, take away and bakery with many outlets, set up by the chef Claus Meyer. At the restaurant you opt for Salmon lasagne to get warmed up, add a green salad on the side if you so desire, yes, please. See similar recipe here by Emmy Duckie that you can make at home whilst on your Scandi staycation.
After dinner you stroll through Copenhagen on foot to your hotel, staycation style this means you could watch or re-watch Borgen, which is now available on Netflix, if you live in the UK. Borgen is a great insight into the Danish way of life and includes lovely footage from Copenhagen (on a side note, my first proper student job was as an assistant to two Danish MPs). Alternatively watch the Danish comedy-drama series Rita about a very chilled and direct Danish teacher (also available on Netflix UK). PS. not all Danish teacher are like Rita : )
Pass out on your bed : )
Blue skies ahead, so you decide to explore the local parks today, but first a hot followed by cold shower to wake up and then breakfast. Today calls for Scandi cinnamon buns, here are a two links for English language recipe classic buns and tilted.
Add chocolate glaced icing to go classic Copenhagen style cinnamon buns, it’s a fave in the RAW household. Make the dough the night before and let it rise cold in the fridge to save time in the morning. If you are actually in Copenhagen at a later date, then do try the 'Tebirkes' - a family fave, so yummy with the most yummy buttery vanilla filling that basically caramelises when baked. They are the ones with the many poppy seeds.
After breakfast, head out for a walk in your local area, pretend that you are heading for the botanical gardens, an old family favourite. After a trip to the Palm Garden head across Sølvgade to the National Gallery of Denmark. The Building is a typical example of old classic meets modern minimalist architecture, like the so-called Black Diamond aka the Royal Library (the prefect place to study for your exams). Seriously, you will love these spaces. Enjoy a cup of coffee overlooking Øster Anlæg at the Museum café or Copenhagen Harbour at the Black Diamond.
Time to put the fire on and your feet up, and indulge yourself in a classic Scandi crime thriller. I still love Jussi Adler-Olsen, the author of department Q, do read his books, if you want a classic well written whose's done it. Several of his books have also been made into movies, which can be rented online.
Feeling peckish again? Okay time to head out for lunch. If you were in Copenhagen I would recommend that you go to Aamanns for the traditional Danish open sandwiches, but there it is done with a modern twist and more gourmet like (they aren't in the Michelin Guide for noting).
You can easily make the so-called smørrebrød at home, and the sky really is the limit, when it comes to toppings, however, classic grainy rye bread is a must. You can find this bread in most UK stores from Aldi to Waitrose, where it is often called German rye bread. Here are a few suggestions for toppings:
Pickled herring for that true Scandi vibe
Warm smoked salmon shredded and stirred with crème fraise, salt and pepper, dill and lemon, so easy and so yummy
A vegan classic, sliced boiled potatoes with mayo, roasted onion and your fave herbs, I prefer rosemary
Kiddie fave; liver pate with either pickled or fresh cucumber or tomato, and then lots of salt and pepper
Feeling stuffed like a little piggy ? Then put your feet up
After a well-deserved rest, head out again for a walk, this time pretend that you are heading for a stroll by Copenhagen Harbour, pass through the Royal Palace and walk across the cycle bridge to Christianshavn and Papirøen for a cup of something warm. Emulate your stroll by a walk in the local area or catch up on Borgen on Netflix to feel as if you are in Copenhagen.
Dinner plans? Why not head to the trendy meat packing district, there are so many cool options there, like Fiskebaren. Whilst on staycation though, you can either do easy Saturday dinner by making Danish Hotdogs, vegan or pork. The Danish elements comes in as we add fresh onion, roasted onion, remoulade, ketchup, mustard, gherkin and pretty much anything else you can throw at a sausage : ) Alternatively make a nice Jerusalem artichoke soup with toasted rye bread chips on the side, it's super delish, and so nice on a cold winter's day. Click here for a yummy recipe.
After dinner it is time for some good old-fashioned board games. Danes love to play games. In particular games like Trivial Pursuit and Besserwisser. If you don’t already have these games, very few new versions are available, so I would then recommend checking out the many free equivalent apps, and then test and tease each other about your common knowledge and random facts.
Whilst playing why not indulge yourself in some Danish sweets like liquorice or foamy chocolate cover marshmallow bananas, again the Scandi kitchen carries many Danish as well as other Scandinavian treats to challenge and tease your tastebuds. You might need to be born a Scandi to love salty liquorice, but why not give it a try?
After fun and games put your feet up and read your new fave novel or catch up on Borgen till you pass out.
After a long lie in reading the papers online, start the day again with a hot and then cold shower. Winter bathing has been so trendy in Copenhagen for decades and a cold shower somewhat has the same effect. Your mood, hair and skin will love you for it.
Feeling all fresh and revitalised, why not try out one of the many new healthy gourmet porridge cafes like Grød, the Danish word for porridge. Whilst on lock down you could make your own gourmet porridge, click here for inspiration and recipes.
Head out for a stroll in Kings Garden or go for a shopping spree, staycation-style this means a walk in your surrounding area or online window shopping for xmas wishes or gifts.
Already hungry again: Homemade pizza - vegan style is on the menu. Maybe not so Scandi, however, Pizza er very popular in Denmark and a safe bet in the RAW household.
Make a normal pizza dough with durum flour, after it has risen, roll it out, sprinkle olive oil, spread a bundle of asparagus soaked in olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and top it off with slices of goat cheese. This recipe is so yummy, make a salad on the size to balance the carbs.
After lunch it’s time to get packing and head to the airport, but luckily for you, you can just stay a home and catch up on your book, Borgen or Rita, and enjoy a lovely chilled Sunday.
As for dinner Sunday, you are probably tired, so just indulge yourself in the left overs, take it easy and snuggle up by the fire with your new found love for salty liquorice.