Tuesday, July 10, 2012

København - Copenhagen - hej hej - bye bye

This city feels like a port to me, well IT IS, but in the sense that I only ever visit it to farewell people. It's a place that in my mind is tangled in the ticker tape of hello and goodbye festivities. This is actually purely coincidental, it's not a transient city at all, and the people who leave are escaping after loooong periods of living here, it's all in my head - still, it does nothing to break the impression. 

This weekend, I made the visit to celebrate/mourn/party with several legendary people, a few of who are leaving to far away lands. In alphabetical order:

Birta Fróðadóttir:

An Icelandic polar bear hunter* by trade, Birta is soon heading to Canada to focus her attention on hand to hand combat with wild Kodiak bears, so we celebrated her pending  departure in style, with the finest brut €5 can buy.
*Before you call PETA, she's actually an Icelandic stArchitect who is moving to Toronto to embark on an interdisciplinary masters degree at OCAD university. Smart AND good looking I hear you say? Yes, some people are complete jerks like that.

Erich Gerlach:

The sweaty, strawberry-blonde American architectural giant who infamously coined the popular phrase "I like you more than 2 litres of cumshots" (true story).
An absolute demon on the dancefloor, and a stalwart in the underground crap-rap scene, he is departing to New York since his bloody VISA has bloody expired. Bloody hell, I know how that one goes. I have a feeling some of us will see him again soon though :)

Johanna Goodlife:

Last but not least I was there for the birthday of Johanna; the cute-as-buttons curator of Copenhagen's mini-Roskilde Festival. While most of Copenhagen's residents were at the actual Roskilde festival (which probably sucked walrus cock in comparison), Johanna organised her own under a shelter in a public park. 

The line-up included one damned good violinist & two complete strangers who were very-decent (although very stoned) blues guitarists. She found them getting high and practising songs down the other end of the park, and although the individual components perhaps sound a little shady, the outcome was mind-blowingly good!

Anyway, what follows is a blow by blow account of my holiday with the people who matter, and more photos than is decent for a blog post.

Firstly, I was welcomed into Copenhagen with open arms (and an open fridge) for breakfast by this dear girl, who served up a banquet of fresh fruit, and the most delicious (and also expensive) bread I've ever eaten. At 60 Kr per loaf, this would convert to about $12NZD - maybe this is why the danes are all so thin...

On top of this, we had home brewed lattes and a freshly juiced fruit/vege combo, with apples, carrot and mango (i think). I actually felt like I was drinking liquid energy, so good!

I also think I'm probably going to hell for finding this spastic logo kind of hilarious. Handicup!? OH COME ON.

Today was Johanna's birthday party, and she asked everyone to bring a dish to eat. Birta decided a focaccia bread and a watermelon, parsley, feta & sunflower seed salad would be welcome dishes; I couldn't have have agreed more. After mixing together the focaccia dough, we covered it up and made a trip to Torvehallerne market at Norreport Station to pick up some Rosemary and olives which we'd use to flavour our bread. It's a very slick indoor market with stores selling everything from fresh vegetables and herbs to high end chocolates & truffles, & many other things in between.

Speaking of sweet treats, I was drawn into trying this Danish specialty from master chocolatiers at Anthon Berg, it's called Flødebolle! It's a sweet chocolate shell with a foamy creamy filling resting on a marzipan base, quite original, and definitely tasty. It's worth mentioning that the Danes are absolute perverts when it comes to marzipan, they would drown their own mother for a block of good quality marzipan chocolate, and the high quality stuff is definitely quite a different experience from the only crap that I'd tried before this trip.

One stall that particularly got my attention was that of ASA; an ethically sourced and socially conscious spice market run by director Julian Amery. After working for over 3 decades in the restaurant industry, in 2008 Julian embarked on a 2 year solo journey traveling east. During his voyage he traversed some truly magical territory, and befriended many expert producers of fine flavours. For his full story, and company vision (accompanied by awe inspiring photography), go here. I also recognized the ASA branding because I'd seen it on Behance by designer Peter Ørntoft.

I also really just loved the display cabinet with all of its asymmetrical lines.

Now, I couldn't very well go on a trip to the markets and not talk about FISK. Yes, they have FISK everywhere in Denmark.

Here's some FISK.

This place definitely sells FISK.

These FISK are having a singalong.

This place only serves boutique FISK. But the guy working there loves FISK, his tshirt says so.

That might be a dead RABBIT hanging there, but these guys are definitely all about the FISK.

This old FISK probably loves a good FISK.

After all the excitement of the market, I was ready to murder a coffee. Thankfully, Birta is a coffee-monster, and is friends with Denmark's 2012 Barista Champion, Torfi Þór Torfason (friends in high places, also a bonus). So we went to his workplace, the world famous Coffee Collective. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I don't know the science or technique for making good coffee, or really what constitutes it, I just sure as hell know when I am, or am not drinking it.

This was definitely a REALLY GOOD coffee.

Caffeine-content aubergine and ham legs.

When we got home, it was time to check on the foccaccia dough. It was starting to resemble something from Aliens, which is always a good sign.

I also don't have the recipe for this foccaccia (sorry), because it was from a Scandanavian cookbook, and I wasn't going to waste my time transcribing, or translating it. It's worth mentioning that it was a really fast recipe, and surprisingly simple. Look one up!

ARGHHHH, god that bread was so good. I want it back in my face, NOW! Next up we have the super tasty watermelon salad, it was simply watermelon, red onion, sliced feta (or similar creamy goats cheese), flat leave parsley chopped, with toasted pumpkin seeds. It is the best salad I've had since the mango soba noodle one a few posts back.

It was time to head to Johanna's birthday party, the weather was juuuust holding it together, only ever so slightly threatening to rain. When we arrived, the dishes were already laid out and looking mighty tempting.

Top Right clockwise: Potato salad with radish, basil and watercress. Watermelon, feta, red onion and parsley salad. Foccaccia with rosemary, unpitted olives, coarse sea salt. Unknown pie. Chick pea salad with harrissa, chilli, coriander and garlic.

Raw food sushi, made with hummus, carrots, cucumber, baby spinach, pickled ginger and sesame seeds. Greek salad.

Mixed nut and chocolate cake, with kiwifruit and strawberry. DAMN,

A big old plate of all things heavenly.

This was a little late arrival, smoked trout from Iceland. Not just smoked, SHIT SMOKED. Yeah, apparently it's smoked in sheep dung, but it was a very mild flavour. I loved it, it sure put a shit-eating grin on my face.

Despite the fact that this was also a goodbye party for loved ones, everybody was in high spirits, and happy to be in the moment with that person. We all drank, played limbo, jumped rope, banged on drums, fiddled with violins, blew on recorders, sang songs & told stories. It was one of the best parties I've ever been to, and I really only captured a glimpse of it. A handful of us ended the night drinking and sweating up a storm on the dance floor of the bar Gefährlich, to a couple of young babes playing a plethora of post punk, it couldn't have ended better really.

The following day, after a good sleep in, we basked in Copenhagen's sun, who wore his Sunday best, a glorious blue robe of sky as far as the eye could see. After a swim in the canal, we were to lounge around until my time came to farewell these Icelandic faerie children. The sadness finally sets in, you remember once again that the love affair you have with a city, is actually with its inhabitants, and that no amount of marzipan or expensive bread can fill the holes that these people leave when they pack their bags. Thank you all for coming together with open hearts, we'll see each other in the next place called home.
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