Denmark increases prices on fatty foods, fat tax or “fat lie”?

It’s no secret that Denmark has a very high cost of living and with 25% sales tax on all items, including food and clothing, most everything costs a bit more here. I will admit it was odd to see people stockpiling butter the other day, the day before the new “fat tax” was imposed. What was even more astonishing was seeing how a small bag of nuts cost around 50 Dkr, or around $10, or full fat milk cost significantly more than low-fat. I had to wonder if this fat tax has something more to do with compensating for other economic troubles than it does keeping the nation trim. I don’t deny that the idea of imposing a “fat tax” is brilliant, and I totally support it, but when you ask a Dane on the street if they plan to cut out their morning pastry, the answer is, “no.”

Another view is that some say fat is not the real culprit, it’s salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Here is a list of coverage regarding the tax. What’s your view?

Denmark’s fat tax – Washington Post

Denmark Institutes First-Ever ‘Fat Tax’ – Time

Denmark levies world’s first fat tax –

Fat tax draws foreign attention – Copenhagen Post

Denmark Imposes A ‘Fat Tax’ – CBS Minnesota

Fat Tax Launch Leaves ‘A Lot Of Empty Shelves’ – Sky News

Taxing fat in cultures that see it as prosperity – The Economic Times

VAT on FAT? – Kipper Report


Denmark Imposes “Fat Tax”

Denmark Imposes The World’s First ‘Fat Tax’

New Media — Copenhagen Art & Lifestyle Magazines

Just discovered two magazines dedicated to art & lifestyle in Copenhagen.

Check them out!


Bitchslap Magazine —




Nordic Fashion in Seattle

This year’s Icelandic-based Nordiska Fashion Biennale, an exhibition that showcases Nordic fashion and accessories, will take place for the first time in the U.S. in Seattle. Co-produced by the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, where the event will take place from Sept. 30-Nov. 13, and the Nordic House in Reykjavik, the event will focus on the themes of sustainability, cultural heritage and branding. A side music event will take place in Seattle on Nov. 5, called “Sister City Showcase, Reykjavik Calling,” featuring both Icelandic and Seattle-based bands, as well as some from the Faroe Islands. Icelandic bands include:

The Nordic Fashion Biennale was launched first by the Nordic House, Reykjavik in 2009, and included more than 60 designers, artists, musicians and speakers. The major focal point of the event will be an exhibition called
“Looking Back to Find our Future,” curated by New York-based Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir a.k.a Shoplifter, known for her work with Björk and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The event will be kicked-off on Sept. 30 with a two-day Summit featuring a number of presentations made by international design experts such as Yvan Mispelaere, creative director at Diane Von Furstenberg, and Gudrun & Gudrun Tone Skårdal Tobiasson from NICE, among others. In addition, three Danish designers, Henrik Vibskov, Barbara í Gongini and Bibi Chemnitz (Faroese brand) will represent Denmark. Other well-known Scandinavian brands represented will be: Sandra Backlund of Sweden, Norwegian Moods of Norway, and Steinunn of Iceland. A full list of designers with profiles can be found here.

On the event’s website, they highlight: “Looking Back to Find our Future will include cutting-edge contemporary fashion, design, and installations throughout the Museum that will blur past and present, highlighting traditions of craft and creativity in Nordic design. The exhibition will demonstrate how important the influences of nature and heritage are for Nordic designers.”

An additional component of the event is a design competition called North by Northwest (N x NW) aimed to “inspire creativity, encourage emerging designers to seek out new directions, and spark awareness of new trends in Nordic fashion.”

Two winners will win a trip to Iceland during the Reykjavik Fashion Festival.

For more info, visit:

Fruit Picking & Organic Farms in Denmark

Since it’s harvest time, I decided to look up some places around the country to pick or harvest fruit, mainly berries, plums and apples. Here is a useful website if you want to venture out and “pluk selv” / pick yourself!

Here is a site dedicated to places where you can pick Danish strawberries:

A secret source (a family friend), tipped me off on where to find blackberries, my all-time favorite berry, in the wild. The area in the southern part of Zealand, “Knudshoved Odde” should have loads of blackberries right now but for those closer to Copenhagen, there should be some in Amager fælled from Bryggebroen to ITU (the Technical University) where the path comes out of the fælled at the roundabout, Ørestad Boulevard / Tom Kristensensvej.

Also, if you’re interested in visiting an organic farm, visit Økologisk landsforening to find a shop or farm that you can visit and go right to the source for your fruit and veg. We visited one based on the honor system. You just put your money in a box and take what you wish.

Many also have gårdbutikker, or “farm shops”. Here you can find a list of gårdbutikker around Denmark.

A Poet’s Last Song by H.C. Andersen

Bear me but hence, thou mighty Death,

to where the souls abide me!

Forward I’ve gone with fearless breath

the way that God did guide me.

The songs I sang, O God, were thine–

unguessed the weather that filled them;

’twas little art they held of mine;

like bird on bough I thrilled them.

Farewell, red rose of fragrant breath,

farewell, ye dear ones yonder!

Bear me but hence, thou mighty Death,

though here ’twas good to wander.

Thanks be to God for all he gave

and ceaseth not from sending.

Fly, Death, o’re Times’ eternal wave

where summer waits unending!

Me & The Little Mermaid

This cartoon about the Little Mermaid was in the local paper in Dallas. My mother sent it to me years ago and I found it the other day as I was going through my keepsakes in advance of our upcoming move back to the U.S.

It’s funny because when I look a bit more into the story, I realize that I have more in common with the Little Mermaid than I thought. I, like her, gave up my life in the U.S., for her, the sea, for the love of a human “prince.” She also sacrificed her identity as a mermaid to take on that of a human in order to gain a human soul. I too gave up some of my “American” identity when moving to Europe, and particularly Denmark, where I began to adopt some of the local customs and traditions.

What’s striking also is that some say H.C. chose this plot, and especially the much-debated happy or sad ending about how the mermaid dies and becomes an “immortal” creature of the air (from mermaid to human to spirit), as a way to express his struggle with his identity. Critics say that H.C. was using the tale as a way of “repressing his own feminine identity and sexual desires and that he metaphorically removes sexuality from his character,” as stated in a blog discussing his feminist perspective in some of his tales. She “represses female sexuality in order to attain the feminine ideal.”

However, according to the Wikipedia entry about the story, “There are interpretations that suggest the little mermaid did not give up everything for love alone.” The entry states that, “The tale presents a rare heroine with investigative curiosity because she is fascinated by the unknown, the forbidden, and is intent on broadening her horizons from the beginning. She wants, above all, to explore the world and discover things that are beyond what she already knows. The world above, for her, holds a greater range of possibilities to exercise her adventurous spirit. This is demonstrated, in some versions, when the prince has a page boy’s costume made for the little mermaid so that she may ride on horseback and explore the land with him. This willingness to cross-dress shows signs of her willingness to transgress gender boundaries and take risks to be able to see the world.”

Perhaps this too is what motivated me to move half way across the world and live in a foreign land, learn to speak a different language, and act in new ways. Perhaps it was so I could also broaden my horizons and see things from another point of view.

Nordic Music…Right Now

Some Scandinavian hits that hit the spot.

Danish Crafts Launches New Designs in Paris

This year, Danish Crafts, an organization aimed at branding and promoting Danish craft and design, is launching 31 new designs named Danish Crafts Collection 15, or CC15, at the Maison&Objet exhibition in Paris this week (Sept. 9-13 in Hal 7, stand H 176). In addition, one of Paris’ most famous department stores, Galeries Lafayette, will showcase three products from the collection during the fair.

In the official press release (link posted below), Danish Crafts says the designs are following the same line as Noma and the Danish fashion industry who are drawing on inspiration from the past and creating fresh new works based on classic Danish historical roots and traditions. This also includes the values of craftmanship and using natural materials.

The three designs on display at Galeries Lafayette are:

1) MeyerLavigne’s unique savings boxes “Need More – Think Twice”

2) The storage system “Colour Stack” by Henriette

3) The stool ”Granny” by Jonas Klein

Other designs to be featured at the exhibition are:

Bow-Wow Stool, Morten Emil Engel

Bottle Dish, Bettina Schori

Food Chain & Hunger, Hanne Louise Nielsen

Hapilu, Pia Lund Hansen

Berry Sphere Necklace, Julie Bach


Folded Dish, Helene Søs Schjødts

Office Tools, Thomas Wagner

Acid Alice, Anders Arhøj

Dropvase, Bettina Schori


Danish Crafts will launch 31 fresh products in the new Danish Crafts Collection CC15 at Maison&Objet in Paris – one of the world’s leading design fairs for professional buyers and manufacturers. The collection is on display 9-13 September 2011.

New Nordic Spreading — NYT & Mad FoodCamp

Looks like the New York Times is getting a whiff of New Nordic with its article “New Nordic Cuisine Draws Disciples,”and taking a serious look at this new trend in the culinary world. The article comes just in time for the Copenhagen Cooking festival currently underway, and Claus Meyer’s MAD (“food”) FoodCamp this coming weekend.

While The Times does a good job at taking a closer look at New Nordic, it fails to really define what “NEW” Nordic is versus “traditional” Nordic. The idea of Nordic as a culinary style is interesting and intriguing, however it still lacks a clear definition as such. The article does state that chefs in the region would rather the culinary movement be termed “authentic cuisine” rather than “New Nordic,” and zones in on the essence of Nordic highlighting that,  “Instead of the new (techniques, stabilizers, ingredients), it emphasizes the old (drying, smoking, pickling, curing, smoking) with a larger goal of returning balance to the earth itself.”

Even this in itself is showing how “new” Nordic is in essence “old school.” What’s new is the application of these old values: local, seasonal, pure and ethical cooking, as well as using some new methods (using molecular gastronomy + pure and raw materials, for example). You can’t tell me that Noma doesn’t use some pretty high-tech equipment alongside a pair of scissors for snipping up those cute little pea shoots!

Following is an article I wrote on New Nordic that includes opinions about the movement given by some of the top chefs in Copenhagen. It’s fantastic that New Nordic is gaining momentum and that there are chefs in the U.S. “championing” Redzepi’s work, however it would be nice to see other chefs and restaurants jump on the bandwagon in the Nordics so it’s not just Noma that’s hurling it off the ground.

Restaurant Herman’s modern version of an old Danish classic brændt kærlighed or “burning love,” (halibut, red beets, bacon, onions, and mashed potatoes). Herman’s forte is modernizing classic mor mor (grandmother) food. In his version, he makes the potato puree with a siphon to carbonize and make light and airy. The fish is served with pearl onions, razor-thin sliced red beets, watercress and edible flowers dusted with the charcoal from the grilled pearl onions.

New Nordic Cuisine Comes Into Fashion

Copenhagen Exclusive Magazine

By Laura Stadler-Jensen

A 10 point manifesto published in 2006 set the agenda for those willing to subscribe. Is there really such a thing as a “Nordic” kitchen? If so, what is it and what does the future hold?

The famed chef Ferran Adriá of the world’s best restaurant El Bulli set out to evolve the kitchen with 23 principles he calls a, “Synthesis of elBulli cuisine.” Point number 16 states: “Regional cuisine as a style is an expression of its own
geographical and cultural context as well as its culinary traditions. Its bond with nature complements and enriches this relationship with its environment.”
Perhaps this is what set the stage for New Nordic maverick Claus Meyer to lead the charge and become the driving force for the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto.

Not long after the manifesto was published the Nordic Council of Ministers adopted it and it became the foundation programs that have given wings to the initiative with its aim to, “inspire people and companies to develop Nordic food products and culture and increase their visibility.” Efforts span across the industry and it’s already shaping the way kitchens prepare and present dishes, how suppliers produce and market their goods, and how consumers view, purchase and consume them.

What is New Nordic Food?

The Nordic countries have long been associated with concepts like purity (think Norwegian fjords and Greenlandic glaciers), nature (Icelandic geothermal hot springs and volcanoes), and simplicity (Danish design). Age-old food preparations such as salting, curing, pickling and smoking have never really gone out of fashion, and are experiencing a sort of renaissance, like traditional fare from “mormors” (grandma’s) kitchen is. Other important pillars include the use of seasonal raw materials, and a focus on health and well-being, animal welfare, and sound production and cultivation practices.

“The movement’s real achievement is that it will make deep impressions in the shifting values and process we are witnessing in society,” said Claus Meyer. “There is a clear move in the food industry (including policy, agriculture, and food science), that is deemphasizing industrialized manufacturing and focusing more towards crafted, authentic and natural products.”

They say that food in this region is unique due to the cold climate and light-filled summer days. I have to say that as an immigrant, I can taste the difference. There is a special kind of rustic yet simple mineral-rich flavor that can only be experienced when tasting a Danish apple, potato, carrot, or red beat. Claus Meyer refers to a distinct Nordic terroir (how the local environment affects a product). He says, “Temperature conditions create a very unique environment for plant growth. Red wines from Burgundy, peppers from Espelette in the Basque region, Faroese early turnips, and so on, differ because they are affected by the terroir in which they are grown.”

Two-star Michelin restaurant noma is often seen as the de facto restaurant epitomizing New Nordic. Since being named the 10th best in the world in 2008 according to Restaurant magazine, noma is doing a lot to raise the profile of the
Nordic kitchen internationally. They are unique in the sense that they only use Nordic ingredients and don’t use olive oil, for example, because it’s not Nordic. What they do work with are items such as langoustines from the Faeroe Islands; halibut and cod from Iceland; and lamb, musk ox, and cloud berries from Greenland and other delicacies unique to the region.

“Why not make New Nordic Food a concept as strong and substantial as French cuisine? Or Japanese?,” said Halldór Ásgrímsson, secretary general for the Nordic Council of Ministers. “Although Nordic cuisine spans a range of food
cultures – Danish, Icelandic, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish – the different cuisines intersect at many points.”

Where Are Things Headed?

Efforts to promote this new ideology have reached international audiences with the “New Scandinavian Cooking,” TV series where Claus Meyer of Denmark, Andreas Viestad from Norway, and Tina Nordström from Sweden
are shot on location at exotic locals illustrating the essence of the Nordic kitchen. But are exhibitions, TV shows and assemblies (alongside the list of principles), enough to infiltrate an industry and change the way people do

Apparently the answer is, yes. In my research as a writer for an upcoming guidebook on Scandinavia, I’ve had the opportunity to visit several restaurants and cafes in Copenhagen. To my surprise almost all of the places I visited have in some degree or another highlighted their use of local and seasonal Nordic ingredients. What seems to be the case is that many of the top gourmet restaurants in particular are adopting the New Nordic manifesto in their own way.

Many choose the best ingredients (those with the most taste and gastronomic value), and continue to source from other origins while staying true to their own philosophies. Paul Cunningham from The Paul who focuses on more classic continental cuisine and Thomas Herman from Nimb Herman who reinvents traditional Danish dishes, both in Tivoli Gardens, and Jakob Mieklcke from Mielcke & Hurtigkarl, a new international contemporary restaurant, share this view.

“I use Danish products and endorse its use, but I’m also very inspired by different spices, which often get left out of the idea of what the Nordic kitchen is,” said Jakob Mielcke, head chef and partner of Mielcke & Hurtigkarl. As Jakob points out, “Spices like cardamom, bay leaf, black peppercorn, juniper berries and cinnamon have been used in the Danish kitchen for centuries and how they are combined with the raw materials themselves are another important aspect in defining the Nordic kitchen.”

Take Restaurant Kiin Kiin, a gourmet Thai kitchen (and one of only two with a Michelin star in the world). It has a farm in Denmark growing produce especially for the restaurant, and imports ingredients directly from Thailand. Formel
B also has its own farmer in Lammefjorden and states that it’s “rooted in the classic French kitchen but based on Danish raw materials.”

Some see Nordic as a growing trend. Partner and chef of Restaurant Geranium Søren Ledet, also a modern Northern European kitchen, sees the Nordic kitchen concept making its way into the international food scene in years to
come. “In five to six years, you will see more restaurants around the world with a Nordic kitchen. Restaurants like Aquavit inNew York will become more common,” he said.

While the leading restaurants have their own interpretations, a great majority is moving in a broader direction towards creating and defining New Nordic. Even though the lines are blurred between what one might consider an authentic Nordic kitchen and those that morph international influences with the best of what the Nordic region has to offer, there is clearly a movement taking place.

“What’s important to understand is that there is a distinction between the Nordic cuisine movement based on the manifesto and the restaurant noma with its own unique approach to Nordic cuisine,” Meyer clarifies. “The manifesto is a guiding light, an ideology and is not imperialistic. It’s open for interpretation and since it is based partially on the Slow Food idea of ‘good, clean and fair food’, its values serve as the building blocks for creating a broadly acknowledged regional cuisine that represents the Nordic society as a whole – one that it rightly deserves.”

According to Ferran Adría, “Nordic cuisine is expected to become the world’s next great cuisine.” Whether or not it will become a staple kitchen like the French, Italian or Spanish only time will tell.

Learn About New Nordic Food

Restaurants mentioned in the article:

Noma –

Strandgade 93

1401 Copenhagen K

Tel: +45 3296 3297

The Paul –

Tivoli Gardens

Vesterbrogade 3

Tel. +45 3375 0775

Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

Frederiksberg Runddel 1

Tel. +45 36 34 84 36

Nimb Herman –

Bernstorfssgade 5

Tel. +45 88 70 00 00

Kiin Kiin –

Guldbergsgad 21

Tel. +45 35 35 75 55

Formel B –

Vesterbrogade 182

Tel. +45 33 25 10 66

Geranium –

Kronprinsessegade 13

Tel. +45 33 11 13 04

Meyer’s Deli –

Kgs. Nytorv 13 (Inside
Magasin department store)

Or Gl. Kongevej 107 in

Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen

As Nordic chefs we find that the time has now come for us to create a New Nordic Kitchen, which in virtue of its good taste and special character compares favorable with the standard of the greatest kitchens of the world. The purposes of the New Nordic Kitchen are as follows:

1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics that we would like to associate with our region.

2. To reflect the different seasons in the meals.

3. To base cooking on raw materials which characteristics are especially excellent in our climate, landscape and waters.

4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge about health and well-being.

5. To promote the Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to disseminate the knowledge of the cultures behind them.

6. To promote the welfare of the animals and a sound production in the sea and in the cultivated as well as wild landscapes.

7. To develop new possible applications of traditional Nordic food products.

8. To combine the best Nordic cooking procedures and culinary traditions with impulses from outside.

9. To combine  local self-sufficiency with regional exchange of high-quality goods.

10. To cooperate with representatives of consumers, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, fishing industry, food industry, retail and wholesale industry, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this joint project to the benefit and advantage of all in the Nordic countries.