Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Open sandwiches - a Scandinavian Food story

If you want to find something typical Scandinavian to eat, may I recommend an open sandwich?

Smørbrød (Norway, Denmark), or Smörgås (Sweden) consists of one (and only one) lightly buttered slice of bread with a generous amount of different toppings. Open sandwiches are eaten in all three major Scandiavian countries, but the toppings are different.

If you visit Denmark you find that they like their smørbrød topped with slightly heated thick slices of liverpaté garnished with a cold slice of roasted bacon and pickled cucumber. Or you are served a filet of flounder, breaded and fried in butter, topped with remoulade and a slice of lemon. In all countries they really appreciate "Rejer i trengsel", a large heap of shrimps, with mayonnaise and lemon. The quantities in Denmark are very generous, and you are easily satisfied with two. Ida Davidsen, the Danish Smørbrød Queen, says that the should be enough ingredients to completely hide the slice of bread underneath.

In Norway the sandwiches are smaller, and the amount of toppings is less generous. The Norwegians love their "Karbonadesmørbrød", i.e. a with a large meatcake made from ground beef, garnished with fried onions and pickled cucumber. Another speciality here is the sandwich with scrambled eggs with chives covered by large slices of smoked salmon.

The term Smörgåsbord comes from Sweden. Swedes love their sandwiches made gravlax and mustard sauce and herring.

And remember - if you cannot see the slice of bread, you cannot be indifferent to what type you bread you use for what. Herring, liverpaté and roastbeef are served on dark rye bread, like the German pumpernickel. And shrimps, and other seafood are often served on white bread. But here there are different tastes and different traditions in the three Scandinavian countries.

In then - what do you drink? All countries like their open sandwiches with a pint of their local beer and "en lille en" meaning their traditional shot of aquavit. In Denmark that has, until recently (and maybe still) even been the case for the Danish frokost (lunch). In Norway and Sweden, however, this is often not tolerated, and the citizens have to wait after work in order to enjoy their favourite drink.

If you really would like to get the ultimate sandwich experience, go to Copenhagen and make a reservation at Ida Davidsens restaurant. In Store Kongensgade the Davidsen family has, sice 1888, supplied their customers with scrumptious sandwiches. On her website you'll find recipes for her more famous sandwiches. Today Ida Davidsen rivals the Danish queen Margrethe as a legendary Dane. In her restaurant you'll find more that 300 different sandwiches on the menu. She supplies the Danish royal family with their lunch a few blocks away, and she's been said to ship her delicacies abroad - even overseas.

But remember to make reservations well ahead. When you book hotels and flights, book a table - you might get it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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