So last week I was in Denmark, living it up on holiday for nine days. It was brilliant. The weather was fantastic, the people were super friendly, and nature was amazing. The only thing that let the country down was the cuisine.
I was vegetarian for about 14 years, and then I drifted back to the dark side, before switching again about recently. In fact, now I cook vegan at home, and try my best outside the home to eat this too. Because, in Geneva, you’d never be able to leave the house again, I sometimes settle for vegetarian and that was the compromise I was willing to make in Denmark.
Denmark, however, has a population of 5.6 million people. And their level of vegan/vegetarians is significantly lower than other European countries, with only 3% of the population being vegan/vegetarian. That equates to 168,000 people, or thereabouts. And as a result, it is reflected in the cuisine on offer.
At almost every restaurant we had to ask for the chef to prepare us something, which ranged from horribly burnt omelettes to tasty pasta dishes. And sadly, this wasn’t just in places in the middle of nowhere (which, to some extent, can be excused), this was happening in Billund (the major town near Legoland), Aarhus (the second-largest city) and Silkeborg (the capital of Jutland).
Normally, after I’ve been away on holiday, my head is swimming in amazing memories of delicious food, and it’s sad that this didn’t happen this time. In fact, I would only recommend a couple of places to travellers who are heading out to Denmark and are avoiding animal products. Both of those were in Copenhagen, with RizRaz serving up a great buffet and the food market near Christiania providing a lot of choice (and a mirrorball in the shape of a cow!).
In fact, my advice to anyone traveling in Denmark and avoiding animal products, is to stock up on snacks. Even at simply sandwich places don’t expect to find an option without cheese or meat. Menus will be full of steak, and lean on veggies, and don’t get disheartened if you have to ask, wherever you go, for something that isn’t on the menu.
Hopefully, as more people do, they’ll be more choice on the menus… but for now, plan ahead or consider self-catering!