A Day in Copenhagen 

Soon after arriving in Copenhagen, you will realise why Denmark was voted the world’s happiest country. How could you not be blissfully elated when surrounded by classical old buildings, a focus on green living, an ample supply of bicycles and lots of friendly locals? 

In contrast to the rest of my Scandinavian trip, I found food reasonably priced but clothes much more expensive, which at least saved my wardrobe from extra padding. Copenhagen is another one of those cities that is hard to see in its entirety in a day or two. However, I suggest the following as part of any good jam-packed trip around the capital: 

  • Breakfast at Grød in Norrebro – Grød is an epic porridge bar, and as such is both a tribute to this Danish tradition and an experiment in the colour, texture and flavour of the humble grain. Serving variants of porridge including oats, chia, gluten free grains, congee, barley risotto and granola in both sweet and savoury varieties, Grød proves that the humble oat can be enjoyed at any time of the day! I visited three times in my four days in Copenhagen and can attest that it was hard to choose a favourite between the pea barley risotto, the skyr yogurt with house granola, and the gluten free porridge with every topping they have. I fell so much in love that I  even purchased their stunning porridge cookbook for back home.
  • Explore Norrebro – a quirky and relatively tourist free district of Copenhagen, Norrebro has only recently transformed into a cosmopolitan suburb thriving with stylish houses, cute boutiques, quirky cafes and vintage thrift stores. The Main Street () is great for some inexpensive vintage and secondhand stores, which is in contrast to Copenhagan’s otherwise expensive clothes shopping (particularly when paying in AUD). Other gems include Istid liquid nitrogen ice cream (with vegan cookie dough on the menu!), Ro Chocolade chocolate store and Brus microbrewery for their bar food (all of which featured on the amazing Foods of Copenhagen Tour!). 
  • Walk across bridge to Rosenberg castle and gardens – even if you don’t brave the crowds and visit inside the castle, the outside is an impressive site. It was the gardens that got my attention though with its stunning and immaculate display of flowers, perfectly groomed hedges and sculptures (cause for an Instagram field day, no filter needed!). The inside of the castle costs $25AUD but the gardens are free to visit.
  • Pass by Torvehalle for lunch – We all know that I absolutely LOVE food halls as they are often cheaper, with wider variety and with a great cross section of cuisine native to the country itself. Torvehalle is another brilliant example of this, with everything from fresh meat  and fish to flowers, fresh fruit, wine, cheese, baked goods, luxe chocolate, pantry items and even a mini Grød cafe! Definitely try a fancy smørrebrød while you’re here, and you can’t leave without trying some traditional Danish cheese. 
  • Walk down to the round tower and climb it – a chance to walk off the cheese from lunch and admire a spectacular view of Copenhagen that extends all the way out to Sweden on a clear day. The tower has no stairs (making it friendly on the knees!) but instead a sloping ramp that twists around the tower 7.5 times. Along the way you’ll find the bell tower room and an unexpectedly magnificent modern art museum. For $5AUD entry, it’s worth it for the view alone. 
  • Stroll down the osterbro – this is the main shopping street in Copenhagen and more of a tourist destination than anything else. You’ll find your usual culprits like H&M etc here, but there are some great little cafes in the side streets off the main drag.
  • Walk down to the visit Christiansborg palace and its kitchen – this palace has been burned down so many times that the ruins have its own exhibition area in the current building. The palace is magnificent and although the visit to the rooms and the kitchen will cost $30AUD, it is well worth it. The reception rooms are stunningly beautiful and straight from the pages of a fairytale (particularly the library which you could swear was from Beauty and the Beast). The copper filled kitchen is also a great exhibition detailing the making of a kings feast (including many of the sights and smells involved!). 
  • Continue walking down to Nyhavn for some great photos – I was forewarned from a mate that this area is more touristy and totally agree, but it definitely makes for some great photos! Like all good tourist destinations, the area used to be inhabited by sailors and their prostitutes, but now it’s filled with ambient colours and a vibrant atmosphere that only large numbers of people enjoying the hassle and bussle of life can create. Avoid the cafes as they are overpriced, but there’s plenty of icecream stores to keep your appetite at bay until dinner. 
  • Jump on a boat and do a canal cruise – there are a few companies that operate out of the canal in Nyhavn with most operating for an hour. The cruise guides you through the canals and into the main harbour, and includes sailing under a number of the low set bridges (which in high tide require legitimate ducking!). The tours are given in English, Danish and one other language and are a good  way to see The Black Diamond, The Little Mermaid statue etc. 
  • Finish with dinner at Copenhagen Street Food – walk across the bridge from Nyhavn onto Papion, the paper island, and you’ll find Copenhagan’s answer to the fashionable and delicious multicultural street food movement. Everything from vegan to Italian to pan-Asian to burger porn and cocktails are found here, and it’s a great spot to grab a few different things and sit on a deck chair in the sun over the harbour. 

How To Smorgasbord like a Svensk

(by an Australian who has not a ounce of Scandinavian heritage and does not means to cause offence but merely encourage others to be more culturally experienced!) 

If you’re going to visit Sweden, then a traditional smorgasbord is a must. Not just because you can experience a wonderful aspect of Swedish culture, but because it also allows you to try many different tidbits of Scandinavian cuisine. 

My recent smorgasbord experience at Verandan restaurant at the Grand Hotel Stockholm was easily one of my favourite international food experiences ever. For 545 SEK / $82 AUD, you can try smorgasbord the traditional way. There’s nothing to stop you from being completely uncultured and treating the experience like a usual hotel buffet, but trust me when I say you’ll find the whole process much more fun if you follow the rules of engagement! 

The general ‘rules’:

  • Use many small plates with multiple trips to the smorgasbord 
  • Do not pile your plate high with food, show restraint 
  • Cold before hot, herring first 
  • Be open minded, enjoy! 



Step 1 – The herring

Start your smorgasbord experience with pickled herring, a tasting of Swedish cheese, a shot of Aquavit / vodka and a Swedish beer. In all my excitement I forgot to take the dill potatoes as well, so these featured in the second plate, BUT the herring SHOULD be accompanied by these glorious potatoes!

Also not featured here is the beautiful bread basket, with the dark aniseed scented loaf being the clear favourite. 


Step 2 – More fish, and eggs 


If you thought you were finished with fish, you have been fooled! Whether it’s hot smoked, beetroot cured, gravalax or baked salmon, char or mackerel, the next course is also a feast of fancy of the fish variety. Must come with lemon (and I highly recommend mustard dill sauce!). 

Again in my excitement I failed to see the OTHER selection of fish, so I had to do this one twice. By this stage I felt like I had eaten enough fish to classify myself as a mermaid, as I was at least 50% seafood matter by body weight. 

Step 3 – Salad and cold meats 

A selection of salads and a variety of cold roasted meats with various sauces is next, with lamb, pork, beef, chicken, terrine and ham to relieve the otherwise predominately pescetarian palate.

The salads make for a light and refreshing change from the abundance of protein, however as I discovered, they won’t leave you feeling any less full by the end. 



Step 4 – Hot dishes 

By this stage I was absolutely struggling. More food?! Roasted lamb, omelette, vegetables, pork….. oh dear! Send for help! I couldn’t bare the thought of any more fish, and had to pass on the beautiful baked cod with eggs (although I did try potato gratin with anchovies to be fair!). This is where the Swedish meatballs feature, which must be eaten with a side of tart lingonberries for the true Swedish experience. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t finish my measly selection plate here as my impending abdominal compartment syndrome just wouldn’t allow it. 

Step 5 – Dessert 


Activate dessert stomach! Chocolate tart, macarons, fruit salad, ice cream, cakes and delectable morsels a plenty, there is ALWAYS room for dessert, even in the case of potential stomach rupture in the foreseeable future. I am proud to say I tried one of everything, my favourite being the chocolate tart (which was richer than the King of Norway) and the custard filled berry puff creation. My pancreas and I are no longer speaking to one another. 

Surviving the smorgasbord 

I can now say that after having had the true smorgasbord experience, most of the other buffets I’ve tried have paled by comparison. It is significantly more fun with an order to follow and a different traditional cuisine to try, and I would highly recommend this experience to any traveller to Stockholm! 

Scandinavian Shenanigans

Hej / Hallo / Halla!

I was recently fortunate enough to take some much-needed annual leave and travel through Norway, Sweden and Denmark. While I stuck to the capital cities due to being short on time, it was a journey I would recommend to anyone wanting to explore an amazing part of the world.

You can read all about my adventures in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen by clicking the links (which also included a traditional Smorgasbord of epic proportions!).


Buddha Bowls

Good enough for you to say ‘Namaste in for dinner tonight’, these vegetable based bowls are bursting with nutrition, and make for a terrific ‘throw together’ meal when you’re short on time. They have the added benefit of being largely plant-based (see note below) and contribute significantly to your required 5+ servings of vegetables of day.

When constructing the ultimate buddha bowl, try to experiment with textures and tastes (refer to my The Secret to Sexy Salads!) and remember, the greater variety of colours, the better your micronutrient profile.

Note some of these bowls are vegetarian rather than vegan, but most have a vegan alternative.

Tahini Tofu Bowl (Vegan) 

Tofu, tahini, sauerkraut, roasted pumpkin and sweet potato, pistachios, cranberries and leafy greens.

Black Bean Bowl (Vegan) 

1/2 cauliflower rice mixed with 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp vegan spinach cream (a mixture of spinach and crushed sunflower seeds), 1/8 red cabbage and 1/2 stalk broccoli; topped with 1/3 can black beans and served on leafy greens.

Apple Broccoli Bowl  (Vegan option)

1 cup spinach and 1/2 stalk broccoli tossed with 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, 2 tsp mustard and 1 tsp maple syrup, topped with 1 small green apple. Substitute the Greek yogurt for almond milk yogurt for a vegan alternative.

Za’atar Cumin Pumpkin and Pomegranate Bowl (Vegan option) 

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend including sesame seeds, thyme and sumac. Some versions also include marjoram, oregano and sea salt, while I’ve seen others throw in fenugreek and coriander seeds. To make this version above, use 1 tsp each of dried thyme and sumac with 2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds. 

Roast 1/4 kent pumpkin with 1 tbsp za’atar and 2 tsp cumin, then toss with 1/4 small roasted cauliflower, a handful of rocket and spinach, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, 75g Bulgarian feta cheese and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. Substitute the feta cheese for cashew cheese in the same quantity for a vegan version.

Bean Burger Bowl  (Vegan)

Bean Supreme black bean burger pattie (but any vegetarian pattie will do!), with roasted pumpkin, zucchini and kale, fresh tomato, carrot and cumcumber, and a side of hummus.

Lemon Goat Cheese and Peas Bowl 

1 cup of peas mixed with 10 chopped green beans, a handful of cranberries, 1 roasted zucchini, pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and lemon myrtle goat cheese (but you can substitute with regular goat cheese and 1 tsp lemon myrtle).

Black Eyed Beans and Buckwheat Bowl (Vegan option) 

Mix 1/3 can of drained black eyed beans with baby spinach, 50g of feta cheese, 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes (herbed, in oil) and 1/4 cup of buckwheat groats (cooked or raw). Substitute 50g of cashew cheese instead of feta for a vegan option.