Christmas lunch in Denmark is traditionally enjoyed at home with the family on the 25th or 26th December. It consists of an enormous gastronomic cold table orgy, which starts in the afternoon and often continues until late at night. At the very least lunch can be expected to last seven hours.
A traditional Christmas Lunch table could consist of herring in a variety of guises, cold marinated salmon, country style liver pate with crispy bacon, comfit of duck, roast pork, a selection of cheeses and a special Christmas rice pudding known as ris à l’amande, which is boiled rice swathed in whipped cream and vanilla, mixed with chopped almonds and served cold with a hot cherry sauce. It is all lubricated with Christmas beer and snaps.
If you want to try a Danish Christmas lunch, make a visit to Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik. Here you will find a broad selection of Christmas lunch dishes. And here it does not have to last seven hours.
Address: Slotskælderen, Fortunstræde 4, 1065 Copenhagen K.
If Christmas lunch sounds like too much food for you, then Royal Smushi Café has the solution. They serve traditional Christmas “smørrebrød” (open sandwiches) in sushi sizes and call them smushies. They are smaller than traditional open sandwiches, and that way you can try more variations of the Christmas lunch. Royal Smushi Café is located next door to Royal Copenhagen’s flagship store, where you can pay a visit to the Royal Copenhagen Christmas Tables exhibition while you are there.
The exhibition is one of the most popular Christmas events in Copenhagen. Every year since 1963, the tables have been set by different Danish artists and celebrities and put on display on the first and second floor of the Royal Copenhagen flagship store. Six tables, each with their wonderful story, provide a creative and inspirational view of Christmas. The artists are free to choose from any of Royal Copenhagen’s comprehensive collection of iconic porcelain, sophisticated figurines and historical collectibles. The exhibition is free to visit and open from mid November until the end of December.
Christmas is the time for “gløgg”, a potent variant of mulled wine, served steaming hot and heavily spiced with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks and cloves steeped in pure aquavit or snaps. It is just the thing for cheering up a dark and cold day. For Copenhagen’s best “gløgg”, make your way to Hviids Vinstue. They make theirs from red wine, port, cognac and rum. A white version is also available.
Address: Kongens Nytorv 19, 1050 Copenhagen K.
For those sticking to the old Danish Christmas traditions, any Christmas lunch will begin with a bowl of “risengrød”, which is a type of hot rice porridge, served with a scoop of butter in the middle and sprinkled with a layer of cinnamon and sugar. Nowadays, most people eat it for dinner, because it is quite filling, during December and on the 23rd December, the eve before Christmas, which is celebrated on the 24th of December in Denmark.
Not many places serve “risengrød”, but Grød is the one place in Copenhagen which excels in porridges. You will find the original restaurant in Jægersborggade street, but they also have a stall in Torvehallerne food market halls near Nørreport station.
Address: Grød, Jægersborggade 50, 2200 Copenhagen N.
If you have a sweet tooth, a visit to Conditori La Glace is a must, anytime of year. La Glace is the oldest and probably best confectionary in Denmark. Founded in the middle of old historic Copenhagen in 1870, it has delivered joy and quality in its beautiful old rooms through six generations. During Christmas, you can find some of the best Christmas cookies and cakes around, such as “brunkager”, “klejner” and traditional marzipan pigs. Everything at La Glace is like a little bite of Christmas.
Address: La Glace, Skoubogade 3, 1158 Copenhagen K.
Danish breweries add to the spirit of Christmas in their own inimitable ways. Every first Friday of November horse-drawn Tuborg wagons deliver the annual specially brewed Christmas brew. Almost every Danish brewery now launches a Christmas beer, and any bar, pub and restaurant have Christmas beers on the menu, so just pick one.
Read more about Christmas in Copenhagen.