Shades of Hygge in Copenhagen

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In Denmark, a study shows that almost 80% of the inhabitants trust others when the global average reaches 25%. This caught my attention and I wanted to know more about it. I briefly visited the city a few months ago and really liked the atmosphere, the way people live and the city itself. When back to Paris, I had one thing in my mind: to go back and learn more about the culture.

A nordic wind brought to Copenhagen wakes you up in the morning. There’s nothing like it. The temperature is not even colder but the blast of freezing air really hits you through the bones. But if we think about a cooler way to start the day, I will most probably suggest you to get comfortable in a warm breakfast place. Whether it is at Grød for yummy porridges, at Big Apple Juice Bar for a chocolat croissant with a freshly pressed juice or at Atelier September if you want to enjoy a yogurt granola with zucchini and matcha tea or avocado toasts (they call open-faced sandwich) for the bravest of you.

From the botanic garden to Nyhavn, you can either walk through the thousands of species of plants or stroll by the colorful houses. Don’t be astonished when you bump into a lady wearing fur from head to toe with a Chanel handbag, they invaded the city haha. That must be a form of hygge… This notion of coziness that embraces wellbeing. It is a cultural side that gets very interesting, whether it is spending time with the loved ones, chilling by the fire drinking a hot chocolate, enjoying a cake in the afternoon… I identify myself through this lifestyle. It refers to daily luxuries that enlighten your life. As I always claim on the social medias, life’s little pleasures are the essence of fulfillment. Then everyday moments become meaningful, is it the secret of their happiness? I’d repeat it again and again, enjoy the little things, avoid the superficial, celebrate the present and make the ordinary into extraordinary. This may be the version of our French joie de vivre, in the end…

How cool is it to have an amusement park dedicated to children? Of course grown-ups are welcome and that’s pretty much one of the best thing to do when you want to spend good times, innocently, all spontaneously. I stopped counting how many times I thought about ‘oh, how I wish I could just be a kid again, running everywhere, jumping and laughing for nothing?” Life could be easier, less drama, more joy. This place is so accurate in the middle of the city, it has nothing to do with our crowded gardens with toboggans. It releases fairy moments to share with friends or family. The entire set up has a complete different appearance compared to summer time. Right now it is white wintery and somehow Christmas related, magical.

I’ve been scheduling the entire trip for days and days by reading articles and scrolling through Instagram to find the nice spots, trying to maximise time. Better schedule more activities because you’ll know you wouldn’t be able to do everything but that’s fine. You may find it funny but whenever you are on a trip abroad, lunch time is mostly dedicated to charging your phone right? I know you can relate. Taking pictures everywhere, posting them on the social medias, replying to some comments, ‘low battery’ shows up and you get frustrated then you panic but it’s totally fine, you’ll manage. Anyway, I said no more drama, even though the Café Norden is always crowded as crazy, no seat available, lucky us, a couple left so we barely jumped on the table haha. We’ve waited almost 45min for the food to come so I’ll let you imagine the situation. Oh well. Obviously I had to order some smørrebrød – pictured on the left – these revisited toasts with several toppings, all delicious. Otherwise, I found a little nugget: Un Mercato, a few blocks away from the botanical garden. I had a blast enjoying the freshness of this plancha – pictured on the right. It is composed of ham, hazelnuts, goat cheese and pear. Simply so good, with the bread coming right out of the oven. Yummy tummy, fully filled.

A walk is well needed for digestion as I always say it! In any case, there are some things that you must see while sightseeing even though it remains touristy. The little mermaid for instance is surrounded by tons of tourists taking selfies with her. What a famous person she is! Maybe I should’ve considered making a face swap on Snapchat, oh damn it. The area is so calm. We crossed the Queen’s winter residence the day and time of the Guard renewal, when randomness creates unexpected experiences. I also wanted to go to the Design Museum but stunned me, I went on the day off… A couple more things to do would be scrolling through the Christmas markets that are here and there in the city. It’s full of people but there are so many stands to look at, products that differ from what we have in Paris etc, hot wine and random food. Hygge. Then I was bereft while walking through the luxury brands at Illum when I saw how similar it was with the Bon Marché in Paris: same crossed escalators, wait what? No way. Let me investigate first. Anyway, remember I have a thing for rooftops, they do have one, so you’ll find me there for sure.

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The game gets really serious when it comes to dinner. If you are near Vesterbro, known as the Meatpacking district where the most popular restaurants are, BioMio, Cofoco, Hija de Sanchez (recommended by several people), Fleisch (amazing concept where they get creative on fine dining meals with leftover meat from the slaughter) and many more are highly appealing. Hipsters, go ahead! Otherwise, in the city center, the Italian restaurant Loulou is very surprising with its colorful deco with neons. Wanna know a secret? I barely died when I ate my green chili and zucchini spaghettis. It was well cooked but I didn’t expect the chili to be soooo strong. I was almost crying haha. Unfortunately I haven’t got the chance to try out Geist, not far away from the Hotel d’Angleterre at Kongens Nytorv, in a hidden location. And for chill moments, more friendly and relaxed, the Copenhagen street food market shelters the avantguard food scene at Papirøen. I fell in love with the place and especially the tasty Marrakech street food!! So many options in there, amazing food and good value for money, the whole thing is bathing in a warm atmosphere by the fire or by the river. But I’d like to focus on Höst – pictured above and bellow. This Danish restaurant has been awarded in design a few years ago and I absolutely love it. Green plants surround you all over the room meeting the wooden tables. The proximity with nature draws a way that makes you escape for a while. Besides, it is slightly different downstairs, a little more rustic and cellar like where huge lamps hang over the table for 12.

8:30pm, time to eat! The restaurant offers a unique 5 courses menu with pairing but I’ll highly recommend you to have the 8 courses one. To be honest, I was mind blown by the quality  of the meals, even one of the appetizer was incredibly elaborate – crispy on the outside enveloping a smooth cream.

  • Stirred tartare with oysters
  • Squid with “Høtyv”, spinach and verbena
  • Scallop smoked with juniper with walnuts and pickled pine needles
  • Seared Norwegian lobster with elderflower, cornflower and carrots
  • Salt baked celeriac with truffles and hazelnuts & braised pork belly from Grambogaard with apple purée and pork rinds
  • Seared duck breast with baked red kale, lingonberries, purple kale and smoked cheese
  • Roasted grain ice-cream with a cherry compote, milk chocolate and grain coffee
  • Beer porridge with white chocolate, liquorice, junket ice-cream and rye bread

What I enjoyed the most was the emotional moments that a dinner can actually create. Savors that remind you of a past memory, tasting and guessing the ingredients… The most difficult is to put your feelings aside while trying to find the seasonings. Just like any other field, practice makes perfect, I’m on the right way! You know this impression when you have tried the best and never want to go back? Well, at this precise moment I don’t know what to do in order to get the amazing scallop that was very fresh in the mouth and well balanced, the excellent lobster where savory meets sweet for a perfect match, the flawless duck with a surprising tenderness. The only solution I see is to go there again… So glad I had the chance to discover this extraordinary place!

Nightlife in the city is also dynamic, in a different way I’d say. Have you heard of Freetown Christiania? This strange and gloomy place makes me feel uncomfortable because of course, friends took me there by night. Photos are forbidden, no dog allowed and 10 more restrictions. This small town in the city has its own independence, where 850 hippies live there. Who would’ve thought I visited it? None of my French friends because they know how fearful I am. Well, the good news is the neighborhood will evolve as in the next months, René Redzepi, the Danish chef leading the world’s best restaurant Noma, will set up his next project. Noma is going to close its doors at the end the year to reborn into a locavore haven. The cuisine will vary according to the seasons which is a good example of sustainable initiative. This urban farm is eagerly awaited!

Danes have a specific vision of happiness. Indeed family is most certainly the important thing to focus on for a life long period. Light a candle, share a bottle of wine and are we all good to fight the winter cold with hygge now? Zzz. Nighty night at the incredible Nimb located among the rides of Tivoli or a calmer hotel in the Latin Quarter that is SP34.

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