April 04, 2009

Giving Denmark credit

I really feel I have to give Denmark some credit, now when I am since long home again and recovered from the yellow onion shock! We returned home for Christmas, spent at my parent´s in southern Sweden and then A got back to Aarhus on January 6th to continue his admission. D and I stayed home for another ten days, me writing job applications and D hanging out with his little friends, re-learning how to sleep and also fine-tuning his crawling technique, getting up on his hands and knees for gaining further speed.

When we came flying back to Aarhus in mid-January I was in much better mood than the last time. We would stay for only two weeks, and also in a better place: instead of a smoke-infused appartment we lived in a really small 1800th century cottage in a cosy cobblestoned street. And the kitchen felt like a kitchen, in a real home, with lots of odd pots and pans and bowls instead of a starting box from IKEA. And no longer a dish washer, but that didn´t matter when I could do the washing-up looking out into a little garden behind the house.

In that tiny kitchen I cooked a lot of good food, even if the Swedish crown was even weaker this time and we still found the prices crazy. I also treated myself to more coffees and good things than before Christmas, wanting to make the most out of my long, lonely days. A was away from 7 to 7 most of the time and a baby is very lovely and we had a lot of fun - but the possibilities for stimulating conversations are limited...

All that said I now have a set of culinary recommendations for mothers with young children or indeed others who are spending some time in Aarhus, Denmark!

  • The café/restaurant at department store Salling is a nice place for a cup of coffee - light, airy, lots of room for the pram and the coffee is good and the price OK. From the large windows you have a great view over the city.

  • Danish lenten buns was a nice surprise - normally I refuse to eat lenten buns before mid-February but now I was abroad, having "treat time". Firstly, the bun was Danish - buttery, flaky, melting! Under the lid was not only cream, but also custard and raspberry jam, and the last touch: a dollop of chocolate icing on the top of the lid! This was a little pricey, but on the other hand very filling.

  • Child-friendly Café Slabberas on Frederiksgade was a water-hole for me during both stays, I went there at least once a week to give D a chance to be around other kids. Very nice setting, nice staff, good food (try their brunch plate) and after your coffee you can shop for children´s clothes in the basement while your offspring is playing happily in a crate.

  • Nursing rooms - here Sweden is waaaay behind. At Åhléns, the large department store in Stockholm there is a teeny tiny nursing room in the children´s department with two grubby sofas, only one place for nappy-changing and a single toilet which costs 10 SEK to enter (and that is expensive in Sweden!). Lousy. Then I experienced the nursing rooms at Salling and Magasin, the large stores in Aarhus. In Salling there was two large, stylish leather sofas where you could sit and nurse your baby, and a large nappy-changing room with at least five beds, bright and fresh and free. There was also a free toilet, and a microwave oven. The changing facilities at Magasin was a little less comfy, but still working, and there was a really large room with both sofas and chairs, a nice view, microwave and lots of Brio wooden toys. It was nice to go there after a few hours shopping, feed D some fruit and milk and then set him loose on the floor to play and stretch out.

  • For me as a dairy-junkie Denmark was paradise, so much to choose from! While many of you remain indifferent in front of a dairy counter in the supermarket I really enjoy being able to choose from umpteen different fat rates and kinds of buttermilk, and even cow´s breeds! How about some Jersey cow buttermilk from a small dairy company somewhere in Denmark? That I had to stick to the cheapest all the time is a completely other thing...

  • Honningbombe (photo above) was a cookie I found before Christmas, but not after. It was a large disc with delicious soft spicy honey sponge cake in the bottom, then custard, then honey cake again and then a chocolate coating. Delicious! I someone has a recipe for Danish honey cake I am more than happy to get it. I also really enjoyed the flaky, crunchy and really large "French waffles"

  • Last but not least I discovered aebleskiver, round and comforting and cardamom-scented - Dagmar has already written all about them! We had them at cafés and at home before Christmas and after Christmas all foodstores had them on sale for just a few nickles. Apparently a typical Christmas cake but we enjoyed having them in January too!

Enjoy Denmark and Aarhus! I am sure you will find your own little pearls in this nice city (but next time I think I will go there in summer)