Cardamom Buns and Fermented Fries: Chef Angela Garbacz’s Guide to Copenhagen
Pastry chef Angela Garbacz is accustomed to freezing temperatures in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she runs her bakery Goldenrod Pastries. And that's a good thing: When she took a trip to Copenhagen last month, it was right during what’s now known as the “Big Chill,” the lowest recorded temperatures in Europe.
“My husband and I love the cold weather,” says Garbacz, “So 15-degree weather with 35 MPH winds were not a problem. We just bundled up, walked around, and stopped by for treats and coffee every twenty minutes!” Here’s where the pastry chef hit up during her long-awaited trip to Copenhagen.
“This Nørrebro neighborhood brewery and taproom opens at 3 p.m. with beers, sodas, and fermented French fries. Yes, fermented French fries. My husband works with beer and loves to drink it, so he found Brus before our trip. I love everything about fermented food—the taste, the process, the history, and the health benefits. They brine the raw potatoes in big buckets with leaves of green cabbage for nine days, then triple-fry them. They’re served with a mushroom mayonnaise. The edges were crispy, the inside was super-soft and much chewier than any fry I had before—and they were definitely sour. Brus also has great snacks, like Korean barbecue-flavored wings, five kinds of housemade kimchi—but if anything, go for the fermented fries.”
“We went to this Østerbro neighborhood bakery three times during our seven-day trip. That’s how great it was. While we were having breakfast at The Corner at 108, chef René Redzepi walked in, and I found a way to sneak into his conversation with two other American chefs and asked him which bakeries he recommended. Juno was the first place he mentioned. You’ll often find lines out the door and the owner (and Noma alum) Emil Glaser running the counter while two bakers furiously pull bread, croissants, cardamom buns, and marzipan rolls out of the oven. My favorite things there were the dark sourdough bun, sliced open with butter and slices of Comte cheese, and the darkest croissants I’ve ever had. We were instructed not to eat them for at least five minutes, and I couldn’t believe how perfectly light and rich they were. The flakes were unreal.”
“We stumbled upon this bakery in the super-cute Nørrebro neighborhood after we had dinner at the restaurant next door, Bæst. (They make the pizza dough and bread for the restaurant.) But the bakery is best known for sourdough and laminated products, and honestly they’re the best I’ve ever had. The croissants blew my mind—the exterior was dark and crunchy, with a honeycomb inside that wasn’t sweet but a little sour and sticky. Unfortunately, this has become the standard that I now hold all croissants to forever!”
“I set an alarm back in November when Noma started taking reservations for the new restaurant. But when my alarm went off, I sadly turned it off because I knew there was no way I’d be able to make it to Copenhagen in the spring. Fast-forward to January: We were set for Copenhagen but no actual Noma reservation. I asked my good friend Nick, who worked briefly at Noma, for help, and I ended up getting an automated email in February saying our reservation at Noma was waiting confirmation. (Thanks, Nick!) I don’t want to spoil the experience too much for people who might be going—a lot of the magic of Noma is in the surprise. But to give a little bit of insight, we ate 21 carefully curated courses showcasing the Scandinavian seas, from plankton juice to charred cod face with wood-ant paste. One of the highlights for me was the dessert course: a base of sea buckthorn, yogurt snow, and preserved and candied pinecones. René Redzepi stopped by our table and apologized that they didn’t have any bread on the menu (he knew I was a pastry chef). After we got a tour of the kitchen, science bunker, miso room (!), staff canteen, and new structures they are building, he told us to look outside throughout the night for a fox running around. An hour later, in the middle of a blizzard, the fox ran by, and René stood by to watch the fox with us. It was a night I didn’t want to end.”
“I am totally addicted to the fluffy, chewy homemade tortillas at former Noma pastry chef Rosio Sanchez’s first full-service restaurant in the Kødbyen neighborhood. We ate here twice, and one of my favorite courses was a small bowl of spicy tomato soup with a shoyu-cured egg and salty fried grasshoppers. It was served with a basket of those tortillas, so you scoop the soup, yolk, and grasshoppers in the tortillas—it was bliss. I could have eaten ten of the pumpkin-seed tacos with avocado, fresh herbs, and a really tart lemon oil. It was so fresh and spicy. Rosio’s signature dessert here is the open-face churro sandwich: churro as the base, vanilla parfait, cream with bitters, and orange zest on top. During our first visit, we ordered one, and the next night we ordered two because there was no way I was going to share. Of course, I had to stop by her taqueria, Hija de Sanchez—which necessitates ordering the potato flautas. They are perfect.”