I adore French macarons. Those pretty, crunchy, chewy ganache filled little round cookies that people line sidewalks in Paris to procure. If you love Ladurée but live in Copenhagen, you are in luck. You can learn to make them yourself. From a French pastry master. Frédéric Terrible has been creating and cooking delightful French desserts in the Danish capital for over twenty years. He runs the Terrible French Pastry School in Frederiksberg.
I recently spent a not-terrible-at-all afternoon learning tips and tricks about the tasty treats with a group of friends. Frédéric has a lovely light filled space on a quiet street off Gammel Kongevej and can host your group outing easily. Birthday party? Bachelorette party? Team-building? Oui oui! Don’t have a group? No problem. Regularly scheduled classes allow for individual participation as well.
Think macarons are hard work? Not under the master’s close supervision. Frédéric breaks down the process and gives you all the tools to succeed. We used an Italian meringue recipe in this class, as it is more lenient and easier for us newbies to work with than the traditional French version, Frédéric explained. We worked in teams of two to boil the sugar to just the right temperature and then carefully add it to the whipping egg whites for our meringues. This glossy white mixture was then added to an almond flour base and blended by hand to the perfect consistency. Not too little, not too much.
After watching the technique demonstrated for us, we piped in pairs, filling our trays in a variety of colored batters. Once in the oven, we watched and we waited for the cookies to rise. Do they have a “foot” asks Frédéric? Yes? Oui! Then adjust the temp and time for a break. As the cookies finished baking, we enjoyed coffee, tea and (of course) macarons in a separate party room set up for our group.
Once cooled, we popped the pieces off the paper and got them ready for filling. Today we took a condensed version of the class and did not make the ganache centers ourselves. Frédéric had already prepared a variety of flavors for us to fill. He quickly shared his process and preference for all-natural ingredients. We used salted caramel, raspberry, coffee, chocolate and of course – licorice – this class IS in Denmark. Once full, they get five minutes in the freezer to set the cookies for travel. We get to pack a mixed box to take home.
Other pastry class options, as well as the full macaron lesson including the ganache filling, can be found at Frederic’s site online. He offers classes for children, but suggests that they work best for ages 8 and older.
Looking for a fabulous way to spend a day exploring the countryside around Copenhagen? Let’s go looking for giants! Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden 6 Forgotten Giants in green spaces southwest of the city.
Most are hidden within one to two kilometers from a train station making it possible to ride your bicycle to your treasure hunt. We rented an electric car and carpooled with friends for the day as we wanted to bring along our portable grill, pølsers and picnic provisions.
With littles in tow, we found that targeting three giants made for a perfect half-day outing. We had plenty of time to seek and to find and play along the way. We stopped mid-hunt to grill hot dogs and roast marshmallows and play football. With children ranging in ages from 5 to 11, our day out tracking down these friendly beasts took us about 4-5 hours with a planned picnic in the middle.
Don’t have a car? Just visiting Copenhagen? Rent a bicycle and follow the map below. You can take your bike right on the S-trains. This route starts at Copenhagen’s Central Station but can start anywhere and jump in at any stop.
MAP KEY: RED = S-tog or S-trains BLUE = Bicycle routes between GREEN = The 6 Forgotten Giants
#1 Sovende Louis | Sleeping Louis | Rødovre
Closest to Copenhagen, Sleepy Louis lounges lazily waiting for you to wake him. He is the only giant that you can crawl right inside. But beware – he might wake at any moment!
TRAIN: Take B-line towards Høje Tåstrup STOP: Brøndbyøster Station DISTANCE TO GIANT: 1.4 km PARKING: Take first left after Absalon Camping, park at left end of lot.
TIP: Follow the paved path past fitness station. Look for a trail up towards your left after the bend.
Looking for Sleeping Louis in Rødovre
I have a big bunch of siblings, but we are hidden from people. They call us The Forgotten Giants. My sister Trine sits in Avedøre. In the field behind the hill where there are sheep and cows.”
#2 Bakke top Trine | Hilltop Trine | Quark Naturcenter in Hvidovre
Hilltop Trine is huge. She leans against a hillock in Hvidovre with an outstretched hand waiting to hold you. Her size makes your littles look Lilleputian by contrast. This is a perfect place for a picnic if it pleases your people. A fire pit for roasting pølsers or marshmallows is available. Enjoy at nearby picnic tables or play in the shelters. Bring your own supplies.
BIKE: There is no direct train connection to Hilltop Trine. Take the easy flat bike ride, nearly a straight between the 2 giants. DISTANCE BETWEEN GIANTS: 5.3 km PARKING: From Byvej turn right into Filmbyen. Park on the left before fences, walk down path along the field to the Naturcenter.
TIP: Trine hides on the back of the hill behind the chicken coops. To reserve the shelters and get a key for the toilets – reserve ahead with Quark Naturcenter. (As of 21st June, all slots for the summer are booked.)
#3 OSCAR UNDER BROEN | Oscar under the Bridge | Ishøj Strand
Say goodbye to Trine and get on your bike towards the Avedøre Station. Hop on the A-line train here towards Sølrod Strand and pop off at Ishøj. Oscar hides under the bridge near the beach. Carefully climb down and find him hanging out by the water. Cool off in the surf at the beach or grab an ice cream or ice coffee at Ka’nalu Café right at Ishøj Strandpark.
TRAIN: Take A-line towards Sølrod Strand Station STOP: Get on Avedøre Station, get off Ishøj Station. DISTANCE FROM GIANT: 1.8 km PARKING: If driving, park car at Ishøj Strand.
TIP: Walk towards playground and café and continue down the path until the first bridge. Take a right and look under.
Want to really go for it and catch all 6 in one day? You can do it! It is about 5 km from Oscar to the Vallensbæk Mose where you can find Lille Tilde and Thomas on the Mountain. See more about these magical giants and meet Teddy Friendly here on our first day out.
Found some yourself? Who is your favorite? I think I love Trine and Tilde the best. Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
If you’ve been to Denmark, you know. If you haven’t – what are you waiting for? Despite the popular meme that “summer is the best day of the year” here, it really truly might be the best time of the year here in Denmark. So come. Stay. And explore sustainably. It’s easy to do here. Really. They’ve practically terraformed it for you. A European Green Capital in 2014, Danes take the title very seriously. That. Is super. Seriously. And Danes love to say “super.” Lucky for you. It’s easy to pronounce. “Soo-pah!”
Ways to have sustainable FUN when Visiting the Danish Capital
1. Do the Danish Dip
Start sommer season off right and get happy in the head. Glad i låget as the Danes say. The water temps may feel brisk at the beginning of June, averaging 15-17ºC, but come to the peak of summer and the water will average 20-21ºC. That’s 70ºF. Basically balmy. It’s beautiful I tell you!
At the beginning of summer, take a tip from me. To really do the dip, it is best to find a spot where you can just jump right in, no wading required. Check out the beautiful new piers just put in along Nordhavn. A lovely place to relax and go for a swim, safe from boats. Just don’t test the water. Trust me. Just breathe. And jump. Come up for air. Emit a gasp of shock. Flail a bit. Get out. Repeat. The second time is the charm. I promise. As all the blood rushes to your extremities, the water feels amazing and you will feel full of life. I’m a believer. Try it. You’ll see.
TIP: You can check the Danish Meteorologic Institute’s Website for current water temperatures. It’s in Danish, but still easy to read temperatures. Just remember we work in Celsius over here.
Since 2000, Copenhagen has made valiant efforts to clean up their harbor restricting industrial, sewage and wastewater runoffs. The building of rainwater reservoirs and runoff conduits has dramatically increased the water quality and makes it safe to swim and enjoy.
2. Roam the Canals in an Electric Boat
Love the water, but afraid to get in? Take a toodle on an electric picnic boat. Have you ever rented a sustainable solar powered boat? You can! And you should.
Really – you must do this. Copenhagen is a harbor town. It’s in the name. København means merchant’s harbor. There is water everywhere. Seize your inner Viking sailor. You must get out on it. Especially in the sommer. Don’t have a boat? No problem. There are so many options for all budgets to explore the canals and harbor in Copenhagen.” – Summer in Copenhagen | 10 Must Do’s
We adore Go Boat and their super charming little electric picnic boats powered by solar cells. Book online, rent by the hour. It can be popular when the weather is nice, so plan ahead. Pick up your boat from their cool outpost near Islands Brygge right on the canal. We love the slow, cozy Go Boats for their charm, ease, stability, and maneuverability. There is a picnic table in the middle! No time to pack a lunch? Order ahead online and they will fashion a perfect picnic with organic wines, soft drinks and food.
Go Boat takes their sustainability next level and encourages your littlest sailors to help keep the harbor clean. Children who are interested can borrow a long-handled net to scoop garbage from the waters. They will be rewarded for their efforts when they return!
Friendships also offer electric boat rentals out of Christianshavn.
After your cruise is complete, Ofelia Plads opened on this clean Copenhagen canal in the summer of 2016 and is the perfect place to perch in the sun and even try your Danish dip. Calmer than the colorful neighbor and tourist center Nyhavn, Ofelia Plads offers a casual chill and great views of the water. Snag a lounger and groove to the music. Share some cold rosé by the glass or bottle from the nearby Luftkastellet.
Follow Ofelia Plads on Facebook to stay up to date on special events and performances on the water. We adored seeing the Danish Royal Ballet this past weekend.
4. Ride a Bicycle Across Bridges and Around ‘bros
There are roads for bicycles in Copenhagen. Signals too. Little lights just for the cyclists to tell them to stop or to start. There are more bikes than people here in the capital. The easiest way to experience the city like a local is on two wheels. Don’t know where to go? Try this self-guided tour from Katy at Untold Morsels.
Renting a bike allows you to get a little further off the tourist path. Head to the Copenhagen neighborhoods – explore Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Or pedal your wheels across one of the two car-free harbor bridges. The Bryggesbroen will take you from Vesterbro to Islands Brygge and back. The Inderhavnsbro connects classic Nyhavn with Paper Island, Christiania and Christianshavn.
5. Eat Fresh Local Food Outside
Fresh food, food trucks and fab markets make their appearance once again when the weather is warmer and the light stays long. Make a positive impact by supporting the local economy ‘s bitty small businesses. All the while tasting lots of local and international flavors at one of the following fun options.
Kødbyen is the trendy meatpacking district in the Vesterbro neighborhood of Copenhagen. Every Saturday and Sunday starting late spring through early fall, there is a foodie dream market with rotating vendors and tables to enjoy your tasty wares outside.
Set outside the entrance to the lovely Frederiksberg Garden and hosted by local Food Truck collaborative Rebel Food CPH, here you will find Latin American, vegan, burgers, tacos and more.
Street Food Festival CPH Søerne (Along the Lakes), 2200 København N
Friday | August 11 | 15 – 21 (Bar open later)
Saturday | August 12 | 11 – 21 (Bar open later)
Sunday | August 13 | 11 – 19
Don’t miss the summer street food extravaganza that stretches up and down the lakes in the middle of the city. Start at Dronning Louises Bro in Nørrebro and pick a direction to dive in. This is a giant collection of all the yummy street food purveyors in Copenhagen. Most will offer a small signature dish for only 40DKK, so you can try lots and not break the bank. Eat local!
Yuca Taco Copenhagen
Taco Pop Copenhagen
Yummy tacos from Taco Pop
6. Try Urban Foraging
You don’t have to live on a farm to pick your own produce. Lucky for you there are plenty of places to forage for summer sweets right here in the city. Check out Byhøst, a Danish website that will help you find and identify wild raw food. Click on KORT and find a map to what’s growing where. Click on RÅVARER to see what’s edible. Even if you don’t speak Danish, clearly labeled icons and images will allow you find what you’ve foraged. Can I eat that? I want to know. Download their app and dial in on the go.
We’ve recently been foraging for hyldeblomst or elderflowers. You can find them all over town, but we like to look along the paths in Fælledparken. Be careful to not cut too many from one bush or plant. Elderflowers turn into elderberries in the fall, which you’ll want to find later. Take the recent blooms when the weather isn’t wet. What to do with the fragrant blooms? Make hyldeblomst saft of course! Elderflower cordial, ummmm. Stay tuned, recipe and tips on the blog soon.
7. Find One Man’s Treasures at a Loppemarked
Danes love a loppemarked. You may know the concept as a Flea Market. A yard sale. A garage sale. But these are collective experiences – more than one purveyor of gently used goods. Look for one of kind vintage pieces or jewelry or antiques or chairs. You can find just about anything at a Danish loppemarked.
Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden the 6 Forgotten Giants in the woods south of Copenhagen. Each constructed of reclaimed and recycled wood, they wait for you to find them. Make a sustainable day out with the family by carpooling to the destinations. Pack your picnic in and leave no waste. Bring a reuseable water bottle! Really want up your green quotient – take the S-tog with your bike and ride to each of the parks!
I love when you can see cinema outside. Every summer the Copenhagen theater Cinemateket offers two nights of viewing on a big screen set up in the Kings Garden. Spread out your blanket, invite some friends and sit back and relax. DJ music starts from 16:00. Last year we loved the David Bowie old school classic Spiders From Mars.
This year’s line up includes: David Lynch’s Blue Velvet on Tuesday and Saturday Night Fever on Wednesday. Ses vi? See you there?
Paddle for your pleasure along Peblingesø, one of the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen. Restaurant Kaffesalonen rents the boats from their dockside café by the hour. The gentle churn of the pedal powered craft is a lovely slow summer treat.
Kaffesalonen Paddle Boat Rental
Peblinge Dossering 6 2200 Copenhagen N
Swan Bicycle for 2 persons costs DKK 75 per ½ hour, DKK 100 per hour.
Larger (non-swan) paddle boats can accommodate 5 and 7 passengers for a little more.
So there you have it. Summer fun that can be sustainable too. Looking for last year’s summertime list? Click the link below for a few more fun in the sun (and maybe not sun – it IS Denmark) options.