Ice Cream Scientist and Flavor Artist
One of the things that I love about living in the city is that there is so much available right out your doorstep. Copenhagen affords a social support system that allows small niche ideas and businesses a possibility to survive and in fact, thrive. Now ICE CREAM may not be a niche market per se – but Copenhagen local, Cathrine Østerberg, has scooped one out within this very popular and tasty market.
Danes like ice cream. They make damn fine ice cream. It’s true. And there are many purveyors to choose from. But Østerberg Ice Cream on Rosenvængets Allé is unique. As Cathrine explains,
“it is Danish exotic ice cream.”
– Cathrine Østerberg, creator and owner Østerberg Ice Cream
I know what you are thinking. Denmark isn’t exactly exotic. (When they’re swimming naked, it sometimes feels that way.) And while Cathrine’s ice cream is a traditionally Danish variety, all of her flavors are not. But what makes an ice cream specifically Danish? Using Danish ingredients for a start. You know the cows are the happiest in the world here right? Happy cows = happy milk = happy ice cream. Just trust me on that one.
But apparently, to be Danish ice cream – it’s really all about the fat content. And Cathrine should know. She is an ice cream scientist. She literally has degrees in it. All the frozen ones. She utilizes that serious science background on a daily basis to carefully calculate, measure and execute the perfectly textured Danish ice cream. Here Danes call it is and it is pronounced ees.
In Denmark, for a frozen concoction to be categorized as “ice cream,” it must have a 5% fat content. Compare this to ice cream in the United States where the line of demarcation stands at 10% fat. Catherine’s ends up in the middle at 8%. Now this is ice cream people – don’t get your panties in a bunch and worry too much about how much fat is in it or not. Just know this – that Catherine has mastered the balance to maintain a consistent and beautiful scoop of ice cream with the perfect creaminess.
And while she would love to sit and talk about the science of what makes her product different, what she really excels at is creating flavors. She is truly an artist. She explains that she see flavors in shapes and colors and uses them as her palette. You can see the colors straight away through the case. Exotic fruits from Asia help create some of these.
Fruits like soursop, jackfruit and dragonfruit. The jackfruit doesn’t fall far from the tree as Cathrine’s exposure to these exotic fruits was influenced by her father, who sources fresh fruit from all over the world with his company Orana, based here in Denmark. Cathrine cut her teeth in product development for Orana. She also lived in Vietnam for three months, and now has an Østerberg Ice Cream outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. She wants you to taste the world in her ice cream.
For Danes who have very strong food traditions, I wondered if these exotic flavor offerings were always well received? Cathrine admitted that some of her more adventurous flavors weren’t always a hit. Birthday anniversaries give her an opportunity to try some things that might push the boundaries. Last year she made a durian flavored ice cream and while this southeast asian fruit is extremely popular there, it wasn’t quite as well received here. Don’t know durian? Known as the world’s smelliest fruit, Cathrine explains that it has a sweet roasted onion-y flavor.
But Cathrine loves experimenting and tries to balance sharp and pointy tart flavors with a round flavor component. This year’s birthday beauties included a brilliant pink yuzu hibicus ice cream and a gorgeous orange gac fruit with sweet sop sorbet.
She has become known about town for her intentional and creative flavor creation and has been asked to concoct new flavors for several events here in Copenhagen. You will be able to find her one of a kind ice creams developed specifically for open fridays at the National Gallery of Denmark. She’ll be there (Statens Museum for Kunst) Friday the 26th of August. Look for her. She will also be creating something special for the Open Air movie nights in the King’s Garden (Kongen Have) on August 1st and 2nd.
Can’t make it to those events? You can still try the special flavors the week following the events in her shop. And don’t worry – do you want something a little more traditional? You can always find the classics – chokolade (chocolate), vanilje (vanilla) and jordbær (strawberry.) Our family loves the iconic Danish flavors of havtorn (sea buckthorn), hydleblomst (elder flower) and lakrids (licorice.) They are “exotic” to us. Cathrine believes that you can take something as familiar and accessible as ice cream and create a gastronomical experience for all to enjoy.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Thank you Cathrine for sharing some about your passion and helping us all taste a little more of the world. From your corner. Right here in Copenhagen.
Østerberg Ice Cream
Rosenvængets Allé, 2100 Copenhagen
(in Østerbro neighborhood, one block off Trianglen)