All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World

Where to try Risengrød | Get Danish Christmas Porridge at Grød

TRY THE DANISH CLASSIC PORRIDGE THIS CHRISTMAS
IT’S NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST IN DENMARK

When I say porridge – you say? Grød! No, no, no. Not grod. Grød. Listen.

When I say porridge – you say? Grød! At least the Danes do. Grød is porridge. To me, the word porridge conjures up visions of huge kettles of oatmeal that has been sitting out way too long at the breakfast buffet of your hotel when on a long weekend away with your son’s lacrosse team. Oh sorry. Just me? Maybe the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? I always steer clear. Of the “porridge.” Goopy. Soupy. Snotty. Oatmeal. Don’t get me wrong. I love oatmeal. But it isn’t porridge to me. It is oatmeal. And that stuff in the kettle? That is not oatmeal.

All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World
Piping hot with butter about to melt

Here the Danes love porridge. Specifically risengrød. Rice porridge. When presented with new foods, I instinctually scroll through my mental rolodex of experiences and tastes. As you do when trying to make connections with that strange dish placed in front of you. The closest thing to risengrød that I have tried before would probably be rice pudding. In the States, it is a salad bar staple, but often gelatinous or potentially chunky. Now before you judge, not all American rice pudding is bad, but many can be. We do love the Trader Joe’s rice pudding straight from the container. Especially when served cold with cinnamon and nutmeg. Wait. Cold? Nutmeg? Did you say NUTMEG?!?! Records screeching silent. Looks of disdain. Utter shock and horror. You do NOT put nutmeg on risengrød, says my Danish friend. Oh. Ok. Duly noted. Thanks for the tip.

When we moved here two years ago, we found a tube of risengrød at the local Netto, a local market that I can only describe as a cross between Safeway, Tesco and the Dollar Store shoved inside the space of a 7-11. But Netto is an institution here. And a shopping experience it is. You either love it or you hate it. Or you grow to love it. Nothing is ever in the same place. There are boxes everywhere and there is nary a concern for presentation or atmosphere. Of any kind. But the prices are good. Very good. For Danish prices. Before arriving, I had read a little about Danish Christmas and knew that this tube at Netto was potentially a key player. It said Risengrød. That was an important Danish dish. You can see our first attempts at testing it here. Oh what we didn’t know that we didn’t even know at that time.

In Denmark, grød is a staple. (You’re still trying to say it correctly aren’t you? Keep trying.) You can eat grød for breakfast, lunch AND even dinner. Risengrød gets elevated status as a special dish at Christmas time. Think about it. Rice doesn’t grow here in Denmark. It was imported. You had to buy it. So if you normally made your daily grød from commonly grown grains like oats or rye or barley, rice was special. A treat. As was the exotic cinnamon which topped it. A risengrød was for Christmas. And when served at the beginning of the rich Danish Christmas dinner people filled up and it helped meter the costs of the more expensive dishes like the Duck and Roast Pork. Today, when modern Danes serve risengrød to their families, they make connections to history and those cultural roots. Those roots set in early, as most children have grown up with porridge for breakfast. It is comfort food in a bowl. And my family was eating it all wrong.

It should be served piping hot. With a “knob” of butter. And covered in cinnamon sugar. COVERED. Let the butter melt, but don’t stir it all in. Nibble like a Nisse from the edges. What’s a Nisse you ask? Those mischievous little sprites that live in the forest and help at the farm, but only if you treat them well. In December they move inside. Modern children place nissedør (doors) in their homes to allow the Nisse access. Leave them a little risengrød and they might leave a present in your boot. But forget and they might hide the toaster. Or move your shoes. They’ll play tricks to remind you. I can’t help but think that the “Elf on the Shelf” tradition has some roots with the nisse. Nisse love risengrød.

And risengrød has to be the perfect consistency. Recipes allow for any short grain rice, but Danes only use grødris. Follow a recipe. Keep stirring and stirring. Don’t walk away or the milk will burn. The rice shouldn’t be al dente, but definitely not mush. You want to feel the grains when you chew. It needs some tooth. Too much to take in? Not interested in making your own risengrød? But you are intrigued by this Danish tradition? Don’t worry. You can try it. At GRØD.

Yes. There is a restaurant that serves only porridge. In bowls. Piping hot. In fact, GRØD loves to claim that they were “the world’s first porridge bar.” You can visit the mother ship in Nørrebro on charming Jæggersborgade or in the glass market at Torvehallerne. Lucky for me, my Danish friend loves GRØD and we have one right here in our Østerbro neighborhood.

Today, we met for a bowl of the klassisk risengrød. Served just how she taught me. It’s simple. But homey. And definitely not soupy. Just right. Let the butter melt. Don’t stir it in. Warm and filling. Do I need it everyday? Probably not. But I would not say no to another bowl of porridge served hot.

All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World
Risengrød covered in cinnamon sugar with butter starting to melt.

GRØD serves many different kinds of porridge beyond the simple and traditional risengrød. They want to elevate what they believe a classic and elegant meal in a bowl. I will admit that last time I visited I enjoyed the curried lentil porridge. Been to GRØD? It is definitely worth seeking out. What did you try? This time of year – don’t miss the risengrød. Cozy Danish Christmas in a bowl.

WHERE TO FIND GRØD

Torvehallerne Glass Market

Hall 2, Stade 8A, Linnésgade 17
1362 Copenhagen K
Monday – Friday: 07.30-19-00
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 to 18:00

NøRREBRO

Jægersborggade 50, kld. TV
DK-2200 Copenhagen N
Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 21:00
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 to 21:00

Østerbro

Nordre Frihavnsgade 55,
2100 Copenhagen Ø
Monday – Friday: 7:30 to 21:00
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 to 21:00

Additional locations in Frederiksberg and on Jutland in Aarhus.

Need a recipe? Try this one and find more Danish Christmas food classics. Glædelig Jul from Denmark! Merry Christmas from Copenhagen, Erin.

Where to Find Christmas in Denmark | Try a tree farm and julemarked via Oregon Girl Around the World

Finding Christmas in Denmark

When moving abroad – honoring your own family holiday traditions while sampling those of your new home can feel like a balancing act. Especially, in a country like Denmark. Small and fierce and proud of their heritage and customs – Jul is a set tradition that you don’t mess around with. Just ask any Dane you know – where Julemanden (Santa) is “from” and what he eats on Christmas Eve when leaving presents for your kids. Hint: it’s NOT the North Pole and there is nary a cookie. And the specific ritual and menu for the Julefrokost or Christmas dinner is not to be adapted, tweaked or innovated neither. No modern new Nordic cuisine here, this is tradition. Who would dare suggest wood ants on moss during Jul. And when do you celebrate Christmas in Denmark? December 24th of course.

Danes take their Christmas customs very seriously. And Christmas is somewhat of an obsession here – celebrated through the entire advent season. It makes sense as the days get shorter and shorter and darker and darker. We all need reasons to light candles and bake cookies and hang wreaths. I personally love the Dansk passion for tradition and family and community and when you are allowed in to share theirs, it is lovely. Sometimes intimate, sometimes raucous but always interesting. One Danish tradition I can completely get behind is the annual trip to cut the juletræ – your Christmas tree.

Rosendal Julemarked, Ålsgårde Denmark | Where to Find Christmas in Denmark via Oregon Girl Around the World
Rosendal Julemarked – Juletræer in Ålsgårde, Denmark

 

Rosendal Julemarked, Ålsgårde Denmark | Where to Find Christmas in Denmark via Oregon Girl Around the World
Our own Julemanden at Rosendal’s Julemarked

This is something that feels very familiar as we have always done this every year no matter where we have lived. From Michigan to Ohio to Pennsylvania to Texas to Oregon and now here in Denmark. And while we may be a little earlier than the average Scandi with our tree procurement and installation, I can highly recommend the experience. This was our second annual outing to one of the seriously most hyggeligt Christmas markets and tree farms in Nordsjælland – Rosendal Julemarked. You can take a historic train ride from Hellerup Station or Hillerød Station to reach Rosendal Farm in little Ålsgårde near Helsingnør. From the train depot, it is a short walk to the farm where you follow the tree-lined path down to the barn where all the Jule activity is happening.

There are chickens and roosters roaming around the pre-cut trees. Warm your hands on the open burners before grabbing a saw and heading out to the field if you want to pick your own. Wear boots as it can be very muddy.

Rosendal Julemarked, Ålsgårde Denmark | Where to Find Christmas in Denmark via Oregon Girl Around the World
Nordmann Fir Juletrær at Rosendal Julemarked

There are only two kinds of trees available here – Nordmann Firs and Rødgrans (a traditional Spruce tree.) Being an Oregon girl from the land of towering Douglas fir trees – I always go for a fir. Scurry on out to the field and take a look. Just don’t let your wee lass get too fixated on any specific one only to be drawn to tears when that wasn’t the family’s selection (second year in a row). I do not negotiate with terrorists, but I am somewhat remiss to admit – I buckled and we took hers. Red-faced and muddy – with our heavy, green, fragrant fir in tow, we head back to the Julemarked.

While Far (Dad) has them tie up the tree, we are welcome to explore the barn – there are bunnies to cuddle and round pink little piggies to pet. Small children might want to ride a pony or be pulled in a cart.

Rosendal Julemarked, Ålsgårde Denmark | Where to Find Christmas in Denmark via Oregon Girl Around the World
Pony cart rides at Rosendal Julemarked

Walk in past the caught pheasants and deer for your dinner and be instantly charmed. Little white lights twinkle through the hay-lined market. Tucked in amidst baubles and trinkets and décor for your tree – small Julegaver (gifts) are sold – and everywhere wishes of “Glædelig Jul.”

But more than the tree drama and fluffy lop bunnies, my favorite part of the Rosendal experience is the warm Gløgg* or Cocoa and fresh æbleskivers with jam and powdered sugar. You order per person, with three to an order, but they are so fluffy and yummy that you might need a second round. I’m not saying that we did. But YOU might. Cozy and candle lit, with a live roaring fire – the back hall of the market is a perfect respite. Our first year here our visit was timed closer to Christmas and the tables were packed. But this year, we had no trouble finding the perfect spot to enjoy this first Sunday of the advent season!

A quintessential Danish Jul experience. And while I can probably not pronounce Glædelig correctly – I can still wish you one. Glædelig Jul! Cheers from Copenhagen! – Erin

GOOD TO KNOW:

Rosendal-Gaard
Rosendalsvej 5
3140 Ålsgårde

CHRISTMAS MARKET | JULEMARKED OPENING HOURS:

19 November to 23 December 2016
Wednesday – Sunday from 10-17

Entrance is free, but they only take cash, Dankort or mobilepay for your christmas goodies. Enjoy!

+45 20 82 19 77
info@rosendal-gaard.dk

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*Gløgg is a Danish Christmas drink made of warm mulled wine with spices, raisins and sliced almonds.

Sharing this little Danish Christmas sip with Faraway Files Travel Blog Community. Skål! Cheers!

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