It would be “beautiful.”
Not an adjective any more elaborate like “ravishing”, or “exquisite” – although yes, it could definitely be those things too. But it is simple fare that distills the present, or the seasonal to create everyday foods that weather the evolvement of tastes and fickle tendencies.
Whether it was a lavish restaurant meal or an accessible street eat, it was beautiful, attentively made, never crass and always fresh. That was the most natural realization and what I was reminded of each time I picked up a spoon to have my first bite.
One could almost always break down the dish’s ingredients and natural flavor-givers, yet still pay and eat with satisfying surrender – the knowledge that they’d probably never be able to put the same meal together. It tells me plenty about the way of life and people in one of, if not the most contented city of the world today.
Here on Foodie Folks I’m going to document the few stops made in my first and recent trip to Copenhagen that ironically left me pining for more of “just enough” – another idea that imbues all of Copenhagen’s beliefs and resultant actions.
On the untranslatable term Lagom:
The archetypical Swedish proverb “Lagom är bäst”, literally “The right amount is best”, is also translated as “Enough is as good as a feast”. That same proverb is translated as “There is virtue in moderation”.
The famed Café Atelier September preaches Lagom with its unfussed facade and their rustic food.
A half-serving of deceivingly simple Avo Toast
Café Atelier’s star dish is its Avocado Open-faced Sandwich (DKK85), which might be quizzical to a first-timer because Smørrebrød is literally the most common Danish grub there is. But by then (more (or should we say Smørre) on this later) we knew to not underestimate humble avo sitting atop some rye, meticulously sliced no less. Sprinkled with chives, lemon zest, a pinch of spice, and then drizzled with olive oil. Impeccable.
Not drop-your-fork-and-bawl delicacy, but exceptional for avocado toast.
This was just one of many instances we were met with the unexpected, elegantly served to us on a plate on marble slate. Not rocket science – but a kind of quiet genius.
Stay tuned for more of our Nordic food expeditions over the past summer in Copenhagen.