This time of year, I often yearn to partake in gloriously festive shenanigans. Nursing a cup of hot mulled wine as I mince around the mistletoe, watching back to back cringe-worthy Christmas films, eating my entire body weight in Terry’s Chocolate Orange. You get my point.
This year, I took my Christmas obsession to new heights when I visited Copenhagen with my favourite person.
After a weekend of gorging on fine foods, excessive cycling and Instagram worthy sightseeing, I have compiled this handy guide of where to eat, stay and play in the Danish city once home to the Yuletide-loving Hans Christian Anderson.
For resting your head after a boozy 5 hour dinner
The Absalon Hotel is by far my accommodation of choice in this quaint city. Conveniently nestled a stones throw away from the main station, this modern yet homely hotel takes pride of place in Vesterbro – once Copenhagen’s red light district and now one of the city’s most fashionable areas.
Bedrooms are colourful, plush and spacious, boasting extra large king sized beds and bathrooms with colourful mood lighting.
Our floor also was home to a rather exciting table by the lifts which was lovingly adorned with cartons of spring water and tins of freshly baked Danish biscuits for naughty midnight nibbles.
Breakfasts consisted of an alluring buffet of cold meats, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit, pancakes, boiled eggs, freshly baked Danish pastries and creamy rice pudding – perfect for icy cold mornings.
One of the highlights of this home away from home had to be the free bike lending service. Although temperatures were bitterly cold, we would wrap up warm every day and join the oodles of other cyclists choosing to soak up the sights of this enchanting city by bike.
Where to dine in style
The ultra chic Mielcke & Hurtigkarl restaurant is romantically hidden in Copenhagen’s beautiful royal gardens – a proud gem of the renowned Royal Danish Horticultural Garden Society. We entered through the graceful glass doors and were impressed at the regal grandeur of the dining room – all crystal chandeliers, magnums of champagne and sultry lighting.
Lovers locked eyes as they devoured delicate plates of Pintrest-worthy culinary creations and nursed elegant glasses of vintage wine. The waiting staff were warm and welcoming, explaining in minute detail the story behind each exquisite menu.
We opted for the decadent Metamorphosis menu, inspired by the travels of the restaurant’s fine food-loving general manager. Inimitable dishes were brought one by one to the table and included plates of plump scallops infused with white miso, pigeon marinated in a truffle-rich sherry sauce and oysters surrounded by peas, watercress and beach herbs.
Dishes were immaculately presented and works of art in their own right – perfect for adventurous foodies with eclectic tastes.
After dinner we made our way to the outdoor seating area to sip on pipping hot herbal tea whilst wrapped up warm in fluffy blankets. As I stared into the crackling wood fires surrounding us, I mentally made a note to return.
For the best Italian food outside of Italy
This glamorous canal-facing, Michelin-starred restaurant has been recently awarded the titles of “World’s best Italian restaurant outside of Italy” and “Restaurant of the year 2017” by the publisher of the Italian restaurant bible Gambero Rosso International.
Elvio Milleri opened Era Ora after leaving his family farm house in Umbria to work as a banker in Tuscany where he became disappointed with the “boring food.”
After years of sitting down daily with 25 members of his family to indulge in hearty Italian home cooked meals, Elvio had developed an exquisite taste and started to cook for himself.
After developing a more fervent passion for food, Elvio quit his banking job and opened Era Ora in 1983, where he served only three dishes. His most popular creation was roast beef marinated in parmesan, lemon and wild fennel.
An avid wine lover, Elvio started collecting fine wine – today the restaurant is home to a wine cellar boasting over 90,000 bottles, dating as far back as the 1960’s.
Since 1997, Era Ora has been awarded a whopping 21 Michelin stars, and after tasting the food, it was easy to see why. We opted for the shamelessly debaucherous Extreme Wine Menu – an extravagant ten course tasting menu with each dish paired with some of the finest wines I have ever tasted.
Admittedly, due to the copious amount of glorious wine consumed, many of the courses remain in my memory as somewhat hazy gastronomic pleasures – yet I do recall the braised beefs cheek, served with a puree of potatoes and fried dragon kale to be a winner. The enticing plates of freshly made pasta muddled with Porcini, smoked burrata and hazelnuts were also quite the palate pleasers.
I urge all fine food aficionados (with a love of biking) to visit the enchanting Danish city of Copenhagen – just remember to bring a bulging wallet and clothing with adjustable waistbands.