In Copenhagen, eat your fill of truly wonderful open-face sandwiches with a multitude of tasty toppings.
With friendly people and centuries-old buildings rising alongside smart hotels and boutiques constructed in modern Danish design, Denmark's capital is also home to excellent cuisine. Its smorrebrod — pronounced something like 'smer-er-bruth' — translates as 'butter and bread' and describes the city's famous open-face sandwiches. As the name suggests, each smorrebrod starts with a piece of bread — usually rugbrod, Denmark's deep-brown, sourdough rye — spread with a thin layer of butter. A wide variety of ingredients is used to top this base to make a savory snack or light meal.
One popular version is bread topped with liver pate and served with crunchy pickled cucumber, bacon and fragrant fried mushrooms. Fish abounds in this harbor city and seafood lovers will relish a topping of smoked herring adorned with egg yolk, chives and grated radishes. Alternatively, try smoked salmon, whose robust taste goes well with mushrooms in a creamy white sauce, or shrimp — you may find Danish shrimps smaller than the ones you are used to, but what they lack in size they make up for in succulence and flavor.
To sample the fullest range of toppings, from fillet of plaice to excellent Danish cheeses, head for Restaurant Ida Davidsen. The eatery on Store Kongensgade boasts the world's largest sandwich menu, with about 300 varieties of smorrebrod.
When to go: Copenhagen and Denmark as a whole are delightful in the spring and fall. Winter is chilly and damp. Summer is pleasant, but the place swells with tourists.
Planning: In addition to the top-notch restaurants throughout the city, you can buy good-quality open-face sandwiches at many corner shops. When dining, remember that tips are automatically included in the price, but you can tip extra for exceptionally good service if you wish.
Websites: www. idadavidsen.dk, www.visitcopenhagen.com
Danes are very mindful of manners. They eat their open-sandwiches with knife and fork rather than pick up the bread with their hands.
The whimsically named Veterinarians' Midnight Snack (Dyriaegens Natmad) is an open-faced sandwich that starts with a base of liver pate and includes corned beef and meat aspic topped with onions.
As well as being one of the world's oldest amusement parks, Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, opened in 1843, brims with restaurants and cafes. The colorful harbor-side area, Nyhavn, is another good place for restaurants.