Copenhagen’s new food market opens

With the opening of yet another food market in Copenhagen this weekend, the city is strengthening its brand as the gastro capital of Scandinavia. This time everyone should be able to afford it.

Copenhagen’s new food market opens
Copenhagen will now get yet another food market. "Kødbyen Mad & Marked" opens this weekend in the hip Meatpacking District in Vesterbro. Photo: Kødbyen Mad & Marked

Now it’s here: Copenhagen’s new food market in the hip Meatpacking District in Vesterbro. At the opening weekend, you can sample food from 62 stalls representing all corners of the world.

The new 1,400-square metre market “Kødbyen Mad & Marked” is located in one of the city’s hippest areas: Kødbyen in Vesterbro, where the parking lot at Flæsketorvet now has been converted into an open-air market.

It follows the success of Torvehallerne, which opened in September 2011 near Nørreport Station, and Copenhagen Street Food, which opened in April on Papirøen.

If you are in Copenhagen this weekend, you will be able to attend the grand opening on Saturday April 4th from 10-18:00 as well as on Sunday April 5th. For the rest of the summer, the market will be open every Saturday as well as the first Sunday of each month until September.

Fresh food and sharp prices

With all the different food offers in Copenhagen, which in many ways have popped up as a direct or indirect result of the city’s world-class restaurant Noma, one may wonder what is different this time?

There is a difference, however, the people behind Kødbyen Mad & Marked told Politiken. Keywords are fresh and affordable food – for everyone.

“The goal is to create a market that a single mother and a student will afford to visit every weekend,” Simon Bacon Kullegaard (28) told Politiken.

Kullegaard is one of the three founders of the market. The other two are his friends Christian Lundgaard Astorp (28) and Jacob Uhd Jepsen (42).

The new market will focus on “produces and food that you can feel, taste and smell,” according to its homepage. It will offer coffee, lunch and street food and fresh ingredients for your dinner at home.
Among the food the stalls offer are biodynamic meat, wine, eggs, sausages, bread … For a complete overview of this weekend’s stalls, visit the market’s homepage.

You can rent a stall for 625 or 750 Danish kroner.

Not Brick Lane or La Boqueria

For the past six months, the food-trio has visited food markets in London, Germany and the US and worked hard to persuade the municipality as well as food producers that this market is a good idea.
Although they have been inspired by markets elsewhere, however, they emphasise that this market will be one of a kind.

“One should not think that this is the Brick Lane Market or La Boqueria in Barcelona when visiting the market. One should think that this market has its own identity,” Kullegaard told Politiken.

Farmer’s Market in Denmark

The idea is to create something that resembled the Farmer’s Markets in the US and England. It has been difficult, however, to persuade the busy Danish farmers to set aside time and come to town to sell their products. The founders, however, are happy that they have succeeded in persuading quite a few to be part of the new market.

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Why does Denmark produce so much cheese?

From Danbo to Danablu and the Danish feta that can't be called feta - Denmark produces over four hundred thousand tonnes of cheese each year and exports it across the world. So why is Danish cheese so popular, and what are the country's best-loved cheeses?

Why does Denmark produce so much cheese?

Cheese-making is a serious business in Denmark. In 2021, the country produced a total of 454,500 tonnes of cheese and Danish cheese has won awards at the World Championship Cheese Contest.

The tradition goes back to the Viking era and today, the country’s climate and pastoral land make it ideal for producing cheese (ost). About three quarters of the country’s milk production is turned into cheese, butter and milk powder.

Not only is cheese popular in Denmark, where it’s eaten with pretty much any meal and snack (can you even have a bolle [bread roll] without ost?), it is also eaten around the world in countries including South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, Nigeria and even France.

In 2021, Denmark exported a total of 401,845 tonnes of cheese, making it one of the top cheese exporters in the world. The biggest importer of Danish cheese was Germany (94,419 tonnes), followed by Sweden (52.924 tonnes) and the UK (42,905 tonnes). 18,097 tonnes of cheese was exported to Japan and 5,657 to the United States.

What types of cheese does Denmark make?

The different types of cheese in Denmark can be hard to distinguish and there are a lot of them. You can quite easily end up with a fridge full of strong smells that you weren’t expecting. 

Danbo, often called ‘Denmark’s national cheese’, is the most produced and consumed cheese in Denmark. It has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, meaning it can only be made in Denmark to specific Danish standards.

Danbo is sold under various trade and brand names, including LillebrorGamle Ole, and Riberhus. Lillebror (meaning Little brother) is very mild and often sold in childrens’ packs, whereas Gamle Ole (meaning Old Ole) is matured for a long time, which means it’s strong and smelly. Caraway seeds are sometimes added to this cheese.

Esrom also has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status and is made from pasteurised cow’s milk. It is semi-soft with small holes and is pretty pungent.

Havarti is one of the most famous Danish cheeses. It’s a bit like a cheddar in that the taste can be mild, but the longer the cheese is stored, the stronger it gets. 

Danablu is a Danish Blue soft blue cheese, similar to Roquefort. It has a strong aroma and a sharp and a little salty taste. Danablu is often used in America to make blue cheese dressing for salads and blue cheese dip for chicken wings. 

A dairy farm in Klemensker, Bornholm has twice been named world champion in cheese making. Photo: Morten Juhl/Ritzau Scanpix

Mycella is a veined blue cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk on the island of Bornholm and is similar to Gorgonzola. It goes well in a salad or cheese platter or even crumbled on top of an open sandwich.

Blå kornblomst, meaning ‘blue cornflower’, is a creamy blue cheese with a mild, slightly salty taste. The cheese is white to yellowish with blue tinges and is made from pasteurised cow’s milk on North Jutland.

Danish rygeost, meaning ‘smoked cheese’ is mild, light and smokey. It originates from 19th century Funen, with some believing it dates back to the Viking Age. 

A dish of potato, monkfish and smoked cheese.

A dish of potato, monkfish and smoked cheese. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

Vesterhavsost, meaning ‘North Sea Cheese’, is a semi-hard cheese with a slightly salty taste as it is ripened in the sea air of North Jutland. It’s referred to as the Danish version of Gouda. 

Fyrmester or Fyrtårnsost, meaning ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’ or ‘Lighthouse Cheese’, is an extra-mature version of the vesterhavsost, aged for at least 52 weeks.

Samsø cheese is similar to Emmentale and made on the island of Samsø in Kattegat.

Hvid ost, meaning ‘white cheese’, is Denmark’s equivalent to feta cheese but uses cow’s milk rather than the goat or sheep’s milk used in Greek feta cheese. It’s milder and doesn’t crumble like Greek feta cheese because it’s made differently, using something called ultrafiltration.

There have been debates as to whether this actually makes it feta cheese. Earlier this year, Denmark lost a case at the European Court of Justice over its farmers exporting cheese outside the EU labelled feta, something only Greece can do. The cheese is sometimes labelled in supermarkets as ‘salad cubes’ (salat-tern).

There is, perhaps, one thing that unites almost all Danish cheeses: they are sliced using the characteristic ostehøvl (cheese slicer), the quintessential Danish kitchen utensil.

There are two types of ostehøvl: a wire-based type and a version that looks a bit like a trowel, with a raised edge and a gap in the middle for the sliced cheese to pass through.

Cheese vocab:

Blød ost: Soft cheese

Halvfast ost: Semi-soft cheese 

Fast ost: Semi-hard cheese 

Hård ost: Hard cheese

Ekstra hård ost: Extra hard cheese

Frisk ost: Fresh cheese

Ostehøvl: cheese slicer