Danish princess eats meal made from surplus in dinner against food waste

Denmark’s Princess Marie, Minister for the Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and ambassadors from several countries participated in a Copenhagen dinner to raise awareness of the issue of food waste.

Danish princess eats meal made from surplus in dinner against food waste
Dutch ambassador Henk Swarttouw, Stop Wasting Food's Selina Juul, HRH Princess Marie and environment minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Photo: Per Gudmann

During the International Stop Wasting Food Dinner, which is set to become an annual event, a menu was served made of surplus food, prepared by Lucas Jeffries of Dutch anti-food waste restaurant InStock, and Denmark’s Martin Jacobsen, chef at Copenhagen Michelin restaurant Kadeau.

The event was organised by the Dutch embassy in Copenhagen and Danish NGO Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild Af Mad).

“The fight against food waste is one of the Netherlands’ top priorities. As the world’s second largest food exporting nation, we are assuming our responsibility to lead this fight,” Henk Swarttouw, the Netherlands’ ambassador to Denmark, said in a statement.

‘Ugly’ and imperfect fruits and vegetables and other good surplus food, which otherwise would have been wasted, were used to prepare the meal and guests were given the opportunity to take the leftovers home in biodegradable boxes, so nothing was wasted.

It is not known whether the Princess took home one of the boxes.

“We are very honoured and thankful that H.R.H. Princess Marie participated in our dinner against food waste – and I would also like to thank all of the guests,” Stop Wasting Food founder Selina Juul said.

“I am delighted to see that this important agenda has got such a strong anchoring,” Juul added.

One of the stated aims of the dinners was to inspire key actors present to embed the issue into their own organisations and projects, according to a joint press release issued by Stop Wasting Food and the Dutch and Swedish embassies in Copenhagen.

Other guests included representatives from Carlsberg, The Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Nestlé Nordics and HORESTA, the industry organisation for the Danish hospitality sector.

Juul’s organisation, which has for over a decade campaigned to reduce food waste in Denmark, is also involved with a government thinktank to develop the country's strategy on the issue.

Earlier this year, figures from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency showed that Danes living in apartments have reduced food waste by 24 percent per person and Danish households have reduced food waste by an average of eight percent per person over the past six years.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us, especially focusing on detached households, but overall the new numbers show that we are moving in a good direction,” Juul said when the figures were released.

Next year’s Stop Wasting Food Dinner in Copenhagen is scheduled to be hosted by the Embassy of Sweden.

READ ALSO: Danish producer saves 75 tonnes of 'ugly' tomatoes

For members


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