Father's Day is June 16

Let's start this post by trying to pronounce its title. Easy, no? The Danish language is in a league of its own.

Imagine a gurgling sound, the deep noise of a drunk blond viking with too much mead in his mouth. While Americans speak with the front of their mouth, Danes create the words way back in the mouth coming almost from the throat. You can actually keep a conversation going in Danish for very long without even opening your mouth more than a few millimeters.

Give up, huh? Well, phonetically the title spells: kæɐ̯nəˌmεlˀgsˈkʌlˌsgɔˀl and as usual when our modern, depraved brains give up, Google steps in and pronounces it for us.

So back to the actual subject of this post: kærnemælkskoldskål. Kærnemælk means buttermilk and koldskål is the name of a classic Danish dessert. It's perfect for those long warm evenings when you sit outside in your garden having dinner under the trees. During the early summer months in Denmark, it often doesn't get dark until 1am, and then already at 3:30am the sun is peeking back up from the horizon. Kærnemælkskoldskål is also great after a meal or as a cooling afternoon dishy snack. It's available pre-made in all Danish supermarkets, and if you're not in Denmark you can easily make this dish yourself.

Most Danes are very much into dairy products, even the government recommends you drink half a liter of milk per day for good health and so most Danes like this dish a lot. It's not really considered a fine dining experience, just more like an everyday dessert for the whole family--therefore it might be frowned upon if you served it for guests. But of course, only in this country. For everyone else it would be considered a nice, simple and light dessert that can easily be "dressed up" to look like a classy work of art.

You can serve it plain or as most do with kammerjunkere which are sweet vanilla flavoured biscuits. Watch this (lame) Danish commercial for kammerjunkere:


You can buy these biscuits, make them yourself, or actually just use any that you can find--it's the combination between the lemon sour dairy koldskål and the sweet biscuits that really does the trick. But you can also sprinkle granola and/or freshly sliced fruit on top for extra delight.

Let's make it!



for 2 people

4 pasteurized egg yolks (I'm missing an egg in the picture, there should be 4)
4 spoons of sugar
Half a stick of vanilla or two teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of shredded organic lemon zest
1/2 liter of buttermilk
1/2 liter of yogurt
2-3 spoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Start by parting the eggs--you want only the yellow yolks.


2. Whip the yolks with the sugar and vanilla.


You want a fluffy light eggnoggy looking texture.

3. Wash your lemon--you want it to be organic to avoid any poisonous pesticides getting into your dessert.


4. Shred a good teaspoon full of zest. This gives the dessert a certain bite.


Introducing Danish organic "old days" kærnemælk (buttermilk) from Osted Dairy:


[Is this kind of packaging available in the US? It's a sustainable and carbon-fingerprint light design. Very flexible and strong, it keeps the milk safe while avoiding annoying old school paper cartons. It takes up very little space in the trash can when folded and when burned it turns into non-toxic fumes.]

5. Pour a half a liter of the sour milk into the yolk mix while stirring elegantly with a spoon.


Introducing yogurt:


Same packaging as the kærnemælk. While I really do like the technical and environmental side of the design, the aesthetics (label/logo/info layout) is just a mess and very un-sexy. It's probably designed by the dairy farmer himself, DIY-countryside style. It could be much much nicer to look at though.

6. Shake it well and pour half a liter in as well while stirring.


Yellow marble.


7. Add the lemon zest.


Introducing organic mini kammerjunkere--mini biscuits with vanilla:


Kærnemælkskoldskål gets so much better when you add crunch and contrast.



Sliced fresh Danish strawberries.

8. Drop a bunch of each into the bowl and decorate with a leaf. Serve chilled with a glass of Asti wine.

Happy August!
Column: Skankynavia


  • Yama: Actually buttermilk is a more common word for kærnemælk, so I’ve replaced it with that – thanks.

    Canada rocks.

    Anders on

  • It sounds like “ton-o-mix-co-school” “k” pronunciation sounds very “t”. I’ve seen milk containers like that in Canada. Does sour milk mean buttermilk in the US?

    Yamahomo on

  • Who’s coming over? You mentioned this is an everyday dish, but this looks very special, like someone is coming over. Those strawberries look so good, totally red in the middle.

    yoko on

  • Ooops, am I being a bad editor again??

    Kayoko on

  • Good. Sour milk doesn’t sound appetizing, thought butter milk is sour..

    Yamahomo on

  • For the benefit of your American readers, you might point out the difference between European and American yogurt. American yogurt is a solid with a jelly-like consistency that’s sold by weight.

    (Some of us may also may need to be told that you mean plain, unsweetened yogurt. There are innumerable syrupy-sweet fruity products that are also permitted to bear the name “yogurt”.)

    Also, I think the American style of cookie called “vanilla wafers” might be a suitable replacement for kammerjunkers.

    N on

  • Kayoko: Let’s share the embaressment together.

    Yoko: Actually no one was coming over, and since I have dairy allergy I only had a few spoonfulls before saying stop. It was delicious! But now all the dairy ingredients are hanging out in my fridge quitly expiring with no one around to eat them. We must all suffer for bringing the weekly juice to UM.

    Anders on

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