It's Sunday, and the weather is fantastic. I'm biking through Dyrehaven (north of Copenhagen) to visit some friends, and have a direct view across the treetops with no highways, 7-Elevens or skanky suburban straight people in sight. The air is clean and all you hear is the wind in the leaves. And, of course, the deer fornicating around us. It's still mating season here in Dyrehaven, and we are told not to provoke the stags as they are fierce these days.
My friends are two gay architects who reside in the far outskirts of the forest in a small, half-secret village mostly inhabited by artists and artisans. I so wanna live here.
Claus & Arne live in this beautiful old house with a green staircase and yellow walls. Don't know why, but it seems most Scandinavian, intellectual, well educated gay men also have an impeccable taste-- in food, in music and in interior aesthetics. (it sometimes goes quite over the top though, but let's just pretend this is true and let it slide, ok?)
Library: Arne is an architect conserving and restoring old buildings and castles around Denmark. He owns this tiny collection of old books on the subject.
In the kitchen, one of the Danish national dishes "flæskesteg"(pork roast) is being sliced.
The pig is organic, having lived mainly on organically produced apples its entire life on a Danish farm called Grambogaard. Its skin called "flæskesvær" is crunchy and salty like crackers, the meat juicy and tender.
Dining room: cozy and simple.
The old and tall Swedish furnace has been lit as we are approaching winter.
The heat is full and intense, and you can smell the burning wood.
Yay, lunch is ready. Notice the Royal Copenhagen "muselmalet" plates, a Danish classic.
Actually, these babies here are over 200 years old. Imagine how many meals they have served their owners!
Raw red cabbage salad with feta cheese and parsley. I loved the combination of milky feta and juicy cabbage.
Roasted potatoes with rosemary, rolled in the pork roast fatty juice. Rough and sturdy, just like we men love it.
Blended Hamburg parsley and celery root mash with regular parsley. Very subdued and delicate.
Leek salad with onions, roasted almonds, fresh homegrown apples, lemon and parsley. It's crunchy and fresh.
The drinks are lined up (from left):
- Kullamust: Swedish apple/pear cider.
- Fennel flower snaps: their own homemade snaps/spirits which tastes of anis, very deep. Exquisite.
- Hawthorn snaps: also homemade from the hawthorn berries growing on the bushes outside in the forest.
- Ale nr 16: a Danish microwbrew-- full and really delicious beer.
As everyone in the party is gay and fabulously fit (not), we decide to walk off the fat after lunch. We take a stroll in the sunset (it sets around 4pm now).
I love the long shadows only autumn can provide.
King of the forest is still here since our last mushroom hunting failure trip.
These buildings situated next to the forest contain artisan workshops, artists' studios and office for architects. The Danish forest version of Paris' Latin Quarter?
Back at the house, the sun has set and we are surrounded by pitch black darkness. Luckily the furnace is still eating into its woodpile and there's hot coffee brewing.
This teapot was made by a Danish ceramic artist - talk about Japan/Scandinavia parallels!
I was already seriously impressed by the work my friends put into the kitchen activities, but the coffee table was not left behind. And for dessert: homemade organic apple cake with hazelnuts. Spongy and fresh tasting.
Homemade "kanelbullar" - cinnamon buns/snails, a Swedish specialty.
Homemade Swedish almond cardamom biscotti, crunchy and satisfying.
What a meal. By now, I'm pretty sure everyone was feeling full and happy.
Except us four peeps from downtown Copenhagen. The sun had left the stage a long time ago, and the only way home was a 5km bike ride across a pitch black forest to the nearest little train station.
It was ice cold, pretty creepy and quite bewildering.
But we made it.