Copenhagen: Europe's coolest green city
If you thought doing local, seasonal food Danish-style meant 101 ways to cook herring, then think again. I'm sitting in the brasserie at Nimb — a white Moroccan style confection in the middle of the Tivoli Gardens - and there’s not a fish in sight. There's local game, seasonal nuts and berries and an absolutely sensational sheep's milk bavarois but definitely no herring. It's still typically Danish but its also unexpected, interesting and, of course, green.
On this side of the North Sea, we've been hearing about Denmark's whizziness on all things eco-friendly for years but what does that really mean in the Nordic capital of cool? As far as the culinary scene is concerned, it means seasonal and with Noma's René Redzepi leading the charge, it also means unexpected, quirky and precise.
Take Nimb for example. Located in what used to be known as Carsten's Bazaar, its wedding cake of an exterior is belied by the chic, serene décor inside, and the ultra-modern take on seasonal food on offer in the brasserie. Guided by supremely knowledgeable waiter, Christian, we ate sustainably sourced organic veal, wild mushrooms, nuts and berries, and locally produced dairy. The combinations were subtle and interesting, and made use of every last bit, whether beast, fish or fruit. In the UK, this would be unusual. In Copenhagen, this is becoming the norm.
Host to the UN's 2009 Climate Change Conference, unlike Cancun, Copenhagen is a city that practises what it preaches. The water in the inner harbour is so clean, you can take a dip in it while over a third of the city's 1.1 million people regularly cycle to work, making Dronning Louise's Bro [Queen Louise's bridge], the busiest cycling spot in the western world. An estimated 35,000 cyclists stream across the bridge during morning rush hour, a seriously impressive figure especially when compared to London’s numbers: a paltry 20,500 cyclists in a city of 10 million people.