The small, green country made up of 406 islands with 7,314 km of coastline means that lucky Danes are never more than 50 km from the sea. It’s not unusual to see locals scouring the shallows at low tide to pick fresh mussels or cradling plastic containers bursting with berries from bushes lining country paths. Foraging has traditionally been a way of life in Denmark and families pass on the knowledge and skills to find food in the wild from generation to generation.
“A lot of Danes have been foraging for many years but since Noma and New Nordic Cuisine became really famous, it’s been spreading around the world,” says Claus Meyer’s former gastronomic adviser and chef extraordinaire Mikkel Karstad. “The whole idea of New Nordic Cuisine is that you should make food from what’s around you and what you can pick up yourself in nature – and this is something you can do wherever you are.”
To forage like a true Dane, you should only pick as much as you need; be sure not to damage the plants; and plan ahead – setting out with a roll of freezer bags, scissors and a guidebook or app at the ready to make sure you know what you’re looking for.