13 August 2011

Your Back Garden

Copenhagen is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, and the winning formula is regional cooking, using locally grown produce. Obviously they don't shop where the mere mortals do because our choices up until now have primarily been limited, and controlled by a few supermarket chains. I always wondered where they got the good stuff, and who I would have to... eh, buy a cup of coffee to get my hands on some. And then I discovered Din Baghave (Your Back Garden), a chain of small shops buying directly from the best farmers. The shop on Tullinsgade (on Vesterbro) is a small two room basement, of which the back room is refrigerated to keep the veggies happy. And from the look of them, they are.

Baby beets.

Despite the size of the place, there is almost too much to take in, in just one visit: vegetables, fruit, honey, homemade vinegars, whole grain for grinding on the spot (like coffee) and fresh herbs. But what really blew my mind were the eggs. I would never knowingly buy eggs from unhappy chicken, if I can't afford the good ones, I would rather go without. But I don't think I ever tasted eggs from deliriously happy and apple fed chicken before. What a difference, from the taste (not apple, just... rich), to the shell, harder and more varied in size and shape. And I love the story behind it: at an apple orchard they had trouble with the fallen fruit rotting on the ground faster than they could pick it up. So they got chicken to do the job, problem solved. As a bonus they got a production of eggs. And as if that was not enough, the apple trees have never been happier, with the chickens contributing to the soil (if you know what I mean). Have you ever heard of so many wins in one?




Everything is clearly marked with the farmers name and location.

 Baby tomatoes, sweet but sour.



Since my first visit the procrastinator perfectionist in me wanted to wait until I got even more yummy pictures for this post, and as a result the Monocle beat me to it, naming Din Baghave one of their five favorite grocery shops in the world. As a consolation (yes, it is all about me, haha) the Baghave lady offered me an onion flower to sprinkle on my eggs on rye. My first onion flower:

Onion flower

Life can be so good sometimes.

 
The shop in Tullinsgade:

Din Baghave
Tullinsgade 10
1618 Copenhagen V

Opening hours May-October: 10-18, Fridays 10-19

Link: Din Baghave (in Danish)
Link: Small movie from Monocle on the worlds best grocery stores (Cph starts at 1.07)

UPDATE:

Din Baghave is no longer in business. Poor Copenhagen.
 

11 comments:

  1. Now I'm hungry! *LoL*
    Loved the chicken and apple trea story!

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  2. Super photos, dear girl!!

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  3. Hi Drumstick, I love the egg story too. It is burned into my memory.

    And thank you Bert! I'm happy you approve.

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  4. What a great grocery store (and the pictures that you took of it)! I love that the farmers' names appear next to the produce- you actually get to "meet" who grew your food! Fab!

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  5. Isn't it amazing how different eggs can be? We get ours from the farm where we also get fresh, raw milk every week, and the yolks are super intensely orange and beautiful, and they taste SO good. And they look natural, and not like they were fabricated by a machine in some egg factory (all exactly the same size and shape and color).

    Those beets look amazing! Which reminds me, we need to make that cold beet soup again soon. I want to try doing it with normal cooked beets instead of canned ones - I'll have to pick some up at our neighborhood farmers' market on Saturday.

    Those beautiful fresh onions like that are the best way to go. They are so pretty, and taste wonderful. If you can grow them as well, and then use the flowers, even better! I love chive blossoms too, that really bright color, and so tasty!

    Hopefully Din Baghave will help raise awareness in Copenhagen that there is a difference between this and the food they are getting in the supermarkets, and people will demand more food from local farms.

    This happened in Portland, and now even large supermarket chains are starting to carry some produce from local farmers, and there are a lot of smaller places to get things that were grown very nearby. If we wanted, we could probably eat only things that were grown or raised in Oregon, and possibly even in the northwest corner of Oregon where Portland sits (though that might take some work, and a reduction in meat consumption). Still, compared to most of the country whose entire food supply comes from mega-farms halfway across the country, that's pretty good. And boy, is it good food. It's beautiful, smells wonderful, tastes even better, and doesn't incur all the damaging effects of the mega-farming and subsequent transportation of that stuff all over the country.

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  6. Hi Celena, it is like a small adoption scenario. It is almost like buying it straight from the farmer this way, you get a sense that a lot of care is involved, and you feel it when you prepare the food too, somehow.

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  7. Hi Dave, what an interesting thought, that it will create a demand at the supermarkets, I hope you are right. I always said that if people really knew what they were missing, how good food can taste, they would be rioting in front of the supermarkets. You wouldn't believe the no-taste indifferent crap they pass for food here...

    This store is really a big step in the right direction, and the closest thing we have to a farmers market. There are so many things I am willing to live without, I don't need (or want) a flatscreen tv, a car or a big house, but good food is the last thing to go.

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  8. Oh, believe me, I would believe any kind of crap in supermarkets - we specialize in that here :) At one supermarket, all the meat says "Southern Grown" (meaning probably from Texas) - as if they're proud of that, when we have such beautiful animals being raised 20 miles away, who were fed nutritious food, treated well, butchered cleanly, and then delivered to the stores fresh and beautiful, not washed in ammonia or irradiated or god knows what else in order to kill all the crap that lives in the mass-produced meat. The produce in the supermarkets all looks identical, the same shapes, sizes and colors, like it was manufactured, not grown. It is also identically bland. And yet we have so many farms within 30 min to an hour driving from the center of the city producing beautiful vegetables.

    And the most insane thing, is that the U.S. Government pours tons of money into subsidizing all that mass food-production, making it artificially cheap, which means, of course, that everyone wants to buy it, because a pound of that meat is $2 cheaper than a pound of meat from the small farm near us. The problem is, it's unhealthy and tastes like something that sat out a bit too long after dying.

    Between transportation, food, and our healthcare system, I think our present health epidemic in the U.S. is pretty much government-made from the top down.

    I agree with you, if there is one thing I'm going to make a priority to spend money on, it's going to be the food I put in my body. Not only do I then feel better, but good food looks, tastes and smells so good!

    We had my wife's parents, grandma, and great aunt up for dinner a while ago (they all live something like 120 miles south of Portland), and we made Boeuf Bourguignon, bacon-wrapped dates, salad with a vinaigrette and bleu cheese, and I think cupcakes for dessert. Anyway, partway through the meal, my wife's great aunt looked at us and said, grinning, "you guys eat like kings, don't you?" :)

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  9. When the time comes I hope I meet a man who loves to cook, because I love food, but not cooking. If I have to (and I do, haha) I can, and it can be pretty good, but I love eating something that has been prepared for me by someone else. And oddly I love shopping for groceries, picking out the best, smelling and touching and researching where to find the good stuff. So why don't I love to cook? Frustrating.

    It is funny because I can also get hungry from reading about food, and your menu just did that for me. I can almost taste it. :-)

    (and eeew, meat sitting out too long after dying, ugh that sort of does the opposite..)

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  10. What a nice post Sandra! I love your photos, and you were right to wait... Anyway, I agree that we should not buy those poor tasting, poor looking nasty for the environment and our health products. That said there is such an education to give, because of course, we, who read your blog, are already convinced. Also many people think they can't afford them, but I'm also convinced that eating right is not necessary more expensive, you might have to eat less sometimes, cook more, and not give in some of those boho shops you find in big cities ;-) Paris is crazy with the prices, this is such a shame, because the diversity of population is disappearing, so sad...

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  11. Hi Carole, I look so much forward to the inside scoop of everyday life in Paris. My experience with Paris (as a visitor only, of course) is that there is good food available to everybody. You have farmer markets and yummy tasting fresh baked bread on every corner and the quality is a hundred times better than here. You have no idea how hard it is to find a fresh lettuce here that actually tastes good. They may look the part, but they don't hold up.

    I am sorry to hear that the diversity is disappearing from Paris. It is happening in Berlin too, and in Copenhagen of course. But part of the charm of Paris are the inhabitants, how sad if it just becomes a tourist playground.

    And the pictures.. it really was a procrastinating thing because except from the onion flower, I had all of them on my first visit. :D

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