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How to make the perfect 'hygge' Danish breakfast

The Danes are the happiest people on earth. Perhaps it’s because they start their day with a warm, comforting brunch. Here's how to get some hygge into your morning routine...

Danish pastries (Christine Rudolph)

In Denmark, breakfast is all about hygge, the cosy atmosphere for which the Danes are famed. The key is shared tables and outside eating, simple local produce, eaten in company.

A day in Copenhagen traditionally begins with three ingredients: rye bread, eggs and coffee. Now, however, it has become fashionable to indulge in freshly baked crisp pastries from artisanal bakeries that are scattered all around the city. 

Porridge is a big deal as well, especially for cold winter mornings, And, then of course, brunch has also become popular for lazy morning gatherings, where you can indulge on scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. 

Everything in Copenhagen is done with style, whether you cook at home or eat out. Try these five classic breakfast and a godmorgen is practically guaranteed. 

1. Grød

Oats with milk (Shutterstock)

Oats with milk (Shutterstock)

The Danish are raised on oats. Known locally as grød, this cheap and comforting food has been on the Dane’s top list for decades and everyone has their own favourite way to eat it. 

Oats can be cooked in water or milk, made with or without sugar and butter, and can be topped with dried fruit, fresh fruit and nuts, honeys and syrups. The options are endless. A steaming bowl of grød is an especially popular choice in winter, when the weather is cold and wintry. 

It’s also a healthy way to start the day, as oats will keep you going all morning.

2. Granola and yoghurt

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

Granola is a crunchy mix of toasted nuts, flakes of grain and dried fruits and often made at home. This quick and healthy choice is mixed with a simple yoghurt.

It is also a popular choice in hip cafes around Copenhagen, where you can have it served with stewed squash. 

3. Soft boiled egg with rye bread and butter

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

This is the true favourite breakfast choice amongst Copenhagen folk. It's hearty, and the perfect way to start a busy day. 

The egg must be cooked to perfection (six minutes in boiling water) so it has a runny yolk, and is served on freshly toasted slices of rye bread, so the butter melts slightly. The boiled egg is commonly served both at home and in many cafes. 

Everyone is very particular about how to crack the egg and take off the top, priming it for dipping in the toast.

4. Morning bun

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

Fresh whole wheat rolls often topped with pumpkin or sesame seeds, or toasted flaked oats, is the Danes' easy go-to breakfast. They're best eaten when combined with your pick of butter, jams, cheeses and hams.

Most cafes will have a board of fresh rolls, butter, seasonal preserves (berries in the summer, apples in the autumn), sliced cheese and ham at the counter. You choose your coffee and order a roll. It’s the same price for both a sweet and savoury topping. 

5. A Danish pastry

When you feel like you have a bit more time and want to treat to yourself, the choice will be a flaky, crunchy pastry.

There are so many variations and lots of them have cinnamon as a key ingredient. 

The trendiest Danish bun at the moment, now available all over the world, is the twisted cardamom bun and cinnamon bun – the latter is always finished with the characteristic sprinkling of crushed sugar.

And don't forget the coffee!

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

(Christine Rudolph)

You don’t eat it, of course, but coffee is an absolute must for breakfast time if you're in Copenhagen, or any Danish city. 

Denmark has a long history of being a coffee nation. We were once known for brewing our coffee and keeping it in tall flasks to serve throughout the day. This has now changed and for us Danish, the fresher the brew, the better. 

The pour-over is the go-to trend these days; with baristas taking great care and pride with their beans to produce the best coffee in town.

Susie Theodorou and Christine Rudolph are the authors of Copenhagen Cult Recipes, journey to the heart of Copenhagen's culinary traditions and enviable lifestyle. It is published by Murdoch Books and can be ordered on Amazon now.

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