We arrived at Høst, a modest restaurant front, at 6 pm. The first detail I noticed was the clean and simple tan uniform that the employees wore. The restaurant had a hipster-minimalistic feel. Our table was located under the restaurant. Water, sparkling water, glasses, bread, and lap napkins were set on the table. Fifteen minutes into our dinner we were served our first dish. I expected small portions and the first dish seemed to prove my point. The bread and the first dish were served on natural inedible materials such as grass and rocks. I am not sure if those materials were solely for decoration.
Rather than listing every dish that I had, I will share the ones that I was most intrigued by. Firstly, the small white strawberry. It was a Danish strawberry. It was clever to take a traditional food such as the Danish strawberry and dip it in a Danish classic such as mayo. The seventh statement in the New Nordic Manifesto is as follows, “To develop new possible applications of traditional Nordic food products.” I felt that the strawberry and mayo combo exemplified that statement.
Another dish that got me going was the creamy grains with peas and marigolds. As a child, I could only dream of eating flowers. The dainty purple flowers looked almost too delicate to eat but eating the fried marigold felt so natural. I’ve always felt that no matter what the food, if fried, it will taste good. The marigold was proof for me. The peas and grains were covered in a rather sweet dressing which complemented the flowers well.
The first dessert I experienced was more obscure than the ice cream. It was described as a liquid nitrogen cream and was topped with a tiny pinecone. The tiny pinecone packed a huge punch. I ate the pinecone first, as instructed, and the flavor lasted with every bite of the porridge like dessert. The taste of the cream was sweet yet subtle. I tasted the purity of the dish. In the presentation entitled New Nordic Cuisine, purity is described as such, “Achieving harmony with the environment is important – it reflects the image we have of Nordic society.” I feel like there was a harmony between the strong taste of the pinecone and the subtle taste of the cream. The use of a natural ingredient, the pinecone, gives off the sense of harmony.
The atmosphere of Høst reflected the qualities of New Nordic cuisine- simplicity, purity, and harmony with nature. Our server calmly and proudly described each dish as they reflected the culture of the country where she lived. The mood of the event was laid back. While many people in the restaurant were dressed semi-formally, they seemed to be social and easy-going. The restaurant was what I imagined it to be- minimalist and for well off customers. The food surprised me. While some dishes were minuscule and the plates looked like works of art, the food was of outstanding quality. The dishes all embodied the New Nordic Manifesto. I didn’t expect the food to be as flavorful as they were. While eating New Nordic cuisine, I related to Jared Demick when he wrote, “Senses dilled, you are eating memories, splinters of a landscape tattooed on your tongue.” The New Nordic dinner was more than a meal, it was an experience of the Nordic landscape. I am grateful that I ended the trip with a New Nordic dinner. Nordic cultures, especially the Danes, value time spent together so it was only natural that we ate dinner as a class.