24 oktober 2010

Danish Rye Bread Project

Danish rye bread project in NYC

We will create an event to promote the Danish rye bread tradition by making wonderfully tasting smørrebrød, that is, the unique tradition of Danish open-faced sandwiches. The project serves to celebrate and promote Danish rye bread because it ties with food traditions and culture, and also because it is a delicious food that supports health, the collaboration between cultures, and general well being and having a good life.


Open-faced sandwiches started as very simple food in 1880. In the age of industrialisation, more and more people worked in factories and they had to bring lunch for the midday break. In Denmark, you ate lunch at the factory. There wasn’t time to go home and eat. The lunch box contained slices of bread with some salty fat spread, and then it quickly evolved. Often the topping would be left-overs from dinner the night before, so that would be cold cuts or some vegetables like boiled potatoes. In order to get more taste there could be added salted fat, mustard, or preserved beetroots or something similar.

Restaurants started to serve smørrebrød, and they soon became more elaborated and decorated. In the 1920s they were popular at dance restaurants where the guests did not want to spend hours sitting down to eat a 3 course dinner, but instead wanted to spend their time dancing. For more than 100 years smørrebrød has evolved with time. The variety is plenty, and the pieces often have names that could be after people or places.

We have restaurants in Denmark with a more than hundred years old tradition for serving smørrebrød. Visit these places tell some of the Danish history. If enjoyed in restaurants you drink aquavit and beer with smørrebrød.

Smørrebrød has become popular again in Denmark, both the very traditional types, but also the more modern healthy variety. At this time and era the emphasis is on the bread and on putting together healthy toppings.

The event will take place at New Amsterdam Market on November 14. Follow it here on Trina Hahnemann’s blog: how the collaboration went along, and please lets us know your experience with rye bread. Any comment is welcome, as are stories, recipes and memories you would like to share.

DANISH CONSULATE GENERAL, NEW YORK, sponsors the project! It is a collaboration between a group of people: Claire Hartten, Robert LaValva from New Amsterdam Market, Simo Kuusito from Nordic Bread, Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s #43, film maker Shelly Rogers.

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Trine Hahnemann