New Nordic cuisine has, without a doubt, put seasonal, natural and locally sourced food in the spotlight; kickstarting a global trend. When I first moved to Copenhagen, I was (and still am) intrigued by this food movement, which started and continues to thrive from within this immensely creative city.
This intrigue and curiosity is what led me to Bornholm – the heavenly Danish Island that is so rich with natural resources, and from where Denmark’s leading food producers and artisans hail. Visiting a number of local farmers and food producers in Bornholm over the course of four days shed a great deal of insight on their success. The most inspiring discernment is that this success is by no means only related to the bountiful vegetation that the island has been blessed with. There is a unity of spirits, and a collaborative way forward for the island as a whole. There is an inspiring shared story, and a set of golden principles that are the driving force behind the food industry, and it all starts and ends with unity, collaboration, and support of one another in every sense of the phrase.
Making my way around the island, I couldn’t but be charmed by its character and aesthetic- sunshine, forests that spill into clear blue water, and incredibly special architecture.
I had always heard that Bornholm is known as the “sunshine island” but I was absolutely not expecting anything resembling the Mediterranean. Around every street corner and in almost every home garden you can find figs, grapes, and a number of other fruits, vegetables and grains that are uncommon in the region.
A common site in Bornholm is food stands in which locals place fresh produce from their farms or gardens, as well as their homemade creations such as jams and pickles. They leave their daily stock on the roadside, along with a note listing the prices of the day. Anyone can pick up what they like, and leave the money for the owner to collect at the end of the day.
Henning Jensen is the owner of Aarsdale Silderøgeri, and is one of the many fishermen who no longer had work when the fishing crises hit Bornholm in the 1980’s. He acquired a fish smokehouse, and it’s people like him who are helping to keep what remains of the fishing trade on the island in business, importing from abroad only what is not caught on the island. Smoked Herring, or ‘Bornholm Gold’, is arguably the most popular and traditional dish on the island.
Svaneke Bryghus restaurant is housed in the building of Svaneke’s first micro-brewery. In this gem of a restaurant, Jan Paul the Brew Master crafts custom beers daily, many of which are only brewed once. I had a delicious lunch here where I opted for curried herring, fried plaice and smoked salmon open faced sandwiches (or Smørrebrød).
At Hallegaard ecological farm, the live stock are free to roam and forage, just as they would in the wild.
Jorgan Christiansen, owner of Hallegaard, produces his award-winning sausage, salami, smoked ham and other meat variations that are totally free from colorants, nitrites and food additives. All that he produces is handmade and organic. At Hallegaard, ham, salami and sausages are smoked daily, and are sold m in the farm’s charming cafe as well as at selected retailers around the country; but only those who live by the same ecological and environmental philosophy as Jorgan himself.
In following the collaborative spirit of Bornholm, the recipes of the food served at Hallegaard come from housewives, butchers and other locals around the island.
The lush Island is a popular ground for foraging, as well as for artisanal food production.
As I made my way back to Copenhagen, I was lucky enough to be invited to sit in the cockpit and capture the sun setting over this heavenly island. Legend has it that when God was nearly done with creating Scandinavia, some material was left to spare; a little bit of water, sand, rocks, valleys, cliffs, grains, and trees. All of this he tossed into the heart of the Baltic Sea, and the heavenly island of Bornholm was created.
My name is Reef Fakhoury, and I am a food photographer (who loves to dabble with food styling) based in Copenhagen, Denmark. I once heard that the people who give you their food, give you their hearts. This sums up why I love food, and from where my passion for capturing images of food stems.