If you haven't heard of Aarhus, the second biggest city in Denmark, this is the year to discover this jewel of the Danish crown. There are plenty of exciting activities happening around this vibrant part of Denmark, especially as it was awarded European Capitals of Culture 2017. We visited recently on a culinary journey to find out the best Aarhus has to offer from hip street stalls to their thriving Michelin-starred scene.
Noma might be world-famous for their groundbreaking cuisine in Copenhagen, but Aarhus is fast catching up in its own inimitable way. Restaurant Domestic, having only opened late in 2015 has already achieved a Michelin star. They offer 8 exquisite amuse-bouche courses before you actually enter the main act of the 8-course tasting menu. Simplicity is the key here, as they pair local produce with 1-2 key ingredients: Juicy sweetcorn is paired with ramson whilst the main acts include posher ingredients like lobster with green strawberries to introduce some acidity into the dish to cut through the richness of the dish.
Heirloom white tomatoes with finely picked crab meat were exquisitely delicate with the sweet taste of the crab complimenting the creamy texture of the tomatoes. Wine connoisseurs will rejoice in their wine-pairing options: they choose only biodynamically grown and sustainably sourced wines.
Not to be outdone is fellow Michelin-starred restaurant Gastromé in the historic Latin Quarter of the city. With 5 snacks and 13 courses for their signature menu, this is one culinary odyssey you need to start early in the evening if you want to make it back to your hotel before midnight.
This is a high-end experience right from the start with snacks using fresh tuna sashimi, topside of beef and bay shrimps. For food lovers of indulgent, luxurious ingredients, they offer king crab, caviar, truffle and all expertly paired with well-thought-out ingredients: a lightly cooked brill is matched with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle whilst king crab is paired with refreshing avocado and horseradish. The dishes are filled with intense aromas; none more so than their rabbit dish paired with forest mushrooms and Boletus edulis foam.
For the time conscious, you should visit Nordisk Spisehus, which frequently works with Michelin-starred restaurants around the world to bring their signature creations to the locals of Aarhus. Their lunch menu had been regularly voted one of the best in city. We tried dishes like steak tartare, which has a curious mixture of potato chips and sun-dried tomatoes on top to give the dish a varied texture and flavours; whilst the fish soup with cod and dill was surprisingly delicate. One thing you will experience in Aarhus is they never overcook their fish dishes.
If you can time your visit around the first weekend of September, then do visit the well-renowned AarhusFood Festival. They have independent producers gathering from all over the country to exhibit their latest carefully crafted products. On our recent visit, we tried Sams Island Gin, which has the fascinating addition of 5 citronella ants per bottle which gives the gin its unique taste and Nature Sip which makes unique organic juices such as pine juice. There are food cookery masterclasses and just places like seafood workshops where people can get hands-on with the slippery creatures of the sea.
Aarhus is also a very cultural city and a must visit venue is the famous ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, which is one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe with a stunning circular skywalk, Your Rainbow Panorama by Ólafur Elíasson. It offers a multi-coloured kaleidoscope view of Aarhus on top of the museum. It has a wide range of installations from the golden age to modern day; highlights include Ron Mueck's Boy, which is a crouching youth of gargantuan proportions weighing 500kg and Low Key, in which visitors were encouraged to scratch a Lamborghini Gallardo.
If you are looking for a designer hotel within short walking distance to all these restaurants and sites, then you should consider Comwell Hotel Aarhus, which is a short walking distance away from the main train station. The hotel has been fitted out from carpeting to lounge furniture and wallpaper by the successful design house, HAY and with its towering height has excellent views across the city of Aarhus.
For information on Aarhus, Restaurant Domestic, Gastromé, or Nordisk Spisehus, click on the links.
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