a true Danish gem
The Swedes have their smörgåstårta and the Danes have their smørrebrød. This classic dish that is typically based on rye bread with toppings ranging from herring to tartar, seafood, potatoes and eggs is more than just a sandwich, it's a big part of Danish culture. And a very delicious part indeed.
But what exactly is smørrebrød and what distinguishes the real thing from a completely ordinary sandwich? The most important thing is that a smørrebrød is built "upwards" and cannot be eaten by hand, but requires a knife and fork. The smørrebrød is a meal and a ritual, something that is eaten with awareness and with a focus on enjoyment, not a cheese sandwich that you carry in your hand when you are on the go. The Danes call the regular sandwich "en håndmad" and it is just like a Swedish sandwich: a slice of bread with simple toppings eaten for breakfast or a snack. Smørrebrød is so much more than that.
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Sometime in the last half of the 1800's the first smørrebrød appeared on pub and restaurant menus around Denmark. The oldest preserved menu that contains smørrebrød comes from Tivoli's famous restaurant Nimb, where classic smørrebrød was served all the way back in 1883.
Once the smørrebrød found its way into the restaurants and pubs, it didn't take long until it became an important part of lunches and celebrations in Danish family homes. Since then, this most Danish of all food traditions has been nurtured and even today the smørrebrød has an obvious place in the Danish kitchen. We are very happy it does because what would Scandinavian food culture be without this delicious Danish gem?