Danish Language Blog

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A Danish summer cooler Posted by on Jul 31, 2019 in Food, Nature

Hvor er det varmt i dag! (How hot it is today!) Like many other European countries, Denmark was recently hit by a hedebølge [hethebolyeh] (heatwave) with temperaturer exceeding 30 grader (°C). Fortunately, Danes have many remedies to cool down – one of them being the sød og syrlig (sweet and freshly sour) dessert known as koldskål.

Koldskål with kammerjunkere as topping… (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0 license.)

Koldskål – pronounced “coll skawl” – means cold bowl and is a yummy refreshment for sunny days in the garden (it’s more of a stay-at-home treat than a beach party ingredient). Eat it after a warm måltid (meal) or independently. Koldskål comes in many different varieties, but is most often a kærnemælkskoldskål, based on kærnemælk – a kind of buttermilk, which can be bought in any Danish store.

  • Here is one typical opskrift (recipe) til 4 personer:
  • 1 litre of kærnemælk (your local buttermilk might work also)
  • 3-5 æggeblommer (yolks)
  • 6 spiseskeer sukker (table spoons of sugar)
  • a dash of vaniljesukker (vanilla sugar)
  • a pinch of freshly squeezed citronsaft (lemon juice)

Pisk (whip) the yolks with the sugar and vanilla sugar until it’s fully liquid. Tilsæt (add) kærnemælk while stirring. Add lemon juice to taste. 🙂

The above recipe can be modified according to your individual preferences – for example some people may use fewer or more æg (eggs), skip the lemon juice or use tykmælk (soured milk) instead of kærnemælk. My mother told me she’s sometimes added fløde (cream) for extra luksus (luxury).

It’s icreasingly common to  “cheat” and buy readymade koldskål. 🙂 (Photo courtesy of Lisa Risager at Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 license.)

Danes normally crumble kammerjunkere – a special kind of dry mini-cookie – on top of their bowl of freshly served koldskål. On some occasions, the dish is also adorned with jordbær (strawberries). Eat with a ske (spoon).
If you’re not used to sour milk products, you might have to try a couple of times to see what the Danes are really talking about… Velbekomme (enjoy)! 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


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