Grapes of obscurity
In late November, the newest addition to Copenhagen’s flourishing wine scene opened its doors. The goal was to showcase over 140 different varieties of grapes, many of which will undoubtedly be unknown to the average consumer. VINTRO, located on Ravnsborggade in Nørrebro, will attempt to give Copenhageners a more nuanced view of what wine can be.
“Over the past 20 years, globalisation has resulted in the wine scene being dominated by five red and two white grape varieties,” explains Jakob Schierbeck, one of the four founders. “We are against that development, and will instead attempt to promote the remaining 1000 grape varieties.”
Schierbeck has traded wine in France and Italy for the past 22 years and has recently moved back to Denmark with his family. Through the opening of VINTRO, he hopes to share his insight and unique experience of the international wine scene with Copenhagen’s wine aficionados.
“We are so used to the standard flavours of certain wine-producing areas. We hope to take our customers on a journey of flavour through unknown terroir from which very few have tasted the delicious wines produced,” says Schierbeck.
The team of four come from a variety of backgrounds, but they all share a deep passion for wine and appreciation of its diversity.
“We don’t want to necessarily educate people, we only want to show them how delicious, diverse and affordable wine can really be,” says Gustav Prior Knock.
Don’t worry, VINTRO is a great place to try out wine even if you’re not sure whether furmint, vranec and xinomavro are the names of sumo wrestlers or delicious varieties of grapes.
Ravnsborggade 5, 2200 KBH N
Sure, I’ll bite
Google can often seem indifferent to your attempts to track down a good place to eat. You type a search, and it shrugs back some answers. But now there’s a friendlier answer for eco-conscious diners. The new testing service Sure provides detailed information about sustainable dining options in the form of chatty, cheerful texts.
Sure trawls its database of restaurants, cafés and bars to offer dining options to the hungry user, and can dig up menus and trusted recommendations. For now, it’s available in Copenhagen and Aarhus.
When you type in “Where should I have lunch in Nørrebro today?” or “is there a good coffee place nearby?” the responses are so conversational, that you almost feel like you’re texting with an emoji-happy person who just happens to know every green-friendly joint in the city and really wants you to get excited about your food.
Copenhagen-based Juraj Pal, Sure’s co-founder, says he started the service after realising that people don’t need to be pushed to be more sustainable or responsible with their consumption habits.
“Instead they want a tool that makes it easier for them to change a simple piece of daily routine – such as where they go out for dinner or where they shop for groceries – to make a positive impact. We started Sure to make sustainable the new normal.”
In 2013, the owner of a vegetable shop in Copenhagen spontaneously decided to invite a handful of students – who by chance were in his shop – into his tiny, slightly dirty kitchen out back. He had decided to teach them his ‘secret lunch recipe’. The students were so delighted by the experience that they wanted to share it with the rest of the world.
The result was the website Cook With A Local, founded in August 2014, a platform that allows anyone to host or attend a cooking class in their local area. The goal is to bring people together through the preparation and enjoyment of a meal.
The platform has already gathered a large following, with just under 3000 likes on Facebook and over 1000 active users world wide. This development is solely the result of organic growth – the company has not spent any money on marketing. On the basis of these numbers, co-founder Christopher Pilgrim believes the site has potential to develop on a global scale.
“We hope that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to experience what preparing a meal together can do to help eradicate boundaries between cultures and social standing,” says Pilgrim.
In Pilgrim’s eyes, the key to the platform’s success lies in the fact that users prepare the meal together.
“The key is in the cooking because that is where people bond. If strangers are just sitting around the table eating, the conversation has a tendency to stop once in a while. If you are cooking and the conversation stops, you can just focus on chopping a carrot or something. So when you actually sit down at the table, the conversation has already taken off,” the co-founder explains.
In early November, restaurant Wascator celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a party arranged by the regular customers of the Nørrebro institution. The local atmosphere cultivated at Wascator has been a key ingredient in the restaurant’s success, and the founders hope they can recreate it at their new venture, the trattoria Italo Disco, in Vesterbro.
The three friends Bo Jørgensen, Levent B. Engin and Kasper Thorsted have rebuilt an old butchers shop on Oehlenschlägersgade to create a new local diner whose name references a curiously kitsch sub-genre of Italian electronic music.
“We do not want any quick-paced hype – we will get there when we get there. To us, the most important thing is that the place has its own feel, its own spirit. And that the food is top-notch, obviously,” head chef Engin told iByen.
While Thorsted and Jørgensen wait tables and manage the bar, Engin will be in the kitchen every evening cooking up a seasonal menu made up of fresh, natural ingredients imported directly from Italy. The wine list primarily consists of organic, natural Italian wines – not because of any dogma, but simply because the owners liked those the best.
Oeglenschlagersgade 6, 1663 KBH V