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17-03-2022

Eleven Italians at Geranium, which is aiming for n.1. The new tasting menu. They will be at Identità Milano

We've been to Copenhagen, to the number 2 restaurant in the 50Best, to taste some brand-new dishes. And, with the help of Chicco Cerea, we tell you about this place and Italian "colony" where one third of the staff comes from Italy.

Celeriac with smoked cod roe and cream of milk fer

Celeriac with smoked cod roe and cream of milk fermented with caviar, an aesthetically exceptional dish, with very clean flavours. This is one of the dishes in the new menu at Geranium in Copenhagen. Søren Ledet, its director and co-patron together with Rasmus Kofoed, will be among the international guests at the next edition of the Identità Milano 2022 congress, from the 21st to the 23rd of April. But the entire programme will be available this week. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Is there such thing as a perfect cuisine? It's hard to say: not so much because it's always questionable whether you can say this about any restaurant, but because of the concept itself, the idea of "perfection". What is it? What are its features? Yet, and rightly so, the cuisine of Rasmus Kofoed at Geranium in Copenhagen is considered the fine dining offer that more than any other in the world shows an almost extreme tension towards stylistic perfection, towards extreme attention to detail, and rigour. Towards an obsessive sense of aesthetics as a prodrome for the utmost clean flavours; towards a balance in harmony with nature – in food and in life – as if it were an archetype and a paradise lost, to be found once again.

This is not a very Mediterranean model, which is natural, given the latitude: after all we're a little in love even with this excess and for sure we're very much intrigued by creative mistakes, by the spontaneity of the imperfect but invigorating gesture, by the virtuous mistake that generates a new journey or simply a new emotion, not necessarily planned. Yet we have to bow in front of the bursting yet subtle and clean force that oozes from the restaurant in Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, on the 8th floor of the huge building that includes the national stadium of the Danish capital; here even the recent interior restyling becomes functional to the culinary concept: wood, glass (hence light, which is a constant Scandinavian inclination, momentum, and at the same time illusion) and earth (flowers, branches...), that is to say elements that can be connected to the Nordic model and contribute to stimulate this hygge in the guest, that is to say the typically indigenous feeling, a sort of social atmosphere, of sense of comfortableness, of shared welcome. [Elements] that also become a representation of the concept of cuisine itself, as known to those in love with the new menu – which we tasted a few days ago in a sort of preview – which totally bypasses animal proteins that don't come from the sea to focus more and more on vegetables. After all, even Kofoed follows a mainly vegetarian diet.

Søren Ledet and Rasmus Kofoed, both patron and respectively director and chef at Geranium. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Søren Ledet and Rasmus Kofoed, both patron and respectively director and chef at Geranium. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

We were talking about it the other day with Chicco Cerea, who has also just visited them in Copenhagen; his perception is enlightening because it comes from someone for whom "Italian warmth", a smiling embrace as a pillar of the hospitality is a trademark. He starts from a detail, because that's where you can find excellence: «The glass». What was it like? «Elegant, light, thin, aerial, with stratospheric wines. And then the pleasantness of the setting, the luminosity, the view of the park where people went for a walk or did some gymnastics. And then: sitting at a table and touching a tablecloth made with fabric that is like a caress. See, it had been a while since I had this feeling in some restaurants. Of course, there are great technical skills: rigour, precision, elegance. An overall Nordic detachment, but then the service is very careful, it's a dance, and it's warmed up by a strong Italian influence, both in the dining room and in the kitchen».

Images from Geranium. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Images from Geranium. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Chicco mentions an important fact which we have already mentioned. There's plenty of Italy here. Starting from the deputy restaurant manager Mattia Spedicato, born in 1990 in Lecce; sous chef Martina Pistolesi, born in Fermo in 1996; floor manager Giulia Caffiero, born in 1992 in Cagliari (she's also studying juices and extracts for a… different pairing): they are pillars here. But our "colony" at Geranium is also enriched by assistant head sommelier Andrea Sala, born in 1994 in Milan; waitress Nicol Floridi, born in 1994 in Rimini; waiter-sommelier Raffaele Laezza, born in 1997 in Orvieto; cooks Desiré Alfredo, born in 1992 in Rome; Giulia Cocco, born in 1993 in Cagliari; Andrea Silvestri, born in 1997 in Bologna; Daniele D'Ambrosio, born in 1998 in Rome; and Nicolò Rubinato, born in 1995 in Venice. All together, they are 11, out of 33 staff members. One third.

Giulia Caffiero and Mattia Spedicato

Giulia Caffiero and Mattia Spedicato

Sous chef Martina Pistolesi at work

Sous chef Martina Pistolesi at work

Another proof of our strength, though abroad. A pride. Geranium is number 2 in last year's 50Best. With the rules introduced some time ago, hence with Noma no longer participating, the first place in 2022 is empty. And this makes us think that the first place will remain in Copenhagen.

Final spoiler: Søren Ledet, director at Geranium and co-patron with Kofoed, will be among the international speakers in the next edition of the Identità Milano 2022 congress, from the 21st to the 23rd of April. But the entire programme will only be revealed in the next few days.

Here's what we tasted.


APPETIZERS

"Danish tradition": salted herring in crispy seaweed with dill stalks and aquavit. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

"Danish tradition": salted herring in crispy seaweed with dill stalks and aquavit. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Then comes the series of appetizers, which already give a clear idea of the overall experience: of the aesthetics, the style. Many of these are still evolving, like Vegetal Rose "Roi Soleil", a tart of elderberry flowers, goat cheese and löjrom, which we had already tasted and showed a deep, vary fascinating flavour, and is now presented with a yellow turnip in brine, with seaberry, and the same turnip grilled with fried egg yolk. The same tuber returns in the following appetiser, Turnip from Birkemosegård, dehydrated berries and horseradish h: an excellent pairing of sweetness, sapidity and flowery notes.

Oscietra "Gold" caviar, slightly smoked walnut, farm milk and marinated walnut leaves. To the right Infusion of grilled calamari, yeast and potato skin

Oscietra "Gold" caviar, slightly smoked walnut, farm milk and marinated walnut leaves. To the right Infusion of grilled calamari, yeast and potato skin

Rose "Roi Soleil", a tart of elderberry flowers, goat cheese and löjrom (eggs of white sturgeon. The fish comes from a specific part of the Gulf of Botnia)

Rose "Roi Soleil", a tart of elderberry flowers, goat cheese and löjrom (eggs of white sturgeon. The fish comes from a specific part of the Gulf of Botnia)

Turnips from Birkemosegård, dehydrated berries and horseradish

Turnips from Birkemosegård, dehydrated berries and horseradish

Wild mushrooms, dark beer, smoked egg yolk, hop in brine and rye bread. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Wild mushrooms, dark beer, smoked egg yolk, hop in brine and rye bread. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

 

SAVORY SERVINGS

Oysters and clams, cold cucumber juice, lightly smoked snail eggs, seaweeds, and parsley

Oysters and clams, cold cucumber juice, lightly smoked snail eggs, seaweeds, and parsley

The heart of the dinner dives into the relationship between earth (vegetables) and sea. Celeriac with smoked cod roe and fermented cream of milk with caviar has the potential of a signature dish with some rather bursting milky notes. Turbot and scampi with pine, tarragon and herbs has a more "normal" appearance but is excellent.

Celeriac with smoked cod roe and fermented cream of milk with caviar. There's also hazelnut oil, fresh green apple and söl, that is to say grated Icelandic alga dulse. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Celeriac with smoked cod roe and fermented cream of milk with caviar. There's also hazelnut oil, fresh green apple and söl, that is to say grated Icelandic alga dulse. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Pancake with buttermilk, mountain garlic and winter truffle. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Pancake with buttermilk, mountain garlic and winter truffle. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Scallops, dehydrated black currants, herbs and citrus fruits and emulsion of scallop roe

Scallops, dehydrated black currants, herbs and citrus fruits and emulsion of scallop roe

Turbot and scampi with pine, tarragon and herbs

Turbot and scampi with pine, tarragon and herbs

Cabbage and quince apples

Cabbage and quince apples

"Winter vegetables from Kiselgården": Brussels sprouts in flower, leek and wild onion. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

"Winter vegetables from Kiselgården": Brussels sprouts in flower, leek and wild onion. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen


SWEETS

Cold pressed juice of celery, gooseberry, mint and pear

Cold pressed juice of celery, gooseberry, mint and pear

Lots of space was also given to the sweets. Cloudberry, pumpkin and white chocolate is very fresh, but also has some toasted notes. Ingrid Marie apples with chokeberries, butter with apples and crispy cinnamon flowers is a sort of bizarre tarte tatin. But it's the best ever tarte tatin.

Cloudberry, pumpkin and white chocolate (cloudberry - Rubus chamaemorus – is very popular in Europe, Asia and America). Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Cloudberry, pumpkin and white chocolate (cloudberry - Rubus chamaemorus – is very popular in Europe, Asia and America). Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Left, Dark chocolate and reduction of Jerusalem artichoke. Right, Ingrid Marie apples with chokeberries, butter with apples and crispy cinnamon flowers

Left, Dark chocolate and reduction of Jerusalem artichoke. Right, Ingrid Marie apples with chokeberries, butter with apples and crispy cinnamon flowers

Frozen raspberry juice and delicate liquorice

Frozen raspberry juice and delicate liquorice

Milk chocolate with rosehip in brine, left, and Hot flan of potatoes with nutmeg and yogurt, right. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Milk chocolate with rosehip in brine, left, and Hot flan of potatoes with nutmeg and yogurt, right. Photo Claes Bech-Poulsen

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Carlo Mangio

An outdoor trip or a journey to the other side of the planet?
One thing is for sure: the destination is delicious, by Carlo Passera

by

Carlo Passera

journalist born in 1974, for many years he has covered politics, mostly, and food in his free time. Today he does exactly the opposite and this makes him very happy. As soon as he can, he dives into travels and good food. Identità Golose's editor in chief

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