Smørrebrød is not a Smorgasbord

The king of Smørrebrød

Adam Aamann at New Nordic Cookout, New York 22. october.

The danes have been eating smørrebrød since ancient times. In the old days it consisted mostly of rather dry bread with lard or butter, but in the late 1800’th it turned in to a more sophisticated culinary craft. The most famous family in smørrebrød was the Davidsen family, a strong force from late 1800 up until our time.
The most important person in danish smørrebrød have been Ida Davidsen, she was unchallenged in the 1960-90’es, but in 2004 a new force entered the scene; Adam Aamann. I was the first food critic to reviewer his newly opened restaurant, and I was so thrilled about the place, that I returned several times in the following days to enjoy this new, fresh take on smørrebrød.
I have always been fond of smørrebrød, also in the 1970-80’es when smørrebrød was very unfashionable. The main reason was, that french cuisine became the fashion in 1960-70’es and people turned their backs on the traditional danish food, although smørrebrød stille remained an important food. It was – and is – the food pepople eat mostly everyday at lunc, but few people made a fuss about it.

Miniature versions of smørrebrød at Nordic Cookout
Miniature versions of smørrebrød at Nordic Cookout

In early 2000’es the interest for smørrebrød grew, and Adam Aamann was the first to present a truly new, modern take. He abandoned the old fashioned idea of building tall compositions with many different ingredients, some of which were mostly present to make the smørrebrød look nice.
Amann focused in stead on high quality and sought to use organic produce when ever possible, just as he decorated his restaurant/deli in a simple but very tasteful manner. This was a new take on smørrebrød, and it went down well.
He has helped inspire many to think in new directions, and in my book about danish smørrebrød I call his style ”The Aamann School”, as we now have two directions in danish smørrebrød. The traditional style that is best represented by restaurant Schønnemann, and can be called the classic danish gourmet smørrebrød, and the mentioned Aamann School which can be called New danish smørrebrød.
Ida Davidsen was the queen of smørrebrød in the 1960-90’es, but the leading figure since 2004 has been Adam Aamann, who can well be called The king of modern smørrebrød.

Me, trying to be the first to review Aamanns New York. Building crew eventually chased me away.

In danish butter is ”smør”, bread is ”brød” and Smørrebrød is the open sandwiches Denmark is known for. This is not the new nordic cuisine, it is very old and a true danish specialty. Although the other scandinavian countries Norway and Sweden also eat smørrebrød, only Denmark has a rich tradition of making these sandwiches into an art.
In america the term ”smorgasbord” is well known, but this is the swedish lunch buffet with different dishes, whereas smørrebrød is the term for pieces of bread with different toppings.

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