The problem with travel guides is that sometimes they send you trekking across cities from one cool spot to another. The result? You end up spending more time experiencing the public transportation system than anything else… Which is why we love ‘shopping streets’ – places like SA’s own Juta Street, in Braamfontein, Joburg, or Bree Street, in Cape Town. In these streets, you can start your day at a great breakfast spot and then wander in and out of a few cool stores. Next on the agenda could be a pit stop for coffee, followed by snapping a selfie in an adjacent park. Finally, do some shopping for gifts to take home, and lastly, sit down and take the weight off for a lengthy lunch. In other words, the perfect day out.
spend a morning strolling Jægersborggade to experience Copenhagen like a local
If the sort of itinerary described above is right up your street (sorry…) here’s our guide to spending a minimum of half a day exploring the formerly run-down street of Jægersborggade in Copenhagen’s Norrebrø district. The street is the sort of place where loads of locals – with kids in strollers, and continually arriving and departing by bike – hang out too, so the people-watching, like the shopping, is excellent.
Bear in mind that we’re focused on just a few highlights here – Jægersborggade has more to offer than is listed below, including ‘porridge bar’ Grød (yes, it only serves porridge, at number 50) and an excellent bakery, Meyers Bageri, at number 9. And the nature of streets such as this all over the world is that things change regularly: places close down, new ones open… but rest assured, you can’t go wrong on Jægersborggade right now.
Start your ‘tour’ with a caffeine boost at The Coffee Collective on the corner of Jægersborggade and Stefansgade. This coffee shop – where all the beans are directly and ethically traded between the owners and far-flung farmers, and they do their own roasting – opened on Jægersborggade back in 2008, making it a well-established favourite on the street. It’s designed to feel homely – ‘like a Norrebrø apartment’ – and is the perfect place to linger for a while over a flat white and some excellent baked goods.
You can see the process of making handmade caramels for yourself at Karamelleriet, as the production area adjoins the shop and is completely open to it. The sheer breadth of the range is pretty amazing too – there are chewy caramels, hard caramel ‘rocks’, fruit caramels, super-soft fudge and crunchy caramel with peanuts… All are made by hand in small batches, and you’re sure to find a new favourite (or two). This is also an excellent spot to purchase very special but inexpensive gifts for people back home.
Next, cross the street to pop into Denmark’s first concept store devoted to cacti and succulents. Kaktus København is all about combining these exotic plants with a Nordic, minimalist sensibility – and this makes for a perfectly charming aesthetic. In addition to selling plants in a plethora of shapes and sizes, the store also stocks handmade ceramics, cacti-inspired art, hammocks and a variety of pots.
keramiker inge vincents
Inge Vincents’ ceramic studio is situated off the back of her store, so you’re very likely to encounter her yourself in this gorgeous combination of studio and shop. ‘I work on the edge of the functional,’ she says, ‘with a focus on texture and shape. Each piece is handbuilt or wheel-thrown in the finest translucent porcelain.’ Her wares are delicate, beautiful and inspiring.
Gorgeous handmade chocolates are the main attraction here, with beautiful, colourful truffles a particular highlight. Grab a box to take home to someone you love – and just hope that you resist the temptation to tuck in yourself before you get there.
Istid means Ice Age, and this sliver of a store sells ice cream made using liquid nitrogen (which you’ve doubtless seen celeb chef Heston Blumenthal make on TV). Istid often has its adorable mobile ice-cream bar, which is mounted on a bicycle, parked outside and it serves up brilliantly smooth ice cream – as well as the trippy experience of watching it being made. As you gaze on in childlike awe, the servers pour liquid nitrogen into ready-made ‘custards’ in KitchenAid mixers. A cloud of smoke rises and very soon, your individual serving has frozen to a smooth, perfect consistency. And this is Copenhagen, so most of the ingredients are organic. Guilt-free ice cream? Yes please…
The tranquil and beautiful Assistens Cemetery feels much more like an elegant formal garden than a bleak burial ground. It’s situated at the opposite end of Jægersborggade from our starting point of The Coffee Collective, and is the perfect place to take a mid-morning break from shopping and snacking. Hunt down the graves of its two most famous ‘inhabitants’, Danish storyteller extraordinaire Hans Christian Andersen, and Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, or simply enjoy the lush greenery and strolling along the elegant treed avenues.
Once you have communed with Andersen and Kierkegaard, stroll back up Jægersborggade to Manfreds for a long and extremely excellent lunch. If you haven’t snacked too much on caramels and nitro ice cream, have the eye-opening (and stomach-stretching) Chefs Choice menu of seven small dishes. Vegetables are the focus here, and they are 90-100% organic – but this isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, and the most famous dish on the menu is the delectable beef tartare. Order it to share and don’t forget to sample a glass or two of wine from their brilliant, wide-ranging selection, which is very much focused on natural options. And did we mention that the sourdough rye bread that comes with the beef tartare is almost unbelievably good? In short, we think this is one of the best restaurants in a city that’s more and more famous for good food. Unmissable…