How the Danish are upgrading their pastries

Noma alumni are adding artisanal and experiential elements to baked goods.

6 February 2019
image credit: Lille Bakery

A flurry of premium bakeries has opened in the Danish capital, powered by some of the city’s finest Michelin-starred chefs. Located in the most cutting-edge areas of Copenhagen, they’re luring a foodie crowd with their signature creations.

Lille Bakery

Sandwiched amongst some of the city’s most celebrated food destinations (Noma, Amass and the highly anticipated Alchemist), Lille opened its doors last summer. The concept was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and the three founders (one of whom is ex-Noma) share a passion for quality baking. 

A small but perfected menu of sweet and savoury treats is on offer, though the sausage rolls in particular have earned a cult status: signature buttery croissant dough is stuffed with a mix of the finest Danish pork, sticky onions, fresh sage, roasted fennel seeds and stewed apples. Also up for grabs are classic sourdough and rye loaves and indulgent slices of breakfast brioche generously topped with mascarpone and in-season fruits.

These pastry entrepreneurs have devised a subscription service giving regular customers a set amount of bread, collected directly from Lille, each month.

Hart Bageri

Almond croissant
image credit: Instagram @hartbageri

Opened in November, this is a collaboration between Richard Hart (former head baker at Tartine in San Francisco) and Noma’s René Redzepi. An old sandwich shop in Frederiksberg has been thoughtfully converted into a contemporary multi-storey bakery with an open kitchen.

Everything is handmade in small batches during daylight hours, guaranteeing freshness and letting customers see, smell and taste the entire baking process. The handpicked team of stellar bakers produce San Francisco-style sourdough loaves as well as more conventional custard-filled and almond-topped Danish pastries, striking a balance between what Hart became famous for and traditional Scandinavian tastes.

They bake all of the bread for Noma, and are guided by the same principles of experimentation and rule bending. 

Andersen & Maillard

It’s all about the croissants. Cinnamon sugared, filled with chocolate, topped with almonds or brushed with espresso, they’re rumoured to be the best in the city.

Former Noma pastry chef Milton Abel heads up the bakery side, whilst award-winning barista Hans Kristian Anderson leads all things coffee. The partners have carefully fostered their ideas to create a cooler-than-cool Nørrebro bakery and roastery.

One of the signature dishes, the coffee soft-serve, pools their skills. It’s made from milk that would otherwise go to waste and is served as a topping for the exceptional croissants.

Juno the Bakery

image credit: Instagram @fabrique

Over in upmarket Østerbro, yet another ex-Noma chef, Emil Glaser, runs Juno the Bakery. The order of the day is cardamom buns, made with freshly ground black spice. Alongside this Danish classic, the bakery showcases its creativity with a rotating menu featuring pastries such as rhubarb and pistachio frangipane.

Breads are all made with organic, locally grown wheat and rye and are available for collection straight from the oven.

The end of January marks the official start of semla season – the Scandi answer to our Shrove Tuesday pancakes. Juno the Bakery is one of Copenhagen’s best spots to indulge in this seasonal highlight – soft yeasted dough scented with fresh-ground cardamom, creamy marzipan, roasted Valencia almonds and a good dollop of whipped cream.

Semla has even infiltrated this side of the North Sea, with London’s Scandinavian bakeries Fabrique and Ole & Steen serving up the seasonal delights.

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