Culture

Passover in Denmark: Traditions, Old & New

I’ve lived in Denmark off and on since 2008 but it’s only recently that I’ve settled here with my husband. We purchased an apartment and are now officially moved in (well, we’re getting there. Article on that process coming soon), so we’re ready to start some new traditions.

I’m Jewish; the holidays and other cultural markers of Judaism are a major part of the way I grew up and the way in which I stay connected to my family. Since we couldn’t make it back to my hometown for Passover this year, I decided to host my own seder.

Passover is the holiday in which we celebrate the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt. We hold a large dinner in which we tell the story of how we escaped and what happened afterwards (we got a little lost and wandered in the desert for 40 years before finding Israel. No Google Maps back then). For me, Passover is about appreciating our freedom and remembering that others have not always enjoyed, or do not currently enjoy, the same. An integral part of sharing the story is that everyone at the table participates. I was the only Jewish person at our meal so it was up to me to make all 10 guests feel included.

Scandinavia Standard documented the preparation and actual night of the seder. Take a look!


 

The Copenhagen Kosher & Deli is the only place in town to get matzah (unleavened bread), gefilte fish and many other Passover necessities. I went the Friday before the holiday and it was packed. I’m so grateful this place exists.

 
Making matzo-balls for the appetizer soup had me worried. I’ve never had any matzo-ball soup other than my grandmother’s! Luckily, it turned out perfectly. I used Telma Kneidl Mazto Ball Mix. What I learned: pack the balls as lightly as possible when forming them by hand. They should float when you drop them in the broth.

I also made the traditional Charoset, a dish that symbolizes the mortar used by the slaves to build in Egypt.

 
Matzo Balls for Jewish Passover in Copenhagen Denmark on Scandinavia Standard

 

My husband Rasmus is the cook in the house. He made brisket, sauteed spinach salad, flash steamed asparagus and potato gratin. It was outrageously good.

 
Rasmus Cooking in Kitchen for Jewish Passover in Copenhagen Denmark on Scandinavia Standard

 
I believe a beautiful table makes for a beautiful meal. Yellow is my favorite color and is perfect for spring, so I went with a yellow and white flower scheme.

Because we can’t eat anything with yeast during the seder (and for 8 days in total), I made flourless chocolate cake for dessert. We ended with coconut macaroons dipped in dark chocolate and grappa.

 
Yellow Dining Room for Jewish Passover in Copenhagen Denmark on Scandinavia Standard

 
Good food, great friends; it was a night I’ll always remember. Special thanks to Creative Director Freya for photographing the whole thing and to Rasmus for cooking a spectacular meal.

Hope everyone has a wonderful start to spring, whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, Isra’ and Mi’raj, Wesak, anything else or nothing at all! Feel free to share your own spring holiday experiences, recipes or tips in the comments.