If you're planning a trip to the picturesque island of Bornholm in search of unique culinary experiences, you've come to the right place. On Bornholm, you can discover a wide range of flavors and dishes that will delight your taste buds. Whether you're a fan of freshly smoked herring, local beer, refined homemade chocolate, or delicious ice cream, Bornholm's gastronomy will surely fulfill your culinary dreams.
What makes Bornholm's flavors so extraordinary? It's the passion and commitment of local food producers who craft their products with great dedication and a focus on quality. They are not the only ones contributing to the exceptional taste of Bornholm. New entrepreneurs arriving on the island also bring their culinarily inspiring products to this already rich array of flavors. The community of local entrepreneurs and the Bornholm Business Center provide solid support, offering not only valuable advice but also practical insights that help in the development of local cuisine and culinary diversity. Bornholm is not just a beautiful island; it's also a true feast for the palate that will leave you with unforgettable taste impressions.
Since the Middle Ages, Bornholm has been renowned for its food. It's where the adventure of Bornholm herring began. Just a hundred years ago, millions of herring would migrate along the coasts of Bornholm every autumn. The catches took place from August until early October, as dictated by the law at the time. Over time, merchants, fishermen, and laborers from all over the world started coming to the island to claim a share of this wealth. Even local farmers would leave their farms to take part in the seasonal herring catch and stock up for the winter.
Stalls and worksheds were set up en masse, and the caught herring were salted, sold, and loaded onto merchant ships. Fishermen would sail out in small boats in the evenings, and in the mornings, there would be unloading and preparation, followed by sales, and in the afternoon, the herring would be shipped out. They were sent to various places in the rest of Europe, where they were resold at a good profit. It was a very hectic time of year, but also quite profitable, as salted herring was a highly sought-after commodity in the south, where during Lent, meat was not allowed. After the Reformation in 1536, fasting was abolished, and herring exports were almost halted. However, herring fishing continued because it was an important source of food.
About a hundred years ago, ordinary people would consume herring twice a day, often eating it straight from the barrel, complete with head, skin, and bones. It's likely from this period that Bornholm's regional dish, fried herring, originated. In reality, it's a dish that might surprise those who haven't tried it before. It's a salted herring fillet that has been slightly softened, coated in rye flour, and fried in butter. It's served with pickled beets, rye bread, plenty of soft onions, and mustard, along with obligatory beer or schnapps. To this day, traces of this period remain, and you can still see remnants of small ports and fishermen's sheds by walking from Hullehavn in Svaneke toward Årsdale.
The earliest records of Bornholm fishermen exporting smoked herring date back to the 17th century, but it was only in the 1870s and 1880s that more systematic production of this unique delicacy began. Today, on the island, you can find only a few original smokehouses and maintain the traditional way of preparing herring, making it unique in the world.
In the past, herring were locally caught, but over time, as tourists became the main consumers of this delicacy, people started importing herring from other parts of Denmark. Herring from other Danish waters were typically larger than those from Bornholm, which gave consumers the impression that they were getting more for their money, but they still believed that the small Bornholm herring offered the highest taste treat.
Today, Bornholm smoked herring is a true icon of the island's culinary heritage. The process of preparing herring in the traditional way is still followed, and the smokehouses that have stood the test of time attract tourists eager to experience the authentic taste of Bornholm. The secret of Bornholm smoked herring lies in carefully selected ingredients and precise smoking techniques. The herring are salted and dried before being smoked over wood, which imparts their characteristic smoky aroma. Bornholm's smokehouses use traditional methods, relying on age-old recipes passed down through generations. It's this old-fashioned smoking technique that gives the herring its unique flavor and aroma, transporting us back in time to the island's traditions and history.
During your visit to Bornholm, you cannot miss the opportunity to try the local specialty known as "Sol over Gudhjem." This dish is a true culinary icon of the island and consists of an open-faced sandwich with smoked herring, egg yolk, radish, and chives.
"Sol over Gudhjem" is not just a dish; it's also a piece of Bornholm's history. It's a flavor that is unmatched and serves as a reminder of the island's fishing traditions. If you haven't tried it yet or simply miss its taste, you can visit one of the many smokehouses on Bornholm or follow the recipe below:
Ingredients for 2 servings:
2 smoked herrings
2 slices of thick rye bread
2 raw egg yolks
2 tablespoons chopped chives
8 slices of red onion
Salt and pepper
How to prepare the dish:
Remove the skin and bones from the smoked herrings. Carefully take the meat off the skin and place the fillets on the rye bread. Clean and thinly slice the radishes. Rinse and chop the chives. Peel the red onion and slice it into rings. Sprinkle the herrings with radishes, chives, red onion, and season with salt and pepper. Separate the egg white from the yolk and gently place the yolk on each open-faced sandwich.
But Bornholm is also the place where an extraordinary culinary competition called "Sun over Gudhjem" takes place. This event attracts the attention of food enthusiasts from around the world. Chefs compete by creating the most exquisite dishes using local ingredients, including smoked herring. It's not just a competition; it's also an opportunity to witness the creativity and passion of chefs and to taste extraordinary dishes.
In the gardens and on the trees of Bornholm, the most exotic fruits in Denmark, such as figs and mulberries, thrive, drawing their rich flavors from the warmth of the rocks and the Baltic sun.
Bornholm's farmers are a true treasure of this island, providing products of exceptional quality. Their yields not only grace local tables but also serve as inspiration for chefs near and far, who create unique dishes based on local ingredients.
On Bornholm, there is no shortage of companies and producers crafting award-winning cheeses, exquisite meat products, chocolates, ice creams, rapeseed oil, flour, bread, cookies, and much, much more. It's a place where tradition meets modernity, and a passion for food translates into the highest quality products.
Meat and meat products from Bornholm are highly esteemed due to their quality and origin. This island is known for its environmentally friendly cattle farming, as well as sheep and lamb rearing, making Bornholm's meat products not only delicious but also a reflection of care for nature and the preservation of the island's natural landscape.
On Bornholm, cattle from breeds such as Dexter and Scottish Highland are grazed in nature reserves like Ekkodalen, Klintebakken, NaturBornholm, Hammerknuden, and others. This is not only a commitment to meat quality but also the preservation of the island's unique landscape. During the winter months, the cattle are fed with hay, silage, and grass and herbs from clean areas, resulting in exceptional meat taste and quality. This approach to cattle farming ensures high-quality meat that is appreciated by connoisseurs.
Sheep and lambs also play a significant role on Bornholm. The island is home to one of the largest flocks of sheep on Bornholm, numbering around 600. These animals graze in the areas around the medieval fortress of Hammershus and other parts of the island. This not only contributes to the natural maintenance of the landscape but also positively impacts meat quality. When sheep and lambs are not on pasture, they are fed nutrient-rich grass mixtures, resulting in exceptionally tasty and succulent meat.
One of the leading players on the island is Bornholm Dairy, which has won numerous awards for its Danablu cheese, becoming a symbol of high-quality food from Bornholm.
What makes Bornholm's dairy products so exceptional? It's partly the care taken in sourcing ingredients. The milk for the famous Danablu cheese comes from Bornholm's cows, which graze on organic pastures during the summer. The salty sea air influences the taste of the milk and, consequently, the cheese with its unparalleled aroma and consistency.
Bornholm Dairy Andels is not only a producer of cheeses but also an independent dairy owned by local milk producers on the island. Established since 1950, it has been the only dairy on Bornholm since 1970. Forty-four suppliers deliver milk daily, which is used to create a variety of dairy products, including pasteurized milk, butter, dairy products, and of course, the excellent Danablu cheese, which gains recognition among both local consumers and cheese enthusiasts worldwide.
Bornholm Dairy Andels has a long list of prestigious awards, including the "World Cheese Champion" title in Wisconsin, in 1980, 1988, and 2014. This is an exceptional achievement that confirms the exceptional quality of the dairy's cheeses. Additionally, the dairy also won a gold medal at the National Dairy Exhibition in 2011 for its 60+ Danablu cheese, confirming not only the taste but also the integrity and tradition of production.
Goat Delicacies from Lykkelund Gedemejeri:
Bornholm's Taste in Goat Cheeses In the light of the rising sun on Bornholm, not far from Østerlars, a small yet extraordinary dairy called Lykkelund Gedemejeri was established. This place entices food enthusiasts and goat cheese lovers with its authenticity and unique flavors. Here, thanks to the passion and work of Lene Schrøder and Lene Mortensen, around 48 charming goats transform approximately 25,000 liters of milk into various goat cheeses annually.
Lykkelund Gedemejeri is not just a cheese production site; it is also a true Bornholm story of love for animals and a passion for creating unique flavors. In the farm's shop, you can discover the variety of goat cheeses that highlight the uniqueness and authenticity of Bornholm. It's a place where tradition meets modernity, and goat's milk becomes an ingredient in exceptional delicacies.
Goat cheeses from Lykkelund Gedemejeri are not only a unique taste of Bornholm but also an opportunity to support local producers who passionately and carefully create these exceptional delicacies. It's also an invitation to journey through Bornholm's flavors and discover the mysterious aromas hidden in goat cheeses. Lykkelund Gedemejeri is a true treasure on Bornholm's flavor map that is worth getting to know and appreciating.
There are almost no limits when it comes to local production here. You'll find numerous breweries, bakeries crafting high-quality bread, charming ice cream parlors with delicious ice creams, and many other places where you can taste unique locally produced goods.
The year 2016 marked a turning point when the Bornholm restaurant Kadeau received its first Michelin star. The branch of this restaurant in Copenhagen had previously received its first star in 2013, and five years later, in 2018, it earned a second star, which it retains to this day. This is evidence of the ongoing development and passion of Bornholm's chefs, who continually refine their skills to offer unforgettable culinary experiences.
In 2020, another gem appeared on the Bornholm gastronomic map - the Det Røde Pakhus restaurant in Rønne, which was awarded the Michelin Plate Award. While it may not be a Michelin star, it's an honor that allows them to be featured in the Michelin Guide as a recommended restaurant. It's also proof that Bornholm continues to expand its culinary offerings and attract food enthusiasts from around the world.
Svaneke Bolcher Rock Candy - In a traditional merchant's house in Svaneke, you'll find the most famous rock candy factory. Svaneke Bolcher offers a taste of Bornholm, a small island with a rich culinary tradition where quality and the authenticity of flavors take precedence. During your journey on the island, it's worth discovering extraordinary regional products that create Bornholm's unique cuisine, such as rock candies with various flavors that melt in your mouth and evoke childhood memories.
Bornholm Chocolate - In places like Snogebaek, Svaneke, Gudhjem, and Ronne, you can find producers of handcrafted chocolate, making this island a true paradise for sweets enthusiasts. Producers on the island pay great attention to detail, creating chocolate with a unique taste and texture. Each chocolate bar or praline is handmade, making them exceptional and full of character.
Bornholm Caramels - In the heart of Gudhjem, in the historic Jantzens Hotel building, you'll find the first caramel factory in Denmark, with a history dating back to 1879. This is where Bornholm caramels are created with incredible passion and a commitment to tradition. Each caramel is handmade from natural ingredients, without artificial additives. Local confectioners preserve ancient recipes, crafting caramels with exceptional taste and texture. A visit to the factory is not just a tasting experience; it's a journey through time where you can learn about the process of creating these delicious treats.
Bornholm Wines and Beer - Bornholm may not be immediately associated with wine, but this charming island has a climate and conditions conducive to grape cultivation. The vineyard in Pedersker is a perfect example. Since 2005, it has been producing high-quality grape and fruit wines, as well as distilling unique whisky. Local winemakers pay attention to every detail, creating wines with exceptional flavors and aromas. In the town of Svaneke on Bornholm, you'll find one of the most renowned Danish breweries. Svaneke Brewery is known for brewing beer with passion while preserving traditions. Their wide range includes various beer styles, from light lagers to rich and aromatic brews.
Bornholm Aquavit - In the town of Nexø, you'll find Bornholmske Spritfabrik, where this unique aquavit has been produced since 1994. Bornholm aquavit is not only a tradition but also a variety of flavors, including the traditional honey-flavored "honningsyp" with liquid honey. At Bornholmske Spritfabrik, producers combine traditional methods with a modern approach, creating exquisite spirits with unique flavors. Each bottle of aquavit is an expression of passion and a commitment to preserving tradition. At Bornholmske Spritfabrik, you can participate in tastings where you can learn about the history and production process of these exceptional spirits. It's also an excellent opportunity to purchase a bottle of aquavit as a souvenir from Bornholm.
Bornholm Ice Cream - In the towns of Svaneke, Gudhjem, and Allinge, you can find delicious ice creams with various, sometimes unusual flavors, such as beer-flavored ice cream or the famous Bornholm Danablu cheese ice cream. Furthermore, these ice creams are organic and free from artificial additives.
Bornholm Pasta - Bornholm pasta stands out from other types of pasta due to its exceptional quality. Durum wheat used in its production is known for its high protein content, making this pasta not only tasty but also nutritious. It's an excellent choice for those who appreciate healthy food. Bornholm pasta is characterized by its unique taste and texture. It is known for its delicate yet distinctive flavor that pairs perfectly with various sauces and additions. It's the ideal base for Italian dishes and more.
Bornholmersennep (Mustard) - Bornholmersennep is a product that piques the curiosity of food enthusiasts worldwide. Its recipe remains a closely guarded secret. The secret of its taste lies in carefully selected spices that give the mustard a unique aroma and spiciness. It's a secret passed down from generation to generation by local producers. The production process of Bornholmersennep is a craft tradition that requires precision and experience. Each ingredient is measured by hand, and the mixing and maceration process adheres to the highest quality standards. It's a traditional approach that gives Bornholm mustard its distinctive taste.
Bornholm is a true delight for food enthusiasts, and restaurants bearing the "Regional madkultur Bornholm" label are places where you can discover the local flavors of this magical island. But that's not the only opportunity to taste Bornholm's dishes.
Erichsens Gård: Discovering Tradition at Laksegade 7 in Rønne
Erichsens Gård is not only a museum in a bourgeois house but also a real treasure for lovers of traditional Bornholm cuisine. Every day, you can experience unforgettable demonstrations and tastings of ancient Bornholm dishes prepared with passion and using traditional methods. This place transports you back in time so you can get to know the flavors that have shaped Bornholm's culinary identity for centuries. Try bread, jams, and other treats prepared on-site, and every bite will be a journey into the island's history and traditions.
Bornholm is not just a place where the local residents value exceptional food quality; it's also a true kingdom of flavors that will be appreciated by all who visit this magical island. Bornholm may be small in terms of surface area, but its flavors are incredibly grand.
Bornholm is a place where local food products are renowned for their high quality and taste. Restaurant owners, chefs, and Bornholm's residents truly appreciate this treasure trove of flavors that the island offers. That's why there is no shortage of restaurants serving dishes based solely on local ingredients. You don't have to look far to find places where local products are grown, processed, and sold. Bornholm is literally full of such places. Many of them can be visited during your stay on the island, and visiting local producers is an unforgettable opportunity to discover the mysterious flavors of Bornholm. For most people on Bornholm, food quality is a priority, which is why they wholeheartedly embrace local products. All of this makes Bornholm a true paradise for food enthusiasts. It's worth getting to know these flavors that shape the island's culinary identity and discovering them during your journey. Let Bornholm become a place where you not only admire picturesque landscapes but also uncover the tastes hidden in local delicacies.