Surrounded by candles on a wet Tuesday evening in April, Master Chocolatier, Fritz Knipschildt, of Chocopologie, and his talented Danish born and trained chefs; Christian Wilki and chef/manager, Christel Marie Moerck introduced 35 CTbites guests to the Nordic cuisine of their homeland, Denmark.
Inspired by the New Nordic Cuisine of Scandinavia, and Rene Redzepi's "World's Best Restaurant," NOMA in Copenhagen, this special 12 course meal turned into an amazing four hour event curated as part of the CTbites Invites program.
The evening itself was so well received, and so much fun for the chefs and the guests, that this Chocopologie creative team was inspired to offer as part of their new Fall menu some of the traditional Nordic dishes and techniques they had been trained in and missed preparing here in the United States.
In particular, they sought to emphasize the need for what they described as "purity, simplicity, and freshness," as well as increased use of seasonal foods. Traditional techniques such as smoking, salting and pickling were incorporated into the varied menu items.
All three hail from the town of Odense, Denmark…most famous for its celebrated author, Hans Christian Andersen, and at different points in their careers Christian and Christel worked alongside Fritz, although this is the first time all three are collaborating together. Training to be a chef in Denmark is an intense process that takes years, and graduates chefs well versed in the preparation and presentation of food.
The menu itself is uniquely brilliant, offering a mix of past Chocopologie popular dishes, such as Steak Frites, Salad Nicoise, and Lunch/Brunch Buckwheat Crepes, with unique yet traditional Nordic additions such a Eggs on Hay, a smoked soft puached egg topped with corn relish and a sprinkling of corn needle dust, Pan-seared salmon over smoked potato puree, Veggies on Earth featured seasonal pickled vegetables like beets, radishes, asparagus, and carrots topped with smoked potato cream fraiche and delicate edible flowers, or a most authentic Smoerrebroed, the traditional Nordic open face sandwiches which are a staple for lunch or dinner throughout Scandinavia.
Each dish is presented creatively using natural stone and marble slabs instead of plates… adding to the experience, and as Christian said, “ To Eat with your Eyes.”
The Smoerrebroed offerings are what sets the menu apart and offers an unique introduction to the Nordic experience. Originally designed in homes throughout Scandinavia as a creative way to use leftovers, each sandwich is paired with a grainy bread like rye or pumpernickel and enhanced with a smoked or pickled garnish.
The choice of five open face sandwiches is best tried as a sampling of three to really taste the variety and understand why Smoerrebroed is a basic in Nordic dining.
The complete Smoerrebroed offerings include: Liver pâté on rye w/bacon, cornichons, sautéed mushrooms & pickled beets; Egg/shrimp on toast, mayo, lemon & dill; Roast beef on rye, remoulade, horse radish, fried onion rings; Smoked salmon on toast, smiley egg, asparagus; and Smoked Red skin potatoes on rye, mayo, chives, tomato & red onion.
The thinly sliced Roast Beef over rye bread is flavorful and can stand on it’s own. We added the smoked potato over rye and the shrimp and hardboiled egg over toast thereby creating a tasting plate for lunch that was delicious as well as authentic.
Each sandwich is priced at $5.50 for lunch with a Tasting Plate of three priced at $15, or slightly larger sized sandwiches at $7.00 for dinner/ $19- for Tasting Plate of three.
Of course, the freshly made chocolates and desserts should not be neglected, so leave room for Fritz’s decadent offerings including his signature chocolate martini.
Fritz, Christian and Christel all spoke proudly of their homeland and fine training and are truly enjoying this adventure together bringing the International flavor of Nordic cuisine for the first time to Connecticut.
Experience for yourself and see what the talented chefs at Chocopologie are cooking up in SoNo!
12 S Main St
Norwalk, CT 06854