A sunny Sunday afternoon. Rachele calls me up for a bike and slackline. Christiania is the place.
We bike a bit by the lake, find a dappled spot with some good trunks, and set up the line. The grass is full of lounging Danes. They like their sun, it is valuable, like a wild fruit.
When we exhaust ourselves we head further up the lake, into sparser regions, with only small, unique houses and the predictable bends from the old fortress embankments.
At some point, there is an abandoned structure-turned-graffiti-gallery.
Across the old moat.
We bike back to town in the shade, on paths we don’t know.
Later, it’s time for tea.
A truly collaborative effort, with some of the stages from the restaurant. One hosts from her apartment right on Christianshavn canal. Another brings ginger snaps. And a true champion from New Zealand makes his homegrown recipe for scones (secret ingredient: Sprite), shares a delicious ‘jam’ of lacto-fermented raspberries (you know, an experiment on the side with all that free time), and whips out the requisite clotted cream. A woolly blanket later and we are set for tea on the canal’s edge. Benches are full and boats go by below.
It is a easy confluence of people and coincidences. Jacquie – a wonderful stage from Vancouver whom I met on midsummer – and I discover our mutual love of Silk Road Tea. In fact, she attended UWC Pearson just outside Victoria, the same place where I did PSYL for two summers. And we have some strange mutual friend connections. Needless to say we’ve become quite close.
The boat is a few thrown stones away so this new bond bikes me back to the lab to pick up a second teapot and all the tins of tea I brought with me to Denmark.
Jacquie provides the Rooibos, and for the second we select Velvet Potion: black tea with cacao nibs, vanilla, and ‘spices’ (cinnamon and a touch of clove I think). Both are great teatime teas.
But man, those scones with cream and berries are the true stars of the show.
Crisp on the outside, crumb-and-spongy on the inside, sliceable as butter and touched with salt and sweet, it is impossible to conceive of a better vehicle for good clotted cream and this savoury zing of the fermented raspberries. Actually, I think I prefer this microbe-ennobled jam to ‘regular’ preserves. It has since inspired a hobby.
There are many really great parts that make this a special day. Passionate, heroic, exhausted people, good simple food, and eating outside on an evening when, because the light’s still up, teatime comes around 7 or 8.
I’m a sucker for the small things. And my favourite detail, I think, is how the scones are cut into hexagons, baked and kept in a honeycomb. To eat one is a delight; but to tear one from the matrix is a joy of deeply affective proportions.
We are from all over: Denmark, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, America, and some others I probably forget. Moral of the story: good teatime is a universal pleasure.
And also: these chefs don’t just know how to cook and eat well; they know deeply the art of offering, the craft of caring for each other while they are here. Because next week, and the week after, some will go, some new ones arrive, and after each new week of double-work there will always be the need to drink.
So why not drink together.