Dine as the Danes do

Marzipan demo, Nordic smorgasbord among event series
2013-01-24T00:00:00Z Dine as the Danes doInger Sandal Isandal@azstarnet.com Arizona Daily Star
January 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Mona's Danish was the only authentic Danish bakery in Arizona when Steve Hashemi opened it nearly 13 ago.

And it still is, says Hashemi, who grew up in Denmark and earned his culinary degree there.

Seven days a week he makes buttery cookies, and pumpernickel bread and pastries in the Danish tradition.

Hashemi also belongs to the Danish Club of Tucson, and on Friday will make pastry using Danish marzipan in a demonstration with Charlotte Wetche, whose great-grandfather founded Odense Marcipan, one of the world's top brands of the sweet almond paste. The event will include samples of Danish almond bar along with kringle, a Scandinavian pastry.

Next week, Tucsonans will have a rare chance to experience a traditional Danish smorgasbord.

"Denmark is known for food," said Mia Hansen, a club member who has organized the events.

"Its a great chance for people to taste traditional Danish cuisine and to do it with people who really love to share their heritage," she said.

The club has more than 60 members, many who are first- and second-generation Danes.

This is the second time the club has hosted the smorgasbord, which is a fundraiser timed to coincide with the arrival of the National Danish Performance Team.

The first buffet drew about 150 people.

"Its a very nice way of getting together and celebrating," said Annegrethe Christiansen, who is from Denmark. She joined the Danish Club in 1984 after learning about it at Tucson Meet Yourself.

"We do a lot of cooking in preparation," she said.

The smorgasbord will start with a course of herring, salmon, and perhaps other fish served with pumpernickel bread from Mona's Danish.

The second course includes Danish meatballs (which are larger than Swedish), served with red cabbage prepared with wine vinegar, butter and sugar. Club members also plan to prepare roast pork and liver pâté.

The next course features cold cuts such as ham, roast beef and salami, along with traditional salads and pickled red beets.

That's followed by a course of creamy Danish cheese, including Dolfino havarti, fontina and Castello blue cheese, along with a brie, served with bread and crackers.

The meal will conclude with coffee and cookies and kringle from Mona's Danish and Odense Marcipan.

Patrons can sample Danish beers and Aalborg Akvavit at the bar throughout the meal.

If you go

• What: Marzipan demonstration with Danish-trained baker Steve Hashemi, includes samples.

• When: 6-7:30 p.m. Friday.

• Where: Copenhagen, 3660 E. Fort Lowell Road.

• Cost: Free.

• What: Danish smorgasbord.

• When: 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 2. Reservations must be made by Feb. 1 by calling: 370-0588.

• Where: Pavilion at Old Sabino Canyon, 3705 N. Old Sabino Canyon Road (entrance off River Road).

• Cost: $30.

Did you know?

Nordic cuisine is included in a roundup of "the best superfoods of 2013," in the February issue of More magazine. "This cuisine is delicious and good for you: It emphasizes omega-3-rich salmon, antioxidant-packed berries like lingoberries and blueberries, nutrient-dense vegetables such as beets and onions, and disease-fighting herbs like dill, parsley, cinnamon and cardamom. In addition, the hearty Scandinavian way of eating relies heavily on grains like oatmeal, rye and barley, which have all been connected to lower heart disease risk."

Danes in the Desert

This is a series of lectures, exhibits, sporting and culinary activities celebrating Danes and Danish contributions. It also includes appearances by Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen.

Events take place in Tucson, Phoenix and Fort Huachuca through Feb. 6.

Find the full lineup at danesinthedesert.com

Highlights

• What: Denmark vs. Canada men's soccer match, with a halftime show by the National Danish Performance Team.

• When: 1 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Kino Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way.

• Cost: Tickets start at $20 at fctucson.ticketsocket.com/mia

• What: National Danish Performance Team, Zoom Show.

• What: 2 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Pima Community College West Campus Gymnasium, 2202 W. Anklam Road.

• Cost: $12; $10 seniors, $5 age 12 and under at the door. Reserve by calling 206-6762.

Mona's Danish

4777 E. Sunrise Drive, 579-1959.

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

The bakery also serves a selection of sandwiches, salads and soups.

Steve Hashemi said he can accommodate special requests for platters of traditional open-faced sandwiches.

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