In preparation for the autumn school holidays and the upcoming Halloween candy and pumpkin fest, Copenhagen's Torvehallerne held a fun, activity filled and ultimately education packed day on Sunday. Children were able to carve pumpkins and take them home free of charge, they got to test their knowledge of seafood and even, dare we say it, try some.
Here’s our breakdown of Børnetorvet…
How much do kids really know about fish? Living by the sea, in a land surrounded by water you could imagine the local Danish children would know a lot. Compare that to many British children who struggle to tell you that a wonky carrot is still a carrot, this would be a real test of what children pick up when out and about. Understandably, not every parent is interested in fish or seafood, they may not like it. Therefore the likelihood of some children being educated as to what they are seeing falls to schools, with both instances in Britain happening sparsely.
As British foodies, we often try to tell our kids plenty about food, be it vegetables, herbs or seafood. Quite often when we go to a supermarket in the UK or here in Denmark we stop by the fresh food and have a look at what’s available, and they ask questions, lots, which is great - and this is the same at Torvehallerne; almost every Saturday.
On a table outside lay an array of fresh seafood, ranging from crabs and mussels to cod and monkfish, and everything in-between. Crayfish, lobsters, urchin and oysters were all named, but we were stumped at perch, a freshwater fish and also, I didn’t even know the difference between a plaice and a John Dory. Every time we got stuck someone helped us, it was a great start to the morning. I tried oysters, again, this time with hot sauce - which I personally love.
Popular at the moment, virtual reality is everywhere and it’s the same in the food industry where it serves as a great educational tool. Funded by Google this particular venture allowed the user to pop on a head set and be transported to Africa and watch what was happening in Nigerian farming. Anyone that has used VR for gaming or educational purposes knows how immersive it can be and again, this was another learning experience with the addition of fun and the ability to ask questions about what you’re seeing, as long as you don't walk off aimlessly in your own VR inspired world.
Inside we tried mussels. I've had them before at another seafood event in the city, that was my first time trying them and I’m glad to say it wont be my last. The kids though, needed some persuasion to try one. They were with us when we tried them previously, and they were having none of it then, but, out of respect for education – and the promise of ice cream and maybe a slice of chocolate cake – they tried the mussels this time… it did not end well… but at least they tried it!
So, after decorating a free Halloween inspired mini chocolate cake, and eating it at 11:30am, we went and carved a pumpkin. Tools all provided, spoons, mini knives for intricate face carving and bins for the off cuts, they had a blast and so did everyone else. It was great to see so many parents and children taking an interest in food around us. Over one side kids were practicing knife skills by chopping vegetables, while on another side restaurant Barr chef Thorsten Schmidt made ice cream/sorbet with juice, water and liquid nitrogen which was amazing to see.
Copenhagen is food crazy. If you’re an adult, you’ll love these events, because no doubt you already love food. If you’re a kid you’ll love learning about food too and events like this really do help inspire the foodie generation of the future.