How to host an American Thanksgiving dinner in Denmark
First off, I am well aware I’m not American. But when I lived in New Orleans for some time and experienced a real American (Southern) Thanksgiving, I was instantly hooked. My landlady had invited me to spend it with her and her family, and I got to enjoy the most delicious turkey, oyster stuffing and sweet potato casserole, and I knew I had to have this back home, too. Now, “back home” means Copenhagen, but the boyfriend and I have been hosting Thanksgiving dinners for our friends every year since we moved here together, and I love it (I hope the others do, too!). And since I’ve read a lot of requests about Thanksgiving foods in some of the Facebook groups for expats in Copenhagen, I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired.
A Thanksgiving without a turkey would – so I’ve been told – be completely unthinkable. The first time we hosted, it was only for 6 people, so I made do with two large turkey breasts, but last year, we were 10, so more meat was required! Since I also made all sorts of side dishes that needed to be baked, I simply ran out of oven space (despite my great planning, complete with a time-chart of what would be in the oven when and which dishes could overlap due to similar baking temperatures). So we decided to check around and see if there were any butchers or catering companies that would deliver a roasted turkey.
If you are looking to prepare your own turkey, your best choice would probably be a larger supermarket with a good selection and a “real” meat and butcher’s section, like Føtex. You might have to pre-order, as they likely won’t have turkey on stock regularly. Confirmed places where you can get a turkey:
Now if you, like me, are looking for a ready-made turkey, you will want to look around at butcher’s shops. Be prepared though that the price can be quite steep, we paid 900 DKK for a 5kg (ca. 11 lb) turkey, all roasted and with stuffing inside. I know the following confirmed places for ordering a ready-made turkey, but the last two on the list above might also prepare turkeys upon request.
[UPDATE] Rotunden in Hellerup also makes turkeys to order, including stuffing. It costs about 100 DKK per kilo, plus another 200 DKK for the preparation.
Other food items
Now, you’ve sorted out the turkey, but what about all the ingredients for the sides? Unfortunately, I don’t know of any purely American grocery stores in the greater Copenhagen area, but there are some larger supermarkets that carry some American products. I’ve seen that SuperBrugsen on Matthæusgade (just off Vesterbrogade) has a large shelf with American products.
[UPDATE] Bilka at Fields mall has a shelf full of American products as well.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, there are several online stores with larger selections of American food items:
- My American Market, a French company that also ships to Denmark (delivery costs are around 120 DKK for a 5 kg package). They have a Thanksgiving section with pumpkin pie filling, canned yams, corn muffin mix, etc.
- ShopAmerica.eu, a Dutch company (shipping costs to Denmark are 60 DKK for orders up to ca. 500 DKK, otherwise free!)
My own approach during the last two years has been to make everything from scratch (apart from the turkey), so if you’d like to try something new, why not give it a go? There are a million recipes out there that will teach you how to make all the favorites you might have bought previously yourself and from scratch! Some examples:
- Pumpkin puree from scratch, to be used for pumpkin pie (I’ve used Hokkaido pumpkin before)
- Cranberry sauce from scratch – I’ve made this recipe and really loved it; I replaced 1-2 tbsp of the orange juice with orange liqueur and it turned out great
- Cornbread dressing from scratch – this one even teaches you how to make the cornbread itself!
[UPDATE] This year, I’ll forego baking in favor of ordering two pies from The American Pie Company. One pie will set you back DKK 329, but they are SO worth it!
For some people, Thanksgiving and football are intimately connected. Lucky for you, football is on the rise in Denmark and you’ll be able to catch at least one or two games before tucking in! The games start at 7pm Danish time, and you can be sure that at least one will be broadcast on TV (usually on TV3 Sport or TV3 Plus).
Are you going to be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner? What are your all-time favorite dishes, and how do you prepare them here in Denmark?