What’s the first thing that comes to mind when arriving in Copenhagen?  For us, it was to visit the world famous Carlsberg Brewery. I remember drinking it way back for its high alcohol content and the travel ideas I associated with the majestic Carlsberg Elephant on the label. Started in 1847 by JC Jacobsen, the brewery tour features the original brewhouse and stables with beautiful Jutland horses, a sculpture garden and a tasting bar in the more modern Jacobsen brew house. I was given a complete tour and tasting of numerous beers including one made with wine yeast meant to give the beer a velvety and champagne-like quality (they know my tastes).  While that was a good, I really enjoyed their Weiss beer made in the light & fruity German style.  Even Kevin got to sample as he was busy following me around with the camera.

Next stop was a visit to one of Copenhagen’s main attractions, Tivoli Gardens, a beautiful park with rides and such but also some top notch restaurants. It’s there that we met with Adam Price of Brothers Price, and he made a traditional open faced sandwich called ‘smoretbrod.’ This one made up of freshly baked rye bread spread with lard, fixed with wild boar, a slice of ham, beef aspic and onions – incredibly good. I know that I would never think to order that if I had seen it on a menu before, but now I know it’s a must. Chef Adam also prepared a dish of roe buck – (raw and sliced thin with a tarragon aioli on top) – absolutely phenomenal.

As if that wasn’t enough, next I get taken to the oldest bakery in Copenhagen, Conditori La Glace, where it’s not uncommon to wait in line for over an hour to make your purchase. The setting reminded me of the cafes in Vienna with a large glass display case of cakes and a cozy looking room with small round marble tables to sit and enjoy. I was given a piece (what seemed like a huge piece) of the bakery’s most popular creamy cake. It was over the top and I loved every bite.

To reach Tallinn we sailed two and half days across the Baltic Sea and were ready to explore!  Our crew was met by 2 ladies from the Tallinn Tourist Board and a local guide who would take us around.  All three were terrific and spoke perfect English.  As we arrived to another sunny day, they thanked Patrick and I for bringing Florida sunshine to their country.

After a brief history of Estonia, as we drove from the port to the center town and arrive at Luscher and Matiesen winery, whose roots go back 800 years.  After sampling delicious varietals, we head to Pierre Chocolatiere where I tasted fantastic cake and hot chocolate flavored with grappa and gorgonzola (really!).  Not yet satisfied, we next attended an incredible cooking/ dining experience at Restaurant Mekk where Chef Rene walked us through otherworld delights such as an incredible pork belly with lentils and a salted white fish from the Baltic Sea, served with a dollop of foie gras – exceptional!