Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Copenhagen Pizza

Some fine rum before dinner at Kontra.

Someday, years after homo sapiens have been wiped from this Earth, other beings will come here to study and learn about our civilization. Instead of calling our planet "Earth", they may end up calling it: "Italia".

Seems that no matter where on Mother Earth I venture, we always return to pizza. Whether in some far-flung rural countryside in Thailand, or the blustery streets of Moscow, the sweaty alleys of Rio de Janeiro, or in the late waning light of Copenhagen, pizza is on people's minds and in their stomachs.

After spending the afternoon wandering around Copenhagen with Holger Welz and Andrew Barnett, we end up at Kontra Coffee where we meet up with 2005 World Barista Champion Troels Poulsen and Kontra roaster Michael de Renouard for some shots of rum and cold beers. After our beverages, Michael invites us over to his flat for a pizza dinner and some Euro Cup action on the telly.

Michael setting up the pizzas.

You'll find me complaining in other posts about the seemingly ridiculous cost of goods here in Copenhagen. For this American Dollar spending yokel, this city is way expensive. But as we're about to see, these Danes live pretty well for themselves.

Michaels' flat is in a nice section of the city on the top floor of a rather nice apartment complex. While slightly spartan, it's very tastefully decorated and furnished. What Michael lacks in clutter, he makes up for in thoughtful and valuable - in spades. The furniture has been hand-selected and feels sumptuous. The wines are beautiful. Even the wrought iron outdoor table and chair is authentic and old, not manufactured and new from IKEA. It's impressive all the way around.

While most coffee industry people are content with a Moka pot and some inexpensive coffeemaker, or perhaps a decent espresso machine, for Michael such tomfoolery just won't do. Only a La Marzocco GS3 will suffice - and how often do any of us achieve professional level espresso at home?

The view.

This is fine living and I'm slightly envious. If I had to live the urban lifestyle, this is the kind of lifestyle I would prefer: minimalist with fine furniture and exquisite appointments.

Even the view is lovely. A top floor flat is a must. As I peer out from the balcony sipping whatever lovely chianti that Michael has selected for us, I feel sorry for minions below who were unlucky in their bid for the top floor. It's 10pm and stubbornly daylight. I fancy myself a Hans Christian Andersen looking across the cityscape that doesn't look like it's changed in one hundred years.

Meanwhile, Holger and Andrew have occupied themselves with Germany in the Euro Cup.

Holger and Andrew with Germany in the background.

Finally, the pizzas arrive and Michael has gone all out on four of them, which is probably two too many. It's late night and I can't be eating a whole pizza. Plus, all this boozing has me slightly out of focus.

It's really a frenzy of pizza. Topped with prosciutto, artichokes, olives, basil, tomatoes and so much more. They're delicious. Ooh, there's sausage. And cheese. And maybe I can eat one.

Do I want more chianti? Well, I don't want to be rude.

After about twenty minutes, it's all over. We've attacked the pizzas with much gusto and there's about a pie and half left. Not too bad for three road-weary travelers who just arrived that morning and are pushing 23 hours.

But there's still dessert, digestif and Cuban cigars to be had.

Good Lord.

But before we get into more drinking, I make a quick call to see if the girls got in from their trip. They're doing well and are (smartly) getting ready for bed. Even though I haven't talked to her in six months, she sounds genuinely happy to hear from me. That's nice - and better than ice cream.

Returning to the task at hand, we enjoy a digestif, more good chat, Germany wins and we finally make our way back to the hotel around 2am.

Not a bad way to start your trip to Copenhagen