Danish Chef To Revive Viking Cuisine

A Danish chef by the name Jesper Lynge is on a mission to revive Viking Age cuisine. Lynge, 44-year-old, is the master chef at the Lindholm Høje Cafe located in Lindholm Høje, a major archaeological site situated northward of Aalborg (or Ålborg), northern Jutland, Denmark. He runs the café that provides authentic treats with basic ingredients used by the Norsemen during the Viking Age (which corresponds to the timeline between the 8th century to 11th century).

Danish chef Jesper Lynge. Image source: www.digidar.dk

Danish chef Jesper Lynge. Image source: www.digidar.dk

According to the official website of the restaurant, ‘Viking cuisine is about getting down to basics’, as all recipes include raw materials that were used by the early medieval Scandinavians during the Viking era. The ingredients include spices, a wide range of vegetables as well as roast meat. Some of the most enjoyable treats from the Viking Age include the risotto, venison with ham, mead, or cabbage salad.

Below you can watch a short presentation video made by Jesper Lynge on the Viking themed restaurant near Aalborg:

In a Daily Mail interview, the Danish chef discussed several interesting aspects concerning the Viking cuisine and the Norse culture. He explained that the menu during the Viking period ‘was decided by the season, as they [i.e. the Norsemen] needed to take use of the available ingredients’.

Lindholm Høje (literally meaning ‘Lindholm Hills’, ‘høje’ stemming from the Old Norse word ‘haugr’ – i.e. ‘mound’ or ‘hill’) is a major burial site in northern Jutland, located in the area of Limfjord. The southern part of the site dates back to the early Middle Ages while the northern one can trace its roots back to the Nordic Iron Age. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

In addition, another surprising fact stated by him is that ‘Lots of the food that is fashionable today is similar to what they ate.’, according to the same interview. While most of the people would expect the Vikings to have solely eaten pickled herring or copious amounts of haunches of boar, it wasn’t necessarily the case. They weren’t eating only meat but also wheat, corn, root vegetables, and cabbage.

Of course, herring is also highlighted in the restaurant’s menu but the conclusion is that the Viking cuisine is far more complex and healthy than one would expect clinging only to stereotypes. For example, a notable cooking technique pioneered by the Norsemen that is still in use today is the fermenting of the cabbage used for making the sauerkraut.

Example of a regular Viking meal. Image source: www.galnet.wikia.com

Example of a regular Viking Age meal. Image source: www.galnet.wikia.com

Jesper Lynge also stated that there were a special type of Viking warriors, the Berserkers namely, that could ate virtually speaking anything. He insisted on the fact that he uses the very same ingredients and techniques available to the Vikings a thousand years ago. He also considers that the Norsemen should be given more credit for their culinary tradition which had subsequently influenced many modern British, Danish and Swedish dishes.

Below you can watch a short video on the Viking menu:

In reference to the Norse culture, the 44-year-old Danish chef said that there is a common cultural heritage between the Scandinavians and the British as ‘much of northern European culture has its roots in the Viking Age’, he concluded. ‘The British might talk about the Vikings attacking and being violent and that might be true, but 80 per cent of English people have Viking genes. In that sense, we are one common people’, he also added.

On battlefield, the Viking warriors were tremendously influenced by their perception of afterlife. ‘What made the Vikings such great and feared warriors was their perception of heaven and the afterlife,’ said Lynge for the Daily Mail. ‘They were not afraid of dying and they were especially not afraid of dying in a battle. Just imagine fighting against a big man, who believes that if he dies while he is giving his best in a battle, then he will be sent on to an eternal party’, he added.

You can also watch the following clip from Channel4’s SundayBrunch with Jesper Lynge cooking:

Documentation sources and external links:


Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.