Welcome 2018 – thanks for everything in 2017

Text: Louise Beck Brønnum and Michael Bom Frøst

Editor: Julia Sick.
Photos: Roberto Flore, Julia Sick, Rikke Højer, Louise Beck Brønnum, Vild Mad

A new year is approaching. Throughout December the Lab has been smelling of pine (α-pinene), cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde), cloves (eugenol), oranges (octyl acetate) and gløgg – the Danish mulled wine. It is a time to enjoy meals together with family and friends and to remember all the pleasant memories from the past year, and to make a brief inventory of the activities in the lab.  Therefore, we would like to share some of our best memories from 2017 with you.

This year Nordic Food Lab published the book “On eating insects”, about our work with insects and how we explored the deliciousness of insects around the world. We are truly honoured by the positive feedback it has received.

We contributed to numerous festivals, symposiums and food events in Denmark and beyond as part of Smag for Livet [lit. Taste for Life). We have been doing our best to teach and inspire people about taste and the flavour of biodiversity. Ranging from tasting of various Danish currant and plum varieties at Bærfestival [lit. the Berry festival] and Seed Exchange Festival to workshops teaching Gyotako (Japanese fish prints) techniques for fish, squid and oysters at the VILD MAD festival, Kulinarisk Sydfyn and other places. Serving some tasters to startle the audience at Creative tastebuds. We have created an awesome wild food card game and developed beautiful short films about how food producers use their senses to guide their work. To this and much more – look forward to find on our blog soon!

Internationally speaking, we contributed to the World Creative Economy Summit in Shanghai, InnoFood at Stanford, Making sense of Taste in Philadelphia, hosted a tempe tasting at the Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon and presented some of our research at the Pangborn Symposium in Rhode Island. With every trip, we disseminate our latest knowledge to the public, but also get inspired with new knowledge, methods, culinary techniques and ingredients from all over the world that we can experiment with in our research kitchen at the University of Copenhagen.

2017 also saw a new type of event. Monday Aperitivo is a new initiative, which has been simmering on the back burner for some time. This October we hosted our first. An event aiming to create an informal forum, where people can address their views with an amount of passion of a specific subject related to food. A forum from where dialogs and discussions between sciences, craftsmanship and industry take place to stimulate the appetite for progress. We tasted dashi and seaweed cocktails while talking about extraction, discussed the domestication of fungi and their use in the kitchen to create interesting flavours. The planning of the next Monday Aperitivos for 2018 is already in progress, so we are very much looking forward to sharing the future dates with you soon!

A new creature has captured our research interest in the last couple of months. Together with Professor Ole Mouritsen we have taken up gastronomic research on the topic of Squids! With more than 25 different species in the Danish waters and a growing population, squid is the new black gastronomically speaking. We look forward to continuing our work in Smag for Livet on this project and sharing more of our exploration with you here on the blog!

Gyotako print of squid. 

A vast amount of projects and ideas are coming up for the next year to explore deliciousness in many aspects and we cannot wait to get started.

Some numbers to highlight the year 2017

140,000 unique visitors to our website. This is the main purpose of what we do – to share information with those that seek it. This is an astounding number that humbles us. To all of you – thank you so much for using our work.

We reached 20K followers on Twitter and we are approaching 10K on Instagram

8 new publications with contributions from us.

3 new staff members – We are now 8 team members – so many that it is difficult to find space for interns, hence we have only had room for 3 interns in 2017. 6 different students worked with us for their MSc-theses in Food Innovation and Health. Thanks to all of you for your great work for the lab.

Batch number 5 of Anty Gin our joint venture with Cambridge Distillery is already sold out from our own stock but it is available from our selected retailer. You can still find a few bottles of batch number 4 there too. Cheers!

A Happy New Year to all of you. See you in 2018.

Low temperature cooked Cucumber, dashi, licorice lovage oil and grasshopper garum. Designed by Roberto Flore Tags Smag for Livet, Squid, On Eating Insects