Our first part of the summer holiday, we stayed a week in Denmark close to Nørre Aaby on western shores of the Fyn island.
The holiday in Denmark was an (extended) family affair, so besides some trips to nearby cities Assens and Kolding and Legoland in Billund to entertain the kids, nothing much happened. Therefore, no culinary adventures in this post, just an impression of the area and some interesting things we encountered in the local supermarket. 🙂
Therefore, loads of home cooking for 12-16 persons and loads of shopping to do. We usually went to the Kvickly supermarket in nearby Middelfart.
First surprise: they had huge wine and beer sections. There was actually way too much choice: we were wondering around for about 15 minutes just to get a good first impression of their assortment… It was amazing to find beers from Dutch breweries that I hadn’t even seen in the Netherlands.
Second surprise: they had an ample stock of Westvleteren beer!! Westvleteren is the brewery of Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Vleteren, Belgium. It is the only of the 6 Belgian Trappist breweries where the monks still do all of the brewing. The brewery’s three beers (Blonde; green cap, 5.8% ABV – 8; blue cap, 8% ABV and 12; yellow cap, 10.2% ABV) have acquired an international reputation. Westvleteren 12 is being considered by many to be the best beer in the world. It was the winner of the 2005 World Beer Awards and was rated best in the world by Ratebeer.com in 2014.
Unfortunately, these beers are only brewed and sold by the monks to be able to financially support the monastery. The annual output has remained the same since 1946: 60.000 cases and every week only small quantities are sold from the doors of the monastery itself. Only to individual buyers and on an advance-order basis only: one order every 60 days per person per license plate and phone number and usually capped to a limited number of cases as well.
On purpose, the monks do not sell to wholesalers, so that shows in the price if you ever happen to stumble across them in stores. They were DKK 110-125 (EUR 15-17 / USD 17- 19) PER BOTTLE, which was still “quite reasonable” as we saw them last fall in Brussels on sale for EUR 20-25 / USD 23-28 per bottle.
In light of the above, I usually resort to St. Bernardus beers. The name-sake brewery from nearby Watou was granted a licence to brew Westvleteren beer just after WW2. That arrangement ended in 1992 when the Trappist breweries decided that the Trappist designation only be used for beer that is actually brewed by monks inside their abbeys. Luckily, St. Bernardus still brews beers in (very) similar styles but now under their own name (and at a lot friendlier price range: about EUR 2 a bottle).
Finally: in the Kvickly’s butcher counter, these peculiar looking contraptions peaked our interest.
No names, no prices and nobody to ask what they are called or how they should be prepared… Unfortunately, it turned out to be a one-off affair as we didn’t see them later that week. If you happen to know more about these stacks, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below this post!