The shellfish capital of Denmark
TEXT: JOSEFINE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTOS © SKALDYRSFESTIVALEN
Nykøbing Mors is situated on the island of Mors in the northern part of Jutland, surrounded by the beautiful and bountiful Limfjorden. Limfjorden has some of the most exquisite shellfish and seafood to be found in Denmark, something that gets celebrated every year at Skaldyrsfestival, the shellfish festival, in Nykøbing Mors.
“The festival was actually started by a local group of people. We wanted to showcase the food from the self-proclaimed shellfish capital of the world, and where better to start than with the fantastic shellfish itself?” explains Lars Tang, chairman of the festival. The first festival took place in 2005, and since then, its popularity has massively taken off.
The festival happens this year from 30 May to 1 June 2019, with over 16,000 people expected to join in across three days. Admission to the festival is free, although some things, like the shellfish buffet and sailing trips, require tickets. There is an abundance of food and drinks to try at the festival, with many stands offering some of the best produce to be found in and around Limfjorden.
Something to discover
Throughout the festival, there are many stalls showcasing the best of the local region. From these, it is possible to try local delicacies, such as the oysters, which are a sought-after ingredient at the top restaurants in London, at incredibly reasonable prices. This is also one of the best opportunities to try a variety of fresh shellfish and seafood.
The festival is perfect for everyone, whether already a shellfish lover or a new explorer to the food. “We put the festival on for everyone, so whether you’re part of a family with young kids, coming straight from work, or you’re a group of friends, there’s something for everyone,” says Tang. “Last year, we even had two separate pairs of newlyweds who celebrated their weddings at the festival, one pair eating from the stalls while the other pair enjoyed the buffet.”
From fjord to chopping board
Skaldyrsfestivalen works closely with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), which puts on an event where kids and adults alike are allowed to play a little with their food and learn more about where it comes from. The kids can try frying jellyfish and can also pick out their own crab, which they then cook and eat. Limfjorden provides the perfect setting for this, as most of what they are handling comes straight from there, providing a good understanding of where the food comes from.
“The kids always enjoy that they get to try some unusual things, like dried seaweed and jellyfish. To connect them even more to where the food comes from, we also have a fishing vessel that people can go on to explore. We want to emphasise what’s in the backyard of the festival, and I think being right in the harbour really helps people feel close to where their food is coming from.”
A buffet of dreams
A highlight of Skaldyrsfestivalen, and something they have become known for, is the shellfish and seafood buffet. It has become so popular that it is now on for two evenings rather than one, so it is possible to try the best the sea has to offer on both the Friday and Saturday. The buffet is developed by two local chefs, who make the most of the ingredients and showcase the best of the best.
On the Saturday evening, over 700 people sit down to enjoy the buffet; needless to say, tickets need to be booked in advance. During the festival, the stalls also sell seafood platters with a fantastic selection of seafood. “Both the buffet and the platters are a great way to try as much of the seafood and shellfish as possible, and just like the rest of the festival, we always ensure there’s an abundance of products and produce to try,” explains Tang. “If you can’t get enough of the shellfish universe, we also recommend the Oyster and Mussel Premiere 2019, held on Saturday 12 October in Nykøbing. It’s a chance to enjoy the start of the oyster and mussel season, with gourmet chefs as well as the Danish championships in Champagne bottle sabering and oyster opening.”