The pizza crust rustled, shaking black bits of charred crust all over the grooved wood table, as I slowly edged a slice equally overloaded with fresh herbs and even fresher burrata onto my plate. The cheese was a few hours young, having just emerged from the in-house dairy, and now breaking into ecstatic shooting stars as the oozy center burst forth from its firmer exterior. I closed my eyes to concentrate on the first bite and offer silent thanks for leaving New York City on vacation to find this holy slice. Did I find this paragon of pie in Italy? Nope, I’m in Copenhagen.
Michelin-starred chef Christian Puglisi is serving up some of the finest fresh mozzarella and burrata I’ve ever had at his casual pizzeria Baest. Besides that transcendent burrata pie, his pizza with new potatoes, salsa verde and mascarpone, offered a different twist on the cheesy carb combo. Puglisi’s cheese fervor continues at his lovely upscale restaurant Relae. It was there that I had the trippiest cheese course I’ve ever experienced. Danish blue cheese…frozen into particles…that revive when you scoop them up with a slice of warm, wheat bread with an almost sponge cake-like consistency. It was wild. And wonderful.
And across town in the Meatpacking district, Mother is turning out thin crust pies topped with whole burratas. Yes, that’s right, the entire ball of cheese, boldly plopped right on top of the pie (I think you get a pass on using a fork and knife with that one) and a simple, elegant, and utterly delicious margherita pizza, the ideal showcase for fresh mozzarella. And gooey gorgonzola gets baked into a “tortino” with eggplants, the result a quivering mound of cheesy flan-like deliciousness.
Bloggers and Instagrammers flock to Atelier September as much for its airy, antique-filled interior as for its artfully composed food. Me, I would go back daily just for the burrata smothered in ribbons of fresh zucchini, basil, and sunflower seeds. The lemon zest and citrusy olive oil gave the whole dish a brightness that set off the decadent creaminess and somehow made me feel way less guilty eating the whole thing without sharing.
Is a quiet revolution afoot in Denmark to replace smorrbrod with pizza? To swap out smoked salmon with mozzarella? Probably not, but for my memories, it’ll be the cheese of Copenhagen that stands out in all its creamy, dreamy glory.