Before purchasing the Danish Mill Bakery in 2020, Danish entrepreneur René Gross Kærskov was already a prolific business owner but a newcomer to the realm of confectionery goods.
The Solvang resident said he bought the bakery, a town staple since 1960, when he saw it for sale simply because he didn’t want to see it go.
“Danish bakeries are important for the culture of Solvang,” Kærskov said. “I didn’t think we could afford to lose one to a wine tasting room or anything like that.
“I like wine tasting rooms,” he clarified. “But I actually bought [Danish Mill Bakery] because I wanted to make sure it stayed a bakery.”
His new ventures Brød & Kage, named after the Danish translations for “bread and cake,” and Æbleskivehuset opened in February and June, respectively. Both are located in downtown Solvang.
Brød & Kage, on Mission Drive, is described as a sibling of Danish Mill Bakery, located on Copenhagen Drive. Offerings at the two shops often cross over, as both spots are helmed by head pastry chef and baker Henrik Gram, who specializes in Danish-inspired pastries, cakes, and other baked goods.
Gåsebryst—a cream cake—and træstammer—a confection with cake, dark chocolate, marzipan, and raspberry jam—are among the traditional Danish desserts featured in the new shop’s sweet selection, which also includes handmade gourmet chocolates by Danish chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt.
Kærskov said it’s hard for him to pick a personal favorite at Brød & Kage, but narrowing down his favorite ingredient, featured in several items at the shop, was much simpler.
“As a Dane, I like anything with marzipan in it, or almond paste as it’s called,” Kærskov said.
His favorite item at Æbleskivehuset, located on Copenhagen Drive, was also easy for the entrepreneur to place. It’s the licorice ice cream.
“You probably won’t find that at many places around here,” said Kærskov, who wants the new eatery to be known for its lineup of unique ice cream flavors locals and visitors alike are unlikely to come across “in your corner supermarket” just as much as its aebleskiver.
“I hate to call it a pancake ball, but that’s kind of how it’s described,” Kærskov said of the Danish treat.
“It’s funny because we only eat that at Christmastime, but in Solvang it’s eaten year round,” added Kærskov, who described the dessert as one of his favorite winter traditions during his childhood.
The aebleskiver and other baked goods at Æbleskivehuset can be paired with the shop’s ice cream in a plethora of ways. Some of the combinations on the shop’s menu are German chocolate cake with licorice ice cream, a pear Belle Hélène dessert with vanilla ice cream and almonds, and a lemon cake topped with lemon ice cream.
Handmade waffle cones are also available for a more traditional kind of ice cream pairing.
In terms of the aebleskiver on its own, Kærskov said there are certain nuances that distinguish the Æbleskivehuset variety from aebleskivers offered at other spots in Solvang.
“I thought I could perfect those a little better,” said Kærskov, who likes his aebleskiver “a little smaller and a little lighter” than some he’s come across in Solvang over the years.
“Another thing is we don’t smother them in jam,” Kærskov added, although an ample side of jam is provided. “Danes don’t like messy things. We never pour jam all over it.
“We don’t want sticky fingers.”
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