With cold winters and sandy fields battered by winds from the North Sea and Baltic, Denmark is worlds away from the sun-drenched orchards of France and Italy, whose bountiful crops have served up gastronomic feasts for centuries.
Heavily dependent on its pork industry and known for its beer and aquavit, the Scandinavian country has traditionally had little to boast about in the kitchen.
So when Copenhagen hotspot Noma opened 15 years ago—it has since been voted the world's best eatery repeatedly by British magazine Restaurant—it was seen as the herald of "New Danish Cuisine": inventive dishes using high-quality organic, local and seasonal ingredients.
Noma paved the way for a new generation of chefs raring to break new ground such as those at gourmet restaurant Geranium, the only Danish eatery to boast three Michelin stars.
'New story of Nordic cuisine'
Noma, started by acclaimed chef Rene Redzepi, took cuisine "to a new level", says chef Wassim Hallal, whose Restaurant Frederikshoj in Aarhus also has a Michelin star.
"That's how the new story about Nordic cuisine started."
Fully booked months in advance and popular with celebrities, Noma has not only elevated Danish cuisine to new heights, it has also given the country a lot of very valuable publicity.
According to VisitDenmark, some 1.3 million gastro-tourists visited the nation in 2017, accounting for 28 per cent of foreign visitors.
And topping it all off, Denmark, now home to 27 restaurants with Michelin stars, in January won the prestigious Bocuse d'Or, the gastronomy equivalent of the World Cup, nudging out its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway.
It was a French chef, Daniel Letz, who earned Denmark its first Michelin star in 1983.
A lot has happened since then, with awards raining down on the country in recent years.