June 22, 2011
After having spent my later teen years plowing through the novels of Douglas Coupland, Bret Easton Ellis and other post modern cynics, I can’t help but see myself in so many typical Generation X situations. Meaning that you suddenly find yourself in a condition that requires an ironizing snark or a sarcastic comment–there’s just no other way. For example, visiting the stable tourist trap for Danish layer cakes–La Glace– in Copenhagen.
My sister and I have a thing for cakes. We just can’t leave the fuckers alone. And living in Copenhagen with all its French-inspired cake shops and new organic bakeries makes it even harder not to misstep and inhale a slice or two every so often.
But this place, La Glace, is not where we usually go. Only tourists (with the wrong guidebook obviously), old grandmas with their offspring, and suburban white trash who come into the city on Saturdays to shop for loose gym trousers and tv dinner trays with wheels, all go to have “posh cake” at the Glace.
No locals come here, they all know better. And I should too, but sometimes you have to take one for the team, in this case Team Umamimart.
The facade reflects old European style with lots of glass, gold and old bricks. The signs are inconsistent though, it looks cheap.
The window next to the entrance is an exhibit of what this place is all about: layer cakes, the timeless Danish staple dessert, and afternoon coffee companion. A circular birthday cake (not squarish as in the U.S.) with candles and flags is part of every Danish child’s birthday.
We glance through the windows. The lady inside gives us a very suspicious look. Are we cake crazy tourists on drugs or from the State Department of Health? Either represent a bad visitor, I guess.
Walnut cake: crushed walnuts in whipped cream, mocca frosting and caramellized walnuts. Lots of walnuts, huh?
Orange cake: Orange creme, macaroon base, orange frosting, caramellized oranges.
H.C. Anderson’s Cake: Lemon fromage, raspberry butter with star anis on juicy nut bottom layer. Decorated with white chocolate.
Rubinstein cake: Rum fromage, macaroon base, currants jelly, choux dipped in chocolate, hazelnuts and whipped cream. Wow, lots going on here.
We check the prices. EEEK!!
$10 for a slice (and that slice ain’t big, I can tell you that. This is Copenhagen, not Houston, Texas). This better be good.
They also offer strawberry cakes at $7.5 and smaller truffles at $6.
No idea what these cakes are. Being gay I dig the little flowers. Perhaps it is tradition, but I generally don’t like eating out of tinfoil it’s just too supermarket cake-ish.
The right window is a different story. No layer cakes here, just horror.
Yes yes, very bridezilla from afar. But get up close…
… SHOCK!! Yamahomo, don’t look!!! Macarons from hell! You may have nightmares for years!
For one, these are bad bad colours. Did they squeeze a salmon for the right amount of 1994 apricot-hairdresser-salon-wall-barf-inducing colouring? Also, the styling is sloppy. The macarons are drying and falling apart, its legs are gross and clumsy. Only a straight women would place this tray of macarons coulour scheme on a lime/pink striped underpaper. It a messy clash and it hurts the eyes.
Late June means streets crowded with drunk high school graduates screaming and fornicating in joy, set free from the chains of homework and obligations. That’s what they think, this is the real end of childhood and youth and it only gets worse from here. [If they knew this they would be crying in the streets, throwing themselves off tall buildings.]
Here is the hat they all wear for graduation, as a symbol of no way back.
To the left is a tray of marzipan cake which you eat at big events like new years eve and graduation ceremonies. Danish flags everywhere, it’s a party thing. On the right is the cake hat.
We enter the tourist scene.
Clean but slightly messy setup, like someone’s redecorated a 1895 living room into a coffee and cake cafe.
Silver, brass, glass.
The coffee is filter coffee served in silver pitchers. As if that makes it better?
We take a deep breath and glance at the menu.
Ok, so $10 for a cake slice and $10.5 for a cup of filter coffee? Bitches, you’re on drugs.
Oh yeah and hot chocolate is $13. Their pamphlet says it’s made on sweet milk, cream and “block chocolate” (industrial?).
The tourists stand in line, surrounded by others who have also obeyed their discount guide books and order the cake, only to realise the hollowness of this place. Cause La Glace is all talk and no walk.
This place is popular, there’s always a line.
The pamphlet on the table advertises 19 layer cakes. Not all are made every day. But you can order your own cake for 14 peeps for $140.
The interior wants to be cozy but something’s just off. We’re sitting in a basement and it feels like we’re in a half-assed Disneyland green room.
Core audience: old peeps. The thing on the left with the white glasses is actually a man. Closeted husband alert.
Our order arrives fairly quickly. Filter coffee is so much faster than real espresso machines, yay…
My sister refused to order her own coffee due to the rio-off price tag. So we share the cup illegally.
Cake addict pose.
I am so wearing the wrong thing for a cake date, sorry. I should’ve brought my vest and butterfly, where are my manners.
My sister ordered a slice of the Spring Cake: Raspberry fromage, chocolate truffle, raspberry puree on an almond base layer, topped with a green marzipan heart:
It’s quite tasty, although most of it is just foam. And it’s so small!!
I got the Lucky You: Pumpkin merenque, marscapone, caramellized and salted pumpkin seeds, chocolate mousse, raspberry ganache. Topped with pumpkin seeds.
Quite nice as well. The raspberry plays well as a contrast to the heavy chocolate, and the pumpkins seeds are crunchy goodies in all the splat splat foam.
Again, I could’ve eaten 5 slices.
The coffee was blah as predicted. Even two people couldn’t finish the pitcher.
I liked the long flags in the window and the cake slices. But this wasn’t enough to shake off the tourist trap feeling. La Glace is overpriced and they are resting too well on their laurels. Lower the prices or enlarge the tiny cake bites and they might get more stars from me. But again, this is not me or my friend’s scene. It’s a full blooded anacronism, a timewarp in the middle of Copenhagen which I really support had they only done it better and more upscale. I bet there are 2000 places in Paris or London who solve this job so much better.
La Glace means in French either “the ice / the ice cream / the window / the frosting”… take your pick. I should go to Paris, actually. The real scene for café and cakes. Will Umamimart sponsor me, pretty please?
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