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Photo: Lise Hannibal

Food & Drink

Odense’s new gastro scene

There was a time when nachos with cheese was a standard dish on Odense’s menus. It’s a different story today, though, as ambitious young food and restaurant enthusiasts have put gourmet dishes and local Funen ingredients on the table with a food festival and top-class gastronomy worth paying for.

Odense has acquired a food scene. One excellent restaurant after another has opened its doors, joined by organic bakeries, delicatessens, and chocolateries. And they’re here to stay. 

This is Tine Gudrun Petersen

Age: 36
Lives: Odense
Family:  Daughter Katinka
Career: Director of SPIS! Odense Food Festival, co-founder of the Odense Food Community, columnist and speaker, as well as a member of various boards and advisory boards. 

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“I can see a great deal of local pride and support for all the many fantastic places to eat and all the many skilled gastronomic artisans Odense now has to offer,” says Tine Gudrun Petersen, director of the city’s new SPIS! Odense Food Festival. “Odense locals have become accustomed to good quality and they are eating out more. And we really want to show tourists what our gastro scene has to offer too.

“We started out buying locally grown, organic, and biodynamic food without excessive packaging, long transport distances, and expensive middlemen,” Petersen says. “As we bought direct from the farmers, it was often much better and much cheaper than what you can buy in the stores and we now have 1,200 members.” 

The Food Community inspired Petersen to launch the SPIS! Odense Food Festival.

“I discovered how food brings people together and how many good things we have to offer here on Funen,” she says. “We have Denmark’s best apples, amazing meat producers, an impressive restaurant scene, and the largest concentration of microbreweries in Europe. Our food is a reflection of the history and culture of the city. Food culture is about identity and community much more than it is about consumption,” she says.

The SPIS! festival shines the spotlight on good Funen ingredients such as apples, asparagus, sustainable meat, and seafood. They are also behind Odense food events such as the sought-after Schiøtz restaurant prize and the restaurant open in week 5 called SPIS! UGE 5.

Everything from a schnapps workshop, a cake-making competition, and “SPIS! World” where 10 different nationalities (!) will prepare food from their native countries using Funen ingredients happens at the festival.

“I’m often asked who the target audience is for SPIS! Odense,” Petersen says. “And the answer is everyone. Food is something with a broad appeal. Food is relevant to everyone and the festival should be too. That’s why we offer a combination of the expensive and exclusive, food with narrow appeal alongside popular dishes, and free food. It’s all about bringing good food, quality, and craftsmanship to all ages, genders, education, and ethnicity.”

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