KVANN KOMPAGNIET is the result of our ambition to offer cultural authentic herbs, plants and products from Greenland and the entire Arctic.
In 2008 we realized that Greenland and the Arctic offer a tremendous variety of cultural authentic herbs, plants and products and we decided to make these pristine treasures of nature available throughout Scandinavia and the rest of the world.
At the same time we wanted to allow isolated communities and places to advertise their unique identity and character through products that are vital to them on a daily basis.
Now, we have made our dream come through and we are pleased to invite you to share Kvann Kompagniet’s vision and open the world of Greenland culture cooking and nature.
Kvann Kompagniet is founded and run by Marianne Bjerre & Maria Lundén. The company is based in Denmark. Just north of Copenhagen on the farm Rolandsgaarden.
Feelings of nervousness and intense expectations arise in me every time I am bound for Greenland.
I leave my everyday workload and prepare myself for a completely different universe; a place with it’s own pace and agenda.
It’s hard to describe what triggers this state of euphoric, childlike joy within me. But the feeling of freedom and boundlessness grows steadily as I approach my destination.
The landscape appears. A frozen continent plays out under me. Azure ice packs cool as if in a queue, painting a glossy picture of timelessness and of nature’s colossal muscles.
I’m taken aback as the panorama meets me at the plane’s door. I prefer the fresh, crisp, cold air in my lungs. Greenland’s nature is surprisingly beautiful, vast and very tough. I feel as if I just took a cooling dip after a night of fever. I feel small and light and free; these emotions grow steadily within me. The smell of ice vibrates in my nostrils. Perception of time becomes diffused and indifferent.
Travelling with a Purpose
by Marianne Bjerre
Regardless of the season or location in Greenland, the landscape’s violent and implacable presence is constantly in front of you. Its nature has no extenuating circumstances, only a simple understanding of both the weather and geography. If the weather is bad, then you become
“weatherproof”– this expression explains itself – stay where you are!
Weather conditions in Greenland are possibly one of the main things that make it very different to travel here compared with elsewhere in the world. It might also be an explanation for one’s perceptions being sharpened. It is a way of life, which greatly helps to mark people living here: You take things as they comes, there is no changing it and so, you may as well get the best out of it. Here, we meet an infectious, stress free environment
with people that have a genuine interest in others.
Here the distance between laughter and tears is short. Feelings are expressed spontaneously; laughter has a lot of space.
In Greenland, transportation from one place to another is often a cumbersome and time-consuming affair.
There are no logistics as we know them in most other places in the world, with roads that allow cars to zip through the countryside at high speed. Few people have cars, most people have boats and Greenland’s busiest traffic takes place on the water.
For centuries people of Greenland predominantly lived by the sea. Traveling in Greenland is much more than just the experience of the great forces
of nature. It is also a wonderful journey in the gastronomic universe. Taste buds are stimulated. Local sheep and lamb that roam the country, have the mountain smells and taste, namely of the finest herbs. Or the freshly caught fish, whose flaky white meat tastes of sea and salt. Tastes and smells you never forget.
Musk ox meat is wild, dark and intense, spiced by a mountain diversity of herbs. Greenland is an unknown pantry of
the most amazing resources. Like icing on the cake, the wild herbs and berries that are collected, can make their own fantastic tastes in food and life itself.
by Marianne Bjerre
The Wild Herb of the Vikings
Angelica is an ancient cultural plant in Greenland. It spread after the glaciations of Europe – Faroe Islands – Iceland – and Greenland. Norsemen or Vikings knew and used the plant already and brought it with them when they came to Greenland.
Angelica is a vital source of vitamin C that prevented scurvy and other diseases in humans as well as animals. Tradition says that angelica was
given to man by an angel – the archangel
Gabriel. It is also said that Gabriel planted it by hand and used it as a weapon against the plague.
It was named Angelica, which means archangle’s herb or angel’s herb.
In the past, Greenlanders always harvested the root (called usungusaq in Greenlandic) just after the snow
had melted and ate it with lard.
The stalks they ate with boiled cod and especially liver, have always been a great delicacy. By using this herb, the Greenlanders received a large part of their vitamin requirements. Angelica was also preserved in lard. This lard was stored in bags with other plants and berries for winter use.
THE FORGOTTEN CULINARY HERB
The similarity with Ginseng is immediately noticed when you break a stalk of Angelica and rub it between your fingers.
Angelica has a strong perfumed scent, reminiscent of anise, musk and orange. Angelica seeds are used as a flavoring in vermouth, gin and chartreuse. Angelica leaves add zest to a tasty aqua vitae. Angelica is the characteristic flavor in Benedictine liquor. Angelica stalks from the male plant are very sweet and were previously used as sweeterner in cooking.
Due to the extreme growing condition on the edge of the Atlantic Circle, Arctic Angelica as well as other herbs have developed a distinct flavour that cannot be found in similar species of plants elsewhere.
THE REDISCOVERED SPICE
Angelica may well be called the forgotten condiment. Not many know it today and only a small proportion of the older Greenlandic population use it in their households, despite the fact that it has been one of their most important
cultural plants. Angelica has been close to be forgotten.
When in 2009 we rediscovered angelica and other herbs in Greenland and re-introduced them, it was because they are unique. Your taste buds will be on an unforgettable journey on cultural wings. We have the best of the Greenland taste, put in a new culinary context which can be taught and used worldwide to the joy and experience for all those who love an authentic story with taste.