This flat but scenic landscape of smørrebrød is too vast for the tiny seamen's church, where Danish crafts, gifts, and delicacies crowd into narrow rooms and the ad hoc backyard café might generously be described as snug. Through the good graces of the church's Brooklyn Heights neighbors, however, on the first of two days the fair expands to the capacious hall of another place of worship nearby.
The roster of open-faced sandwiches changes from year to year; at any given fair, you're less likely to find smørrebrød that rank higher on the Danish degree of difficulty. I count myself lucky to have enjoyed two less common specimens on the same day: fleskesteg med rødkål, roast pork with red cabbage, dressed with crackling, orange, and prune; and dyrelægens natmad (Dyoo-eh-lanes Nak-mahl — really), a "veterinarian's night meal" of salted meat atop liver pate, surmounted by onion and aspic.
Also shown, from multiple editions of the festival: frikadeller, which might be thought of as meatballs or rissoles, in this case made from minced turkey; a hot dog dressed with ketchup, mustard, a relish-like remoulade, toasted onion, and pickles; ebleskiver, spherical puffs waiting to be swabbed in strawberry jam and powdered sugar; and assorted pastries. The little kransekage, at the very bottom, was chock full of marzipan.
Danish Seamen's Church Christmas Fair
Danish Seamen's Church, 102 Willow St. (at Clark St.), Brooklyn Heights
Saturday only, also at the nearby Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks St.
(The 2013 fair was held on November 23-24)