Tricky to define and even trickier to say, the Danish word “hygge” (it’s pronounced “hoo-gah” by the way) suddenly seems to come up everywhere you look and is one trend we can definitely get behind! It roughly translates to “a feeling of coziness and contentment” or really creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. Winter is definitely the most hygge time of year and the perfect excuse to add a little Scandinavian comfort to your life! Here’s how:
Set the Scene
Your first step is to dim or turn off the lights and rely on relaxing flickering flames instead. Light every candle you can; just be sure to use a few unscented votives scattered around the room to avoid scent overwhelm. If you have a fireplace definitely take the opportunity to start a nice roaring fire. To add to the warm lighting, break out your heated fondue set and make some of our Havarti Fondue with Spinach and Artichokes to share around the coffee table.
Hygge is all about that feeling you get after a warm hug from someone you love. And surrounding yourself with softness is a great way to do that! Break out your fluffiest robe, fleece pajama pants, furry socks or slippers, and warmest sweater which, let’s admit it, is pretty much what we love to live in all winter anyway. Pile your favorite blankets and pillows for everyone to cocoon with or lay pillows on the floor around the coffee table or by the fireplace for cuddling.
Not just for nighttime, you can hygge any time of day! So whether you prefer a comforting cup of afternoon tea, more elaborate am lattes, or warm mulled wine (traditionally called glögg to keep things Danish) to wind down at night; holding a warm drink in your hands immediately evokes a feeling of comfort. And of course you’ll want some fun treats to pair with your mug. Put out some lightly sweet baked goods such as muffins, cardamom or ginger cookies, or a batch of our perfectly sweet and savory Comte and Currant Scones.
With our busy lives, hygge is the perfect way to unwind and relax with family and friends or even on your own! So skip the usual Instagram surfing, loud music, blaring televisions, or screen time in general. Instead, break out that book you’ve been meaning to read, pile of magazines to leaf through, or a fun board or card game to play as a group. It’s also a wonderful time to journal, share memories and reminisce, or use table topics to get a deeper conversation going about hopes and dreams.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a true hygge, life-enjoying moment without some wonderful delicious dishes to share! A cheese or snack board is a natural to nibble on, and just for fun you can go with a Danish theme featuring cheeses such as imported Blue, Fontina, or various flavors of imported Havarti. Add sliced apples, rye crackers, and maybe some smoked salmon for an easy yet elegant Scandinavian snackboard. Other delectable and highly shareable ideas? Our luscious, warm Caramel Apple Baked Brie is a dish that practically evokes hygge all on its own. For something more savory and substantial try our Emmentaler Bread Pudding with Mushrooms as a hearty yet comforting option.
Wishing you a cozy hygge-filled winter!