Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah) is a Danish concept that has become popular across the world in the last couple of years. It’s an approach to a way of life that the Danes have developed to cope with their cold, dark winter season. It’s spread to other parts of Europe where we ‘enjoy’ long, cold winters. Quite how hygge works in places like the West Indies and other tropical areas I’m not sure. 

Hygge, in Northern Europe, works like this…. You gather your good friends and relatives together on cold winter evenings. You give them nourishing food and drink in houses that are decorated for comfort and warmth. Flickering candles are important. As are pleasant smells. You listen to music and talk. You enjoy the atmosphere and each other’s company. Then you enjoy the moment that you have created. 

An entire industry has grown up around Hygge. I suspect IKEA are behind it somewhere. The word doesn’t have an exact English equivalent but ‘cosy’ is the closest we have to it. In the UK we go for ‘cosy’ big time at this time of year as we are in the middle of the festive celebrations.

We had a ‘Hygge’ experience yesterday afternoon. If you can’t do it at home you can always go out to experience it, preferably in a traditional country pub that has a good kitchen. We headed for the George and Dragon in the biscuit tin lid pretty village of Great Budworth in Cheshire. All the components of Hygge from the overstuffed cushions to the open fire, by way of the ancient oak beams holding up the ceiling and the elaborate candlesticks were there creating a cosy atmosphere. Tables were laden with food and friends and relatives were gathering to enjoy the experience. With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Monday and bookended by two holiday weekends, plus the British extra holiday of Boxing Day, most people aren’t working on the three remaining days and are having a mid winter break. Many won’t see the office or factory until 2nd January. The George and Dragon were busy and we were relieved to have booked.

With all the rich food over Christmas we decided to go for something simple and had Ham and eggs with thick cut chips with a piccalilli relish and English mustard. We had a bottle of Merlot from Chile. 

I had this delicious Assiette of Mini Desserts described as ‘An indulgent selection of four mini desserts. Chocolate Torte, Raspberry Cheesecake, Apricot Frangipane and a Tart au Citron.’ Four puddings on one plate. Plus ice cream and some fresh fruit! Happy Tom!

« »