Tag Archives: yuletide

How to better understand Scandinavians this Christmas

December 1, 2016 | Leave a comment

How to better understand Scandinavians this Christmas

Most Scandinavians really, really like Christmas. Even if they say they don’t, they probably hum jingle bells in secret and wraps presents when nobody’s looking. We’re really good at Christmas and we find joy in even the darkest days of the year.


Call it what you want – we have many names for it: Hygge, Koselig, Mysigt. That state of mind where you relax with people you care about and time doesn’t exist. Christmas is high season for hygge. No, you can’t buy it. You have to create it and BE in it.

snow and winter Sweden

We enjoy this kind of snow.

Fluffy, beautiful, delicious, cotton wool snow.

unknown man with frosty beard


We’re not cold! It’s warm inside and cold outside. We have heating, log fires, stillongs and kärlek.


Advent Calendars

Little chocolates every day? Pah! Do it like a Dane and give a present for each day in December. Now THAT’S an advent calendar. For both kids and adults. Yes, it’s a thing: One present every single day.


Sundays in Advent

The last four Sundays before Christmas, Scandinavians meet up for glögg (mulled wine) parties, eat ginger biscuits and get red ears and cheeks from the mulled wine. It’s a real thing and it’s important. Christmas begins the first Sunday in advent. One candle is lit every Sunday.  

xmas candles

Candles in the windows. ALL the windows.

Let’s face it: It’s dark. Very dark. Can’t see a darn thing anywhere. Most people have big stars or 7-candle bridges in the windows.

We have Christmas Beers and they are delicious.

The Danish Tuborg Julebryg is only available for 10 weeks out of the year and it is the 4th best selling beer in Denmark. Also, you get to wear blue hats and stuff. Usually served at all the…

Christmas Parties…

Going home drunk in the snow after the office do is awful. Watching someone else trying to get home and failing? Great.


Feast of St Lucia

13th December, every year – this happens all over the Nordic countries. In the dark, hundreds of candles and song, so sing in the light. Drink more mulled wine.

no no no

Real tree

Nobody has fake trees in Scandinavia. Just don’t go there. It’s a quick sure fire way to pure Scandi disbelief. We love our trees, our real trees.

In Denmark, they even dance around the tree and sing songs. Oh, and yes, they light real candles on the trees.


No tinsel

Does it require batteries, light up and sing a merry tune? We don’t want it. Does it sparkle in seven different colours? No thanks. Give us simple decorations. No tinsel. Add Christmas elves.

We get to celebrate the big day a day early

Our Christmas happens on Christmas eve 24th December (NOT on the 25th) – dinner, drink, tree, sing-song, presents.

Under no circumstances do we want to go to the pub on the 24th, or to a party, or to anywhere not involving people we really, really like. No. We won’t go.

Donald Duck (Kalle Anka)

At 3 pm, every year, especially in Sweden: Watch the Donald Duck Christmas Show from 1972. Cry when Jiminy Cricket sings ‘When you wish upon a star’ and feel blessed.


Tyrkey? No thanks.

Fed up with Turkey? Join us – in Scandinavia, Christmas dinners range from ham to roast pork, roast duck, sugar fried potatoes, smoked racks of lamb and, eh, cod steeped in lye (ehhh, yes, some do).


[who the hell invited the pineapple?!]

Christmas Smörgåsbord

For Swedes, it’s Christmas Eve… For Danes and the rest, its all the other days: Bring out the herring, the aquavit, the left overs, the everything-you-can-think-of-table. Add beer. Aquavit.


Red noses, red cheeks, sneaky kisses under the mistletoe.

It’s also our thing. No, not mulled wine. We don’t add drabs of left over stuff to our glögg, nor do we add half a litre of orange juice. No. We carefully blend spices, sugar and red wine… heat it up and add secret yuletide cheer to every pot. Why is Glögg so much better than mulled wine? Cardamom, dried Seville orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and ginger are the scents of a truly Scandinavian Christmas. It makes us feel all warm and happy inside.

Things flavoured with saffron

Swedes and Norwegians eat Saffron buns. Actually, the Swedes will to flavour almost anything with saffron (drinks, biscuits, Semlor, cakes… ). The Danes eat little pancake balls called Æbleskiver. Over 100 million of those are eaten every year in Denmark (they really, really like them). Æbleskiver means apple slicers, although, oddly, rarely contain any apple.



Like a weirdly flat coke mixed with root beer. It’s available all through Christmas and outsells CocoCola by a mile. Do not attempt to separate a Swede from his Julmust drink


Like a raspberry fizzy soft drink. It’s available all through Christmas and outsells CocoCola by a mile. Do not attempt to separate a Norwegian from his Julebrus drink.

Also, don’t give Julmust to a Norwegian and don’t give Julebrus to a Swede. And the Danes only want the beer.


Father Christmas

We can’t agree on where he lives. The Danes are sure he lives on Greenland, the rest knows it is in the North Pole. Or in Finland. Or he doesn’t exist at all because we believe in the Christmas gnomes, not Santa (and then he is called Tomten or Nissen). It gets confusing. Anyway, he wears a red hat. He often visits the house in the afternoon and he looks like Uncle Björn.

90th Birthday – every year

We watch this clip every single New Year. Every single year – on the telly, over and over. Since the beginning of time, we have done this and we will continue. Same procedure as last year, James, same procedure as last year.

God Jul!

from all of us at www.Scandikitchen.co.uk



WIN a ScandiKitchen Christmas Stocking full of goodies

December 5, 2014 | 3 Comments

We have to admit it: We LOVE our new Christmas stockings.  Richard the Designer did a good job in placing the Christmas Elk just right – and we can’t wait to hang ours by the fireplace. We believe Santa will favour anyone who hangs up a ScandiKitchen Stocking this year. The stockings are limited additions and there will be no more of this edition once they are gone. 

You can get hold of your own special stocking at the cafe shop – priced £4.95 while stocks last. If you can’t make it to the shop and you really really need one, speak to Helena at the warehouse, she has a secret stash and may be able to help you.

The stockings are nice and big (55cm long) and actually fit a whole load of stuff. Loads. A proper big Santa sized stocking indeed.

We’ve decided to fill a stocking with Scandi foodie goodies and give to one lucky winner this week. Yes, a full stocking, stuffed with everything from Christmas beers to ginger biscuits, chocolates, glogg and much more.

To be in with a chance to win, simply answer this easy question:

The animal featured on the 2014 ScandiKitchen stocking is a…

a. Penguin

b. Reindeer

c. Elk

Answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk by email before Tuesday 9th December 2014 at noon.

One winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries.

Terms: Yes, we will send the prize to you to a UK address if you win. We will fill the stocking with goodies, all will be ambient goodies (not chilled). No alternative prize. No changes can be made to the stocking. No cheating. No cash alternative. Usual rules apply. Limited edition stockings: only 50 are for sale of these in 2014. No more will be printed in 2014.

Glögg party – how to do it the Scandinavian way

December 4, 2014 | Leave a comment

It’s December, it’s the weekend – this can only mean one thing: Glögg party.

We Scandinavians do love any excuse to pop over to each other’s house and have a tipple and some homemade cake or biscuit. Those dark December days are just perfect for this: Spend time with lovely people, letting them know you care – and serve delicious mulled wine to give everybody rosy cheeks before they head back into the cold air.

If you are in Scandinavian, you may attend 2 or even 3 of these parties in a weekend, because everybody hosts Glogg parties. You will find that the ‘Glögg’ mulled wine tends to be served in smaller cups in Scandinavia, mainly because we would otherwise be hammered by the time we reach Auntie Agneta’s house and we would, inevitably, end up making a comment about her slightly weird collection of garden gnomes. However, if you are outside Scandiland, you will probably just attend one or two a weekend, so feel free to go for it. Jut be warned: Glögg mulled wine will make your nose red like Rudolf and your ears will feel very warm. Basically, you turn into Elf if you overdo it. You’ve been warned.

Here’s how to host your own Scandinavian Glögg party this Christmas

Set the scene.

Think lots of candles, simple decorations… Hearts, spruce. No tinsel, just nice, stylish cosy Christmas decorations. Maybe a tree – but if you are going to do a tree, make it a real one. Scandinavians don’t ‘do’ fake trees. It’s better to have no tree than a fake tree. Did we mention candles? We did? Get some more. We over-do candles. Have you never seen the candle section in Ikea? Made for us and our candle obsession. If in doubt, buy some more.


Think less Wham, more ABBA. Michael Buble becomes an honorary Scandi at this time a year before we put him back in the cupboard on the 28th December. Use spotify and search ‘Scandinavian Christmas’ and you should be fine. Expect a few cringe additions. Blame Spotify.


Offer your guests ‘Glögg’ mulled wine. Glögg is not the same as British mulled wine. We will claim it is infinitely better (it is) – and this is because we use cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, dried Seville orange and cloves.

You can get the spices you need at our shop – or you can buy ready-made good stuff online. Swedes swear by all Glögg from Blossa. The red top is 10%, standard and works for all. The orange top is 15% and gives you a even redder nose.  The see-through ‘Rum’ and ‘Cognac’ Blossas are 21% and you drink these in bigger glasses, in your arm chair front of the log fire. The purple bottle ‘14’ is the annual exciting new flavour – this year, it is Lavender (it’s nice, but nicer drunk a bit colder than normal Glögg).

For the kids and non alcohol drinkers, try the Glögg concentrate. We also do a Saturnus glögg at 2.2%.

To serve you glögg, heat it up so it is warm (not boiling, or the alcohol will evaporate) – and serve in little mugs of thick glasses. Add almonds and raisins.


If you are doing a Danish Gløgg party, you need to make or get your hand on some Æbleskiver. These are little doughballs, made from a pancake like batter. Serve warm with jam and icing sugar.

Biscuit wise, Danes favour ‘Brunkager’ (as do Norwegians) – and Pebernødder. Both are variations of ginger biscuits.

Swedes will expect you to serve Saffron buns. Delicious yellow wheat buns. We sell them at the café but you should have a go at making some at home – they are not hard to make and they taste amazing when just fresh out of the oven.

Pepparkakor’ are the Swedish chosen biscuits – we sell them in the shop. There are many different brands, but Anna’s is the one we stock and prefer. At Christmas, they are heart shaped.

Want to make your own ginger biscuits? Get the dough and simply shape and bake. Easy peasy.

Other foods

Want to fill up the fika table? Add other buns and biscuits. Swedes like to make ‘knäck’ toffee and the Danes love to make little marzipan and nougat petit fours. You can also make ‘Chockladbollar’ or ‘Romkugler’ no-bake treats. Find the recipe on our blog.


If you want to add a bit of a savoury element, maybe serve cheeses and crispbread. In particular, get hold of some really nice blue cheese and serve this with ginger biscuits: It’s a really, really nice combination.

Lastly, these events are usually in the afternoons, not evenings. After lunch, usually lasting a few hours, no more. Just so you can fit in 2-3 in the same day if you need to.

Happy Advent







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