DANISH CHRISTMAS FOOD TRADITIONS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE DARKNESS Whether unfamiliar, or you’ve adopted them long ago, these typically Danish foods are great inspiration for embracing the season – and surviving winter.
PHOTOGRAPHS GINA LORUBBIO / ISTOCK PHOTO
TEXT GINA LORUBBIO
MY FIRST TRIP to Denmark was four Decembers ago. It was dark and rainy, and the wind almost knocked me off my bike. My Danish husband claimed that if I could survive the darkest day of the year, I would be able to live here someday. Not only did I survive, but I came to truly love many of Denmark’s holiday food traditions.
GINA LORUBBIO ARTIST & WRITER Gina is an artist and food tour guide in Copenhagen. Upon arrival from the U.S., she created
ÆBLESKIVER (SPHERICAL PANCAKES) At the height of the season, these are offered on every corner. But have you tried to make them at home? It’s hilariously fun to try and coax each cardamom-spiced pancake into a perfect sphere, preferably with a knitting needle as your tool. If you don’t have the special æbleskiver pan, ask a Danish friend to bring their pan over, and make them together.
BRUNKAGER (BROWN CAKES) My husband made these crispy little cookies when we still lived in the U.S. They look so plain and unassuming, but when you pull them out of the oven, they fill your home with the spicy scent of Christmas: cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. The simple recipe, similar to gingerbread, dates back to the Middle Ages.
KONFEKT (CONFECTIONS) My in-laws hold a confection-making day
every December. Basically, it’s an excuse to come together for two reasons: 1) to enjoy each other’s company, and 2) to cover everything in sight (like candied orange slices, dates, or liqueur-spiked marzipan) in chocolate.
BRUNE OG HVIDE KARTOFLER (BROWN AND WHITE POTATOES) Brown potatoes are like candy. I’m not sure how it goes at your Christmas Eve table if you celebrate in Denmark, but here’s the scenario at mine: the caramelized brown potatoes are fought over, while the white potatoes sit there, waiting for someone to notice them. It’s a hoot to observe.
almond among the slivered ones. Whoever finds it wins a small gift. We’ve adopted risalamande into my family’s Christmas in the U.S. It’s been a joy to exchange our traditions with each other. Sure, it’s dark. But with these Christmas treats, we can pull you through even the worst Danish winters. THE-INTL
an art series called ‘How to Fall in Love with Denmark through Food in 100 Days.’ This month’s art – a wreath of Danish Christmas food traditions – is available as cards and prints. Her site is full of other great gifts for the food-lovers in your life: www.AmericanHeirloom Project.com
RISALAMANDE (RICE PUDDING) Denmark’s traditional Christmas Eve dessert is this vanilla bean rice pudding, folded with whipped cream and slivered almonds, topped with warm cherry sauce. Before serving, the cook hides one whole
DECEMBER 2018 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM