The next weeks I will be posting some delicious Danish Christmas dishes. Having lived in Denmark I thought I should take the opportunity to introduce the Danish Christmas to the world.
Denmark is very known for its modern furniture, innovative farmaceutical technology and the world’s best restaurant Noma. This might lead to the conclusion that the Danes are just as renewing when it comes to Christmas and the Christmas table. But allthough the American tradition of roast duck or goose is becoming more common, the Danes have a very specific and typical traditions for the Christmas Days that has not changed for many years.
In the weeks before Christmas, there are several Christmas ‘warming ups’: The Christmas Parties, also called Christmas Lunches, but the latter I find a bit misleading since it sounds like there is no alcohol involved (there is).
When you are living in Denmark you will be invited to many Christmas Parties: your work, football club, school, friends, church and whichever social group or community you may be in. The whole month of December will be full of it, which is time consuming if you consider that every party is followed by a hangover day. The Christmas beer and schnaps that are meant to help digest the food actually do have some less enjoyable side effects.
At all parties you will go and eat more or less the same food as during Christmas Eve. So by the time it’s Christmas Eve you will feel like you cannot eat more of the same for another year or so. I guess that’s ok actually: you will only get served these dishes again during Christmas next year.
The typical Danish Christmas Eve is spent with family and friends. The menu is the same wherever you go: You’ll start with rye bread with fish filet or shrimps. Followed by roast pork, boiled potatoes and red cabbage.
For dessert, the classic dish is ris à l’amande; a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, almonds and hot cherry sauce. A peeled almond is hidden in the dessert bowl. The lucky finder of the almond gets an extra present!
Some families even add another course after that, and serve a selection of cheezes with nuts, honey and olives.
In case you are planning to go to Denmark for Christmas: Don’t be surprised if people suddenly go up and dance around the Christmas tree singing songs. That’s normal… well it is in Denmark at least…
I have always felt a bit weird doing it. First of all I do not like singing in public: I feel completely embarrassed! And then the dance circling around the Christmas tree… I think it would be less awkward if the danes would not do the same at midsummer, when instead of a Christmas tree there is a bonfire with a witch in the middle of the dancing crowd…
If you are considering to throw a Danish Christmas Party, you’ll need some decoration too. The typical Danish decoration or ‘pynt’ are Red-White Paper hearts or Christmas Stars:
Enjoy my upcoming posts!