Anyone who has spoken with me for more than five minutes will inevitably find out that I hate cold weather. It’s just a fact of my life: though I hate it, I live in cold places. That’s just that.
If you’ve spoken with me enough that we’ve bypassed the weather and made it to big ideas, you may learn that I am a bit infatuated with Copenhagen. All the protected bike lanes, the bicycle superhighway, the political will for environmentalism… it’s kind of a dreamy utopia to me. Brian and I have been talking about visiting for ages. One thing that I only recently read about, and have since been thinking a lot about, is the Danish concept of ‘hygge.’ I can barely pronounce it (it’s kind of like ‘who-geh,’ I think) but it translates into a concept of coziness, not just physical but social. A sort of warm well being feeling among friends or with loved ones – though it can be used as an adjective to describe objects, as well. Apparently creating hygge is a main way that Scandinavians to get through the winters.
I’ve been trying to be more positive about winter, despite my physical intolerance for cold (I like it 75-80F and humid). Purposefully creating coziness and learning the hygge way in the evenings has been a fun way to enjoy warmth indoors, even when there’s another blizzard blizzard-ing outside.
-Fireplace or candles, along with rounded, soft lighting from lamps
-A homemade meal
-Upbeat background music
-Slowing down, relaxing, having meaningful conversations
-Scrabble, Guillotine, or another favorite game
-or the Winter Olympics, or books, etc…
How to make the most hygge hot chocolate:
1) Grab your mug or mugs. Use it as your measure and add milk most of the way up.
2) Chop up your chocolate, about 2 ounces per person. It’s a fairly rich amount but feel very free to add more! Chop the chocolate finely to keep the hot chocolate smooth.
3) Pour the milk into a saucepan and turn the heat on medium low. You don’t want to scald it! Then add the chocolate and begin to whisk. Raise the heat as it starts to come together and whisk it a lot. Once everything is coming together, add one-two tablespoons of sugar or to taste – don’t be austere, we’re fighting against winter here. Also add a dash of vanilla, a pinch of salt and an optional shake of cinnamon.
4) Pour the hot chocolate into your mugs. Add an optional shot of a liquor or liqueur of your choice… I’m a sucker for Kaluah and Bailey’s, or bourbon. (If using something sweet, nix the sugar). Enjoy with some whipped cream on top, or straight up.