My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 20 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!


Okay, so have you bought all your Christmas presents?  Are they wrapped and ready?  And the marcipan pig.  Did you remember that?!

If you’re hosting Danish Christmas dinner on the evening of 24 December and are serving the obligatory ris a l’amande for dessert, then you’re going to need the obligatory marcipan pig for the obligatory Mandelgave or ‘almond present’.

Ris a l’amande, despite the French name, is a very Danish dessert.  It’s a heavy, cold rice pudding, ‘lightened’ (ha!) with whipped cream and specked with chopped, blanched almonds.  And served with a jug of hot cherry sauce.  Yum!

According to tradition (which dates back a century or two) a whole blanched almond is ‘hidden’ in the dessert.  The dessert is served to the whole table and whoever finds the whole almond in their portion is ‘the Winner’.  The mandelgave (almond present) is usually a small, marcipan pig (marcipangris) but can also be a small bottle of snaps, a book, a game, you name it.  And if you have small kids, I’d suggest sneaking a whole almond into each and every little child’s bowl if you want to ensure ‘peace on earth’ this Christmas Eve… ;)

In my DDH’s (Dear Danish Husband’s) family, they go a step further and try to hide the fact that they have found the whole almond until the very end of the meal.  By hiding it in their mouth, in a pocket, under the tablecloth etc.  Just to keep everyone guessing.

Sometimes we make the pigs ourselves out of marcipan.  Just google “marcipangris” for images, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Otherwise you can take the easy way out – and get your little piggies from a chocolate shop, baker…

…or supermarket.

Øf, øf!  Oink, oink!

Four sleeps and three shopping days to go!  Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)