Welcome, once again, to my Danish Christmas Advent Calendar! Every day I’ll be giving you a little peak into how our family celebrates Christmas here in Copenhagen. Do the Danes love Christmas? Um, yes – they even use the word Christmas as a verb… Vi juler! (We are ‘christmasing’!)
So get comfy, put your feet up, grab a cup of something warm, and prepare for an avalanche of hygge!
17 December 2015
Last week when I was out on the town with my BFFs, I bought a pig. In fact, I went the ‘whole hog’ (boom, boom!) and bought two little piggies. Okay, so they aren’t real live ones. But they are organic, covered in chocolate and made of yummy marcipan. And part and parcel of a traditional Danish Christmas…
You see, if you’re hosting Danish Christmas dinner on the evening of 24 December and are serving the obligatory ris à l’amande for dessert (recipe coming soon…), 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! Again!
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 – and making sure you have several prizes on hand – if you want to ensure ‘peace on earth’ on 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 supermarket.
Or from a posh sweetie shop.
As they say around these parts, øf, øf! Oink, oink!
See you tomorrow!