This month we’re covering classic Swedish Christmas recipes, with a little look into warm and bright Swedish culture during one of the darkest times of the year. God jul!
Swedish Advent is not only a countdown to the Christmas holiday, it’s also a celebration of light. Swedish winters are dark and cold, so it’s no surprise that lights and candles find their way into every holiday tradition. Triangular wooden advent candelabras light up dark windows, and in the four Sundays of Advent, a new candle in the adventsljusstake, the advent candlestick, is ceremoniously lit. A bright flicker in the midst of winter darkness.
Advent, with its Latin origins, means arrival, or coming, and in the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, Swedes take great effort to celebrate the coming holiday, making December a full on month-long celebration. In the darkness of Swedish winter, you’ll take any chance you can to celebrate.
The first of Advent is therefore the kickoff to a month of social gatherings, special occasions like Lucia, and of course a laundry list of food and drink that only comes out this time of year. The cornerstone of all good Advent celebrations though is glögg, the traditional Swedish mulled wine. Every family has their own classic recipe, and in mine, the longer it sat the better it got.
To properly celebrate Advent, invite some friends over and throw an adventskaffe, Advent coffee. For a proper adventskaffe you will need:
-An advent candlestick with four candles. If you don’t own one, you can of course just gather up a collection of four separate candlesticks.
Gather your friends together, eat, be merry and drink lots of glögg and then ceremoniously light the first candle.
-1 bottle of red wine (a decent full bodied wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)
-1 cup (240 ml) rum
-1/3 cups (75 ml) brown sugar
-3 cinnamon sticks
-1 teaspoon whole cloves
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-2 orange peels
-5 whole cardamom pods
-1 small piece of ginger, chopped
-a couple of dried figs
Heat up the wine without bringing it to a boil. Drop all the spices into the warm wine, turn the heat off and let rest covered for at least 4 hours (best overnight).
Sieve the spices from the wine and heat it up in a saucepan. Again make sure it doesn’t boil.
In the meantime prepare a stainless strainer filled with the sugar. When the wine starts to get hot, place the strainer over the saucepan. Pour the rum over the sugar and light the alcohol steam below. Let some of the sugar drip into the wine mixture before adding all to the wine (if you wait for all the sugar to melt the alcohol will disappear with the flames).
Take the saucepan from the heat and cover with a lid to stop the flames. If you think the glögg is too sweet you may add some more wine or rum.
Serve the glögg in small cups together with some blanched almonds and raisins in every glass.
We’ll have more Swedish holiday recipes throughout December, keep an eye out or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.