Danish chef Trine Hahnemann explains the hygge craze and why, for her, cooking is a central part of it – then explore hygge yourself with these cosy recipes
Ci iLÀ>Ì } >ÃÌiÀ Ã } wiÃ that spring has arrived, and for me, it’s the rhythm of the year that is the most important reason for keeping traditions. Traditions give a framework for time as the years go by, and sometimes that can mean abandoning them or throwing them away to allow for change. That is what my parents did in the 1960s because we needed the world to profoundly change, especially to allow women to have equal rights and opportunities.
Since then, I have been free to create my own traditions and as such, Easter for me is all about chocolate eggs for children and people I love – and at least one lunch where lamb is served.
What is ‘hygge’?
Hygge has recently spread far beyond Denmark. It is often described as an idea or concept, but in a way that is too limited – hygge is much more than that.
Hygge is more than anything else the atmosphere created by hanging out. Danes love to hang out at each other’s houses for hours and eat, relax, eat again, Ì> ° Ì½Ã vÌi w i Ì ÌÕ i > ` ÕÌ v what's going on, Iike watching football in the background. The only rule is that it has to feel good, it has to be ‘hyggeligt’.
Hygge is part of every season. Sitting outside in the long and bright Nordic evenings, lingering over dinner, drinking wine and talking into the early hours with friends is quintessential summer hygge.
To incorporate hygge into your life is to get the best out of it, in the sense of generating a relaxed and intimate atmosphere in most of what you do. Cooking plays an important part in that, because there is a lot of love in the gesture of cooking food for other people. Eating makes us feel good, and eating with other people makes us feel even better.
One way I show my love for life and people is by cooking, so, for me, hygge and cooking are utterly entwined. When I cook, I start by creating hygge around me, even before the actual meal is going to be enjoyed. Hygge is about getting the best out of our daily life, because life is just that – every day.