This year I arrived early in Iceland to celebrate the Christmas holiday season with my family and friends and although it’s the darkest time of the year with the shortest daylight, I adore how the Christmas lights and lots of candles or advent lights and other festive decorations brighten up our days especially, as presently, when accompanied by a beautiful blanket of snow!
Christmas in Iceland lasts for 26 days, from the 11th of December until the 6th of January and as I sit down to write this is my 4 year old niece has just informed me, with great excitement, that she is expecting the first of our 13 Santa Clauses or as we call them Yule Lads, to pass by her house tonight!
As every year, wherever I am in the world, this weekend I will be making Glögg (mulled wine) and the Lussekatter (slightly sweet and saffron infused buns) while reminiscing about the St. Lucia traditions celebrated on December 13th that I learnt to love while living in Sweden many years ago. Saffron.
Actually, I might make them today to have them ready for tomorrow’s breakfast, our 3rd Advent Sunday before attending one of the many local celebratory concerts, visit one of our many Christmas markets and/or stroll the streets of downtown, admire the decorations and weather permitting, check out the views over Reykjavik from the top the Hallgrímskirkja church tower or even better visit the ice skating rink in the city center with my nephew and nieces!
In any case, there are a lot of fun things to do during this season apart from getting involved with the many traditional food & cookie traditions we enjoy here in Iceland.
If you check out some of the blog posts I’ve written during the festive seasons of the few past years you may have read that in our family we normally made seventeen different types of cookies in the time leading up to Christmas that we shared amongst all those who dropped by our home to help us bake and join in the fun . . . often while drinking a cup of Hot Chocolate, coffee or a glass of Glögg served with a Saffron Buns or a Gingerbread Cookie.
I still love to bake with the family and this year as most years I’m sure we will be making the traditional Gingerbread Cookies, Granny’s Butter Cookies as well as the Mega Chocolate Chip Cookies and one of my mom’s favorites . . . the Sarah Bernhardt Cookies that are decadent almond meringue cookies . . . . Better known in Iceland as Sörur in Iceland . . . that are a bit time consuming to make but well worth the effort. The best thing about them though, apart from their scrumptious taste, is that they can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge, or even better, frozen until ready to serve.
Who knows, I might also make the Greek Kourabiedes for a change and a traditional Baklava that was a great hit at a dinner party at my brother’s home in Iceland, last week, and resulted in my uploading my recipe that I’ve been making for over years onto the Cook-Eat-Go website for all to enjoy!
In any case, I’ll share some more traditional Icelandic specialties soon! In the meantime, take care, stay healthy and relish the many joys of this season!