If ever there was a winter to embrace Hygge, it’s this one | Ontario Culinary
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If ever there was a winter to embrace Hygge, it’s this one

We’ll all be spending more time at home this season, so here’s how you can bring some Scandinavian coziness to your day-to-day.

Remember a couple of years back, when the lifestyle scene was consumed with Hygge (pronounced hue-gah), a Danish concept of coziness that’s closely associated with blankets, good books and tea? Well, if ever there were a time to embrace that approach again, it’s now. 

There’s no literal English translation, but Hygge is a heart-warming Scandinavian way of life that prioritizes enjoying the simple things in life, from a great cup of tea to, yes, a warm pair of wool socks. It’s exactly the kind of comforting approach we’ll need when temperatures drop and the days get shorter—and several regions in Ontario are making it easy.

The County of Huron is encouraging people to make Hygge a part of their lifestyles this winter with an entire cozy campaign, including virtual crafting classes and promos with local inns and B&Bs who have Hygge experiences on offer. They’ve even put together a “Hygge box” stocked with everything you’ll need to get your Hygge on at home, all stocked from local businesses of course. It contains super soft mittens and socks from Cranbrook Acres Alpacas, a soy candle from Olive + Rose (in “Lake Huron” scent, even!), soothing skincare from Luvu Naturally, seasoning mix from The Garlic Box and, most importantly, chocolate from Sugar & Spice

We often think of Hygge in terms of making our homes warm and welcoming, but appreciating nature is another big part of this lifestyle—and there are plenty of ways to enjoy Ontario’s wintery wonderland this season. Head to Harley Farms in Keene, Ont. to check out their cross-country skating trail, where you can take a leisurely, two-kilometre skate through the farm’s fields and woodlands. Or try your hand at snowshoeing at Snow Valley in Barrie, Ont. There are 17 kilometres of trails, including several intended for beginner snowshoers. 

But our favourite element of Hygge is its focus on comfort food and Bloomfield’s Flame + Smith, a Feast On-certified restaurant devoted to cooking over the fire, certainly fits the bill. Try their wood-fired Wolfe Island mushroom salad, Icelandic cod, or wood-fired cauliflower steak—and if you’re feeling extra Scandi, maybe you can enjoy your meal on their outdoor patio, weather-permitting. Or, experience Bistro ‘67’s devotion to the “field to fork.” Another Feast On-certified spot, this teaching-inspired restaurant in the Centre for Food at Durham College’s Whitby campus is currently offering meal kits, dinner specials and family-style meals for curbside pickup. Try the confit, two King Cole duck legs served on white bean and tomato ragout, or a two-person charcuterie board featuring local cheese and meats, condiments, sourdough crostini, seasonal fruit and nuts.

And think about how you can bring Hygge home in other ways, too. Here are three tips to help you live a Hygge life:

Bring the outdoors in

Create a Hygge environment at home by adding elements of nature. Think twigs, wooden décor items and quite literally anything you’d find in a forest, including plants and flora. Even scents with soothing notes of pine or spruce will do. 

Take a Fika

Fika is the Swedish word for “coffee break,” and it’s at the heart of Hygge. It traditionally means taking time to pour a delicious cup of joe accompanied by something sweet, like a freshly prepared cinnamon bun. The act encourages us to take pause, connect with one another and focus on being present—no need to rush. 

Let it snow

Hygge is usually solitary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t socialize. Get outside and take in the surroundings of nature with a small (and socially distanced) group of family or friends. Spending time with the people you enjoy while out for a brisk walk or snowshoe is a sure-fire way to feel connected to both the outdoors and your nearest and dearest.

as part of the Great Taste of Ontario Special Report