Imagine this: Reading a book by a roaring fire while a gale howls outside. Drinking mulled wine with friends dressed in chunky knitwear. A bowl of steaming broth on a solid oak table. The warm glow of candlelight. A duvet day eating cake and watching TV (probably a Nordic noir drama).
You get the idea. We’re trying to convey warmth, togetherness, friends, family, cosiness, tranquillity, comfort, contentment, indulgence, wellbeing, gentleness. An appreciation of life’s simple pleasures.
And there’s a word for this: Hygge.
Hygge is a vibe, an attitude to life. It’s a Danish term that has no literal translation in English. It’s an abstract concept of something like cosiness and wellbeing. And if that’s hard to get your head around, try pronouncing it. It’s something like ‘hooga’. Although Danish, hygge as a term is thought to originate from a Norwegian word meaning wellbeing, and there are similar words for this heartwarming concept in other Scandinavian languages.
It’s possible that the term hygge arose through the long, dark Danish winter evenings. But nowadays it doesn’t have to be so all-encompassing as the images mentioned above would suggest. Just lighting a candle or cuddling your kids can be hygge, as can pretty much anything that makes you feel that all is right with the world.
However it’s pronounced, whatever it means and wherever it came from, hygge as a concept is increasingly becoming embraced in the UK in all sorts of ways. It’s hardly surprising that Brits find the concept so appealing when it’s the antithesis of busy, stressful lives and a materialistic society. From furniture and interior design to fashion, homeware and food, hygge is being espoused in shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.
And here at Baltzersen’s, we like to think that we’ve brought a little bit of the hygge vibe to Harrogate. Our food is hearty, wholesome and comforting, our coffee is earthy and aromatic, our décor rustic, simple and muted, and our atmosphere intimate, warm and relaxed.
Our dishes are inspired by Nordic food but they go much further than the pickled herring and meatballs that may immediately spring to mind. Scandinavian cuisine mixes seasonal produce with food preserved through traditional methods, and many of our dishes are inspired by a 100-year-old Norwegian family recipe book.
We bake all of our cakes, breads and pastries from scratch here on the premises. We serve pastries and cinnamon buns (one of our most popular items), hot chocolate and waffles, hearty soups and stews, yummy breakfasts, our much-loved chai latte, and open sandwiches with potato salad.