Find a tasty way to celebrate the sun

A taste of sunshine

I am Icelandic on my father’s side. Perhaps that is why I have both an appreciation for the stark beauty of winter and a keen interest in celebrating the colour and light that rare sunshine brings into the season.

I have written about many winter holidays as suggestions for ways to make the most of the season. Imagine my delight when I discovered my ancestral homeland has a holiday for celebrating the sun coming back in winter.

Iceland has a special day called “Sólardagur” (Sun Day). Icelanders wish each other “Merry Sunrise” and celebrate by sharing coffee and Icelandic pancakes called ponnukokur. The best part is the day on which you choose to boost your mood with these special acts is flexible.

Traditionally it is around Jan. 25, when the sun returns to the tiny town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords region. There, the shade from the mountains prevents the sun from peeking in between November and January. This is one of the places where they do experience darkness almost exclusively. In most of Iceland, the sun hovers low but does not fully disappear.

Throughout Iceland people celebrate Sólardagur at this time of year. Since the reason for the festivities is the sun returning, if it is a cloudy day, many people wait to share in the festivities when the sun peeks back out.

I know we are well past Jan. 25, but I’m reserving my right to bake a batch of ponnukokur on a sunny day this month.

I’ll host a “Sólarkaffi” gathering with some friends. The usual pancake filling in Iceland is rhubarb jam and whipped cream but I’ll add a family favourite to the menu.

My dad showed my brother and I when we were little how ponnukokur can be enjoyed to its fullest, warm or cold. Syrup is all well and good, but if you smear just enough butter on, and then spread a thin coating of brown sugar, you create nirvana. My dad called them “cigars.”

Icelanders are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. Maybe that is connected to living so close to the Arctic Circle. They are also very social, but the heart of winter has a way of putting even the heartiest of folks on a lower level.

I love that they created a concept to break the routine of the dark times that encourages everyone to celebrate life and share with loved ones. Food and drink work so well to accomplish that.

Who says Canada can’t take on the same idea? What would we choose to have at the table? Maybe a cup of hot cocoa and a cookie or a sip of orange pekoe tea with a butter tart?

I’d love to hear your ideas. We could try them all and while away the days till spring.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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