Spreading the hygge message across Sheffield
'It's really about being in the moment', said Danish chef Simon R Christoffersen.
We’re sat in a Sheffield city centre cafe, discussing the international sensation that is hygge - and how to pronounce it properly (it turns out I’ve been saying it wrong for months).
Simon and partner Katrine Krog Petersen have swapped Denmark for Broomhill as Katrine takes a master’s degree in communications, and are also aiming to inspire people to reconsider their way of life.
Simon, aged 40, added: “Being in the moment is what we need right now. We’ve all got phones and computers to check. With hygge you are unplugged and present with the people who are with you.
“If you are racing ahead to the future all the time you will get to 60 not having enjoyed anything on the way.”
Simon, who had his own seasonal seafood restaurant in Denmark, now bakes cakes and organic bread for Cawa Coffee in Broomhill.
He got the job after giggling at their Danish pastries, and now makes his own, authentic versions for customers called The Real Danish.
His life and career have been vastly varied, from growing up in a female commune, to joining the Army at 18 to satisfy his craving for structure, then studying pyschology and finally following his passion for cooking into the industry.
Katrine grew up in an upper middle class ‘nuclear family’ and felt pressure to achieve professionally - but says both backgrounds are typically Danish, and both featured hygge despite their differences.
The 27-year-old said: “We thought people are embracing it here, and the word hygge is in the English Oxford Dictionary now.
“We looked at all the companies that are putting a focus on it but none of them were Danish!
“We thought we could tell the world in a Danish way. I think it is popular now because people need it.”
The couple’s dream is to have their own food pop up featuring Simon’s simple, seasonal and fresh food.
For now they have been focusing on a hygge blog as well as making Danish cookies, cakes and candy for sale online and at markets through the Tap of Hygge start up.
More unusual products include pepper nuts, created with a mix of spices, and a Christmas essence, which can be added to alcohol to make a schnapps drink.
“All Danish families make these in their own way - in my family we had a day where melted chocolate, rolled marzipan and moulded nougat to make Christmas candy”, she added.
Visit www.tapofhygge.com to read Katrine’s blog and see their Danish products.
See Profile magazine, inside today’s Telegraph, for recipes from Simon.