Ok, yes, there are many seasonal traditions to celebrate this month, yet the cozy and intimate gatherings around winter solstice are just for you. Celebrations around the world vary wildly for the occasion: In China, you might be sharing rice balls called tang yuan with your family. Iranians celebrate Shab-e Yalda, gathering to read poetry, sing, and tuck into watermelons and pomegranates, the latter of which signifies fertility, light and goodness. (It’s ideal for foiling the dark, long night.)
See the winter solstice half-empty, and it’s the shortest day of the year. See it differently, and it’s the most accommodating night—ideal for cozy, hygge things like cocoa and mulled wine, fondue and coq au vin. Enjoy the stars; snuggle under a blanket; revel in the fact that the days get longer from here through summer. Here’s a menu to help you enjoy the night.
You do you, but we’re gonna fondue. The longest night of the year = the best sort of sweater weather, as far as we’re concerned. Meet us in your caftan by the fire, darling, because we’ve got every type of fondue you could want, and all the pots, too.
The French know how to treat cold weather: braises. Coq au vin is one of the best Gallic dishes we can think of to conjure coziness on such an epic night. Don’t have red wine kicking around? Not a problem: coq au vin blanc and coq au vin rosé are both fabulous, too.
We see you falling asleep by the fire after all those heavy dishes. Wake up! Mixed greens are the eye-opener you need to break up the parade of deep, robust, soothing comfort food. We are particularly fond of mixed herb salads, all the better to pair with bites of savory braises, but we have plenty of recipe options.
Be a drama queen. Set something (safely) on fire tonight, and say, “Heck, yes, crepes Suzette!” The classic French dessert is beloved for good reason. Just look at that combo of oranges, butter, and sugar. And don’t forget that brandy and Grand Marnier are involved. (Like you could.) It’s just divine.
The winter solstice is yours to enjoy. Stay warm out there.