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Hygge, now in ice cream form!

How do you create a "hygge" ice cream, a flavor that captures total coziness, happiness, simplicity and homey pleasures? That was the challenge that Wild Scoops took on this January.

Our result? A sweet spiced cinnamon ice cream with crumbles of sweet potato cake from Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, a local bakery. We think this is a flavor you can enjoy over and over again by a fire, preferably while wearing fuzzy slippers.

Hygge, a Danish word pronounced something like "hoo-gah," is a strong part of Scandinavian culture, key to surviving long, dark winters. Shortlisted to be the 2016 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year, it is starting to spread to the rest of the world.

According to this great New York Times article, "hygge is the Danish word for cozy. It is also a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people."

I experienced the concept of hygge firsthand when I was living in Norway for the year. As soon as the days started getting shorter, the candles came out. Norwegian families created winter cheer by filling their houses with light. Hygge also meant taking the time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Wearing cozy homeknit sweaters. Fires crackling. Long meals and good conversations. Hot drinks.

I hope that we Alaskans can embrace hygge as well at this time of year. We can take winter as a chance to recharge -- reconnecting with old friends, disconnecting from our screens, and creating light in the darkness.

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