December 16: Risalamande 

Hello and good morning!  I wanted to share another Christmas tradition. A tradition that you an eat, aren't those really some of the best traditions? ;) Risalamande is really cold risengrød with a little bit added here and there. For desert during the month of December and especially during Christmas lunches and Christmas eve Danes have risalamande with kirsebærsauce (cherry sauce). Yum yum yum. Whether you use your left over risengrød or make a fresh batch just for the desert, it's incredibly easy to make and it's a sure win with everyone at the table. 

Now this may have something to do with the fact that with eating risalamande, a little competition or game follows with it. In risalamande there are a bunch of skinned, chopped almonds, to give that delicious nutty taste to the "pudding", but these chopped nuts are so much more than just a taste addition. Hiding somewhere in the usually giant bowl of risalamande there is one whole almond. The one who finds this whole almond gets the "mandel gave" or almond present. This is no joke. It's a very serious and important tradition. I think this might have something to do with why every gets so excited when it's time for dessert because by that time we've already eaten so much food that it seems impossible to consumer more. But, the mandel must be found and everyone is thinking, "it must be me, I will win this year". 

People scoop their portions very strategically in order to try and guess where the winning almond is. Only one person knows, because someone obviously has to put it in there, but that person must take last. The kids usually pick through their risalamande without even taking a bite with hope that they are lucky enough to get the almond and win the mysterious prize. And while the kids are picking at their food, the "adults" are all pretending that they found the almond by making weird "signal" noises and sticking half and almond out their mouths in an attempt to trick everyone. Yes dad I'm talking about you. Every damn year it's the same little show, he never fails to preform. But I love it, it wouldn't be a true Laursen Christmas dinner without my dads ridiculous "i have the almond noises" as he chews. It drives the kids bananas because just the mere thought of not winning is a horror in itself. 

Every once in a while, we "tinker" with the game a little bit. When my brother was younger or if we were having a Christmas lunch where younger children were present, if the almond was found by one of the grown ups they would sneak it out of their mouth, under the table and pass it on until it gets to one of the children. This usually works best when there's only one child present because we all know how kids and their competitiveness can get. :) Trust me I know, that was me not too long ago and maybe still... just a little bit. 

It seems like with every tradition that we Danes have, there are little mini traditions incorporated into each as well. And even though there are traditions that everyone knows of and partake in, each family has their own little twist or personal association to it. No two Christmas's are exactly the same. They are all individual, beautiful and magical in their own special way. 

Have a wonderful day and don't forget to spread some Christmas magic in everything you do. 

With love Camille