Saturday, November 25, 2006

Traditional drinks for Christmas Season

Christmas is just five weeks away. Except the date of the calendar other signs of the time we call Advent - the waiting time, are appearing. Except the traditional Christmas Buffets (Julebord), this is also the time for the seasonal drinks - Akevitt and Christmas Beer.

Seasonal beer

A special seasonal beer has been brewed for Christmas since the dawn of time. It has traditionally been darker than the brew you drink during the year and it is much higher in alcohol. That means that if you want the real stuff in Norway, you have to leave your crocers shop (allowed to sell alcoholic beverages up to 5%) and go to Vinmonopolet (the state owned wine and spirit shops) to buy a good bottle of the real thing. However, the Norwegian brewers have devellopped a less strong seasonal beer that may be sold in the corner store. It has much the same character - but hey, I like to follow the old tradition!

This seasonal beer are served with the traditional food for christmas. Pork Rib, Pork Roast, Pinnekjøtt (dried mutton ribs), Lutefisk, or boiled cod.

The test of the years seasonal brew made by the food magazine (Aperitif), show that the stronger beer get a generally higher score than the stuff you buy in the cornershop. And buy it in bottles!!

Norwegian varieties given the highest scores are (These are all over 5%):

Aass Juleøl 2006
Nøgne Ø God Jul 2006
Fredrikstad Juleøl 2006
Mack Juleøl 2006

There are also foreign varieties sold. The best chosen by Aperitif was:

Noël de Silenrieux, Brasserie de Silenrieux, Belgium

Read more on the test in Aperitif (Sadly - norwegian only)

Akevitt (or Aquavit if you want....)

If you have a large portion of Pork Rib with cracklings, served with meatballs and Christmas Sausage, you really need a digestive, and the drink you turn to is the Akevitt (derived from Aqua Vitae, meaning the water of life). This is a potato based spirit with herbs, carraway been the herb that gives it its distinct character.

The later years distillers have started to design Akevitt to be served specificially to one of the dishes above.

Aperitif made a test on this years akevitt as well. The years favourites for the christmas dinner are:

Gilde juleakevitt 2006
Alborg Jule Akvavit 2006

So - if you can get this where you live, try it as a alternative to the digestive you use.

So - enjoy!

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